by Kristen Duever, Career Researcher and Writer
Being the new kid on the block at work can be an exciting time.
You’ve passed the interview stage and beat out the other applicants. You’ve proven your worth – at least enough to get the job.
But it can also be a stressful time. There's a lot of change and some of it can be hard to figure out when everything is so new.
If you’re starting out, you might be worried about your inexperience and wondering how you can make the best impression.
Or, you might be an experienced professional and you’re looking for the best path to advancement in your career. How do you make a good first impression and set yourself up for success during these all important first few weeks on the job?
These feelings are all normal and they can even help you excel because it means you are well-aware that you are still under scrutiny. Having an acute awareness of this will help you to take care in how you present yourself.
Take this opportunity to cultivate ideas that will help you make a good impression. Think about your own strengths and what you have to offer the company.
How can you best present those strengths to your new manager? As you look within, you will undoubtedly come up with some ideas of your own but the list below will help you get a good start.
Here are six smart strategies to help you get started:
1. Learn how your manager likes to communicate.
We all have our preferred methods of communication – and your boss does too.
Some bosses prefer always talking face to face, while others like text or email. Some bosses prefer you to pick up the phone and dial their extension even if their office is only ten feet away!
Try to learn and then use your boss’s preferred method of communication in the majority of your dealings with them. You can find out their preferred method of communication by observing them or asking them directly. You can also ask a co-worker.
When you are new, it’s better to provide too much communication than too little.
You might ask your boss if they would like daily or weekly reports.
If you have several items you need to discuss, keep a list and then ask your boss when she has time to go through them all at once. Just remember to keep a professional demeanour and not to be overly needy.
Keeping your manager apprised of your progress on projects and seeking advice when required will demonstrate that you are learning your new duties and are invested in the company’s success.
3. Be a problem solver not a problem finder.
Every job has its challenges and before long you will run into your first problem. As a new hire, you may not have a sense of how much authority you have to make decisions. Until you know, it is better to ask.
When you go to your boss with a problem, try to bring her a solution as well. “This is what I’ve run into and here’s I how I would like to deal with it?”
If the problem is because of a mistake that you made, own up to it. And propose a solution. Even if your boss prefers a different solution, using this approach will show that you have initiative. It will show that you have the interests of the company at heart.
4. Jump in with both feet!
Show your commitment to the company by volunteering for assignments or by asking co-workers if you can help with something.
Look for ways that you can get involved in the company culture. Maybe join a social committee or help organize the company blood drive. Just make sure that you are not taking on more than you can handle.
Remember, your core job duties must come first!
5. Stay out of office politics!
One of the quickest ways to get stressed at work is to get embroiled in office politics. Undoubtedly your new company will have its share. Try to be friendly and professional with everyone.
Avoid water-cooler gossip.This will help you to have a good reputation as a team player.
6. Be yourself!
Finally, making a good impression at work should never mean being someone you’re not. You have to be yourself.
As Oscar Wilde once quipped, “everyone else is taken”.
If you are trying to show off, it will be obvious – and annoying.
When working out ways to make a good impression remember to connect your head and heart.
This means taking time to look within and generate more positivity.
Because when you feel better, you will do better.
When you are less stressed and more resilient, you will have more to offer your employer and you’ll be setting yourself up for success.
Connecting head and heart is more than mere positive thinking. It is about using proven strategies and making lasting change from the inside out.
A qualified coach can help you learn to do this.
Employ the strategies above while staying true to yourself.
Your boss and co-workers will appreciate you all the more for it.