Congrats! You landed a job. All of your hard work searching for a job has paid off. But now is not the time to rest! You have to prove to your new boss that you are worth every penny they are paying you, and more. Typically in most organizations, your first three months, or 90 days, is your “probation” period. During this time, your employer will cut you some slack if you don’t know where things are and for some foolish mistakes you might make. After 90 days, you should have a good grasp on the inner-workings of the office and of your job responsibilities. Below are 7 tips to help you get from “where are the bathrooms?” to becoming CEO (OK, maybe it won’t happen that quick.)
Let Others Know You Want Feedback
Getting told that the job you just completed is not up to par is not fun. But how are you going to learn if no one says anything to you? If you aren’t open to constructive criticism, then the only way you will find out you aren’t doing a good job is either when they give you a warning or they simply fire you. No one wants that.
By letting others, including your superiors, know that you want to be told about your performance, you can take action right away to improve yourself and your work. Don’t look at the feedback as a negative, look at it as a growing opportunity.
Ask Your Boss Three Questions
After you get hired, you need to have a sit down with your boss and ask him or her three questions:
What do you expect me to do in the first 90 days?
What do you want me to do on top of those expectations in the first 90 days?
What do you consider to be exceeding expectations during the first 90 days?
Make sure you are writing down the answers. Once you have the answers, do everything in your power to make them happen. Remember, if you do just what is expected of you, then you really have no reason to expect an increase in your salary. You are doing what you are paid to do. If you want more money, a senior position, or both, you have to earn it. That means taking on more responsibility and workload.
Say ‘Yes’ To Lunch
I am all about brown-bagging your lunch. But in some cases, it is better to go out with others for lunch. Your first 90 days is a great time to do just that. In fact, I would encourage you to invite some co-workers out to lunch with you. Doing so will allow you to learn some of the inner workings of your new office and the personalities of some of your co-workers and vice versa. It’s a win-win for all.
On the first few days on the job, it common to ask your new co-workers where some things are located or what the extension is to human resources. But make it a point to venture out on your own and figure things out without relying on others.
Show Up Early and Stay Late
This ties in to exceeding expectations. You may not have enough work to do to warrant coming in early or staying late, but that shouldn’t stop you. Take the extra time to walk around the office and figure out where everything is. Ask a co-worker if they have any work that they need help with. Obviously it has to be something you know how to do, but it’s a great way to get exposed to your co-workers and to some work you may be doing in the future.
If another department needs help with a project, volunteer to help out. You will get to know co-workers that you may not otherwise have encountered and learn about other departments as well. This will help you get an even better understanding with how the company operates.
Observe Company Culture
While you are interacting with everyone using the above tips, be certain to take note of the company culture. Make sure you work to fit in to it. I am not saying you need to completely change who you are, but rather try to operate a different way. You may be surprised at what you find. Additionally, if you think there is a better way to do something, don’t speak up right away. Try to get a better understanding why things are done the way they are. Maybe the way they do something is the ideal way for them. Once you understand it, then speak up. You can make a stronger argument when you know all of the information.
On a final note, after your first 90 days, there is no reason to stop doing the above. If you want to continue to grow both personally and professionally, you should always strive to better yourself continuously.
Very good points. I’m pretty sure I followed most of these when I first started my first job. Especially the saying yes to lunch. Being social with your co-workers is almost as important as being a hard worker!
I love volunteering with new projects. Some of my leads have come from that.
I make it a point to volunteer. There are times when I just listen to my boss complain about something, then offer to take that off of his hands so he can focus on other things. It’s a win-win!
Great topic Corey! Too many people coast during this period. Really, you are being evaluated, so you definitely should be trying to make the best impressions as possible.
Those are all great tips Corey. As someone that hires employees, I’m impressed when someone does many of the tips you mentioned. Also, if the person has not caught on after 90 days, I get a little worried.
Also another great tip is developing goals that you want to achieve while on the job. As part of the co-op program at my university we are required to do so. Showing your boss your goals is an excellent way to meet those goals and show that you have initiative.