Congrats on making it through the interview process. Out of all the candidates that applied for the job, company XYZ chose you, and that’s cause to celebrate and pat yourself on the back. As you prepare for your first day, you want to make a good impression and prove your worth, but how can you do that without seeming cocky or overbearing?
In a terrific U.S. News & World Report post titled “4 Questions to Ask Yourself When Starting a New Job,” career expert and Jobhuntercoach founder and CEO Arnie Fertig offers a quick checklist of things to consider. He makes some excellent points, and his advice is relevant for both new grads entering the workforce and seasoned pros changing gigs later in life.
First up: “What’s the ‘real’ job you’ve been hired to do?” Sure, when you signed on, there was a job description, but that’s only part of what your duties will entail. As Fertig writes, you might be a “heat shield” intended to take pressure off the boss, a “worker bee” destined to be your department’s unheralded hero, a “small-d director” who does the job of a manager and gets blamed when things go poorly, or an “intelligence officer” meant to keep the big boss in the loop. Learn your role as quickly as possible.
Fertig’s final three items have to do with interpersonal relations. No. 2 and 3 are “Who Can Show You the Ropes?” and “Whose cooperation do you need to succeed?” and those are vital questions as you try to acclimate to your new surroundings and figure out not only how things operate, but how you’ll fit into the wider org chart and stand the best chance of having your work be well received.
“Remember that you are starting at ground zero,” Fertig writes. “All the ‘cred’ you have built up at your last job stays behind, and now you need to build it from the ground up.”
Looking more long-term, Fertig’s final question is “Who can serve as your coach or mentor?” This is someone who’s been at the company long enough to know all the ins and outs, and he or she can provide feedback on your work and help you grow without falling into traps — many of which you won’t know exist. It’s always good to have someone like that on your side.