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Your First 100 Days at a New Job

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Now that you’ve nailed the interview and found yourself on the company payroll, the real hard work begins. Before the interview you did research, found out what the company was all about, the direction it was going and what the position you applied for would entail. Your goal was to get your foot in the door and now that you have, it’s time to set goals for the all-important first 100 days of your employment. Think of this as an extension of your initial interview as well as a way to further impress your boss, get to know your co-workers and make a lasting impact on the company.

It may seem like a stressful and drawn-out process when you consider the first three months as an extension of your interview, but that is really all it is. The probationary period during which everything you do, say and accomplish is scrutinized, can last anywhere from 90 – 120 days depending on the industry and organization. There are some easy ways to stack the odds in your favor and ensure that you become a valued and important member of the team.

For the first week or so, you should listen far more than you speak. It may be tempting to jump in and start making suggestions, or to participate in lengthy discussions about the company and its direction. You truly do not have enough information, experience or clout to have this type of input and of course this all depends on the type of position you have been hired for. Varying positions will be allowed to do different things. Examples are a Senior Project Manager versus a Project Manager. A Senior PM needs to grab the reigns and control his/her team while a new PM should refrain and listen. This is the time to ask questions so that you can understand the goals, direction, culture and core values of the company. As the saying goes, you have two ears and only one mouth so listen more than you talk – it’s that simple.

For the first full month, your job is to learn as much as you can, as quickly as you can. During this time, focus on familiarizing yourself with specific company lingo, acronyms and terminology. It can be overwhelming, so you should take notes about everything in order to review later. Unwritten standards, expectations and useful information often come out of the most unlikely conversations. Jot down the names and positions of people you meet, facts and figures that are relevant and any tid-bits of advice more experienced co-workers offer. Consider your first 30-45 days the same as you would a class, show up, pay attention, take notes and study.

Keep this in mind, just because you did a great job for your previous employer does not mean you’ll automatically do a great job in your new position. Even similar companies can have completely different procedures, expectations, cultures and demands for the same job. Therefore, do not just assume that everything you did at your old job will easily transfer to the new one, chances are you will be mistaken. If you truly want to succeed, you will have to do a better job than the previous occupant of your position. In order to excel, you have to be adaptable and focus on the job at hand.

Once you’ve gotten settled in and you are contributing, take the time to get to know as many people in the organization as you can. Introduce yourself to every person that can help you become more acclimated and informed. Do not just stick to your own department either, try to make acquaintances with everyone. This is the perfect time to make these all-important connections that will fuel your future.

Your first 100 days on the job will be a much smoother, less stressful and more educational process if you follow these simple techniques. You already proved that you have the education, experience and motivation to get the job, now focus on proving that you are worthy of keeping it too. Keep your ears open, pay attention, and study up, it’s going to be a sometimes bumpy ride, but you’ve got what it takes to be successful at your new job.

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