- No one expects you to know everything during the first couple months at a new job, but impressing your boss and peers early on can lay the groundwork for major achievements down the road.
- Business Insider talked to career experts about how to stand out as a new employee, and they agree there are ways to make your mark in 90 days.
- Amanda Augustine, a career expert at Talent Inc., recommended that reflecting regularly on goals, contributing during meetings, and networking with colleagues outside of your team are some ways to stand out early on.
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Your first three months on the job can lay the groundwork for major achievements down the road.
“In many ways, [it’s] an extension of the interview process,” said Amanda Augustine, a career expert and spokesperson at Talent Inc.
“During those initial months as a new employee, you are getting a better feel for the role and the company, and your employer is closely monitoring you to confirm they made the right hiring decision,” she told Business Insider.
Your boss doesn’t expect you to know everything right off the bat, but this crucial onboarding period is a chance to impress and show your peers that you fit in well with the team. This is your chance to set goals, prove out the value you sold in your interviews, and bond with colleagues outside of your own team.
Business Insider talked to career experts on how to stand out as a new employee.
Here are 13 ways to make your mark in 90 days.
Say yes to exciting opportunities, even if you’re not quite sure how to execute them
When you’re offered an exciting opportunity, go ahead and say yes even if you’re not sure how to complete the task.
“When you’re out in the ‘real world,’ grab hold of opportunities and never let go,” he wrote in a Business Insider post.
Tackling new projects gives you exposure to how the company works, and being willing to take on more responsibilities puts you on the promotion track.
Establish achievable goals with your manager
Career strategist Miriam Salpeter has told Business Insider that it’s important to have measurable goals.
Otherwise, you might not know what you’re working towards.
Hopefully, your boss developed goals for you to accomplish during your first six months or year of work — whether that’s a sales goal, a number of projects to complete, or something else.
If you haven’t had this conversation with your boss yet, Salpeter advises that you develop those goals yourself. On the other hand, you can also tweak your communication style to match your manager’s. Part of why you’re there is to make your boss’ job easier. Whether he or she has a preference for messaging platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams, emails, or in-person meetings, making sure you’re on the same page ensures peak productivity.
Reflect regularly on those goals
It’s easy to set lofty goals, and then forget about them. Scheduling regular check-ins with yourself is one way to avoid that mistake.
“Whatever you sold them on in the interview, make it your mission to demonstrate that you’re going to do it,” Augustine told Business Insider.
Once a month, set aside 30 minutes to review your to-do list and your progress to date, she recommended. You can track it in a Google Sheet, especially if your role involves something quantitative, like sales figures or web traffic.
During your progress meeting with your boss, you can ask questions like, “Am I where you expected to be at this time?” Or “What should I continue doing that I’m doing well?”
Find a way to solve problems
When you’ve just joined a new organization, faults in its structure or business model might be instantly clear to you.
Instead of telling your manager what you think is wrong or leaving the issues for more seasoned employees, note your observations and present a solution.
“I love employees who have a passion for tackling problems versus avoiding them,” Unity Technologies CFO Kim Jabal told Business Insider. “I want to be surrounded by employees who want to take the steeper hill because they know there will be a big sense of accomplishment at the top as opposed to those that prefer to coast on the easy road.”
Jabal recommended saying something like this: “We have a huge opportunity to fix something that has gone wrong. Here are a few ideas. I’d love your input.”
Be social and make friends
It’s easy to become comfortable with office neighbors — but once you know them, it’s time to branch out and meet other people in the company. You may want to start by asking for their advice.
“People are willing to talk about themselves,” Rachel Bitte, the chief people officer at software recruiting firm Jobvite, told Business Insider. “They’re willing to share what they learned through being in that field. So don’t be afraid to go leverage that network, just to even learn.”
If you’re going to spend 40 or more hours a week at the office, you’d have a much better working experience getting along with your peers. Having friends at your workplace makes you more productive, and it can also lead to a better team focus. Some ways to get on good terms with your colleagues are going beyond one-word introductions, being considerate of their time, and showing appreciation for help.
Ask lots of questions
It can be challenging to make your mark in a new role if you’re unsure what tactics your department has or hasn’t tried, Augustine said. Before you start suggesting changes, ask open-ended questions about the company.
Attend meetings and just listen. Being receptive to your recommendations and recognizing that you have much to learn will help you make educated decisions in the future.
Work on developing good habits
The more things you have on your plate, the more likely you are to put your physical and mental health on hold. No matter how busy you get at your new job, practices like meal prepping or making your bed are some small habits that can influence your mood.
Figure out what your leadership team needs, and how you fit into that vision
Successful people will always demonstrate how much value they bring to their respective roles.
“I never think in terms of convincing anyone of anything — I think in terms of inspiring them,” FBI agent Robin Dreeke, who co-authored “The Code of Trust: An American Counterintelligence Expert’s Five Rules to Lead and Succeed,” told Business Insider. “If you want to move into a position of leadership, or you want to move up in the company, the first thing to ask yourself is, ‘How can I inspire them to want me?'”
He added: “You’ve got to understand what’s important to them. How do they see prosperity? What can you do to make their job easier?”
Track how you spend your time, so you can lay the groundwork for doing more
You probably overestimate how much time you have to spend doing those parts of your job you’re not super into, productivity expert Laura Vanderkam told Business Insider.
Seek feedback early on
After a month or two on the job, you can consult with your boss to ensure you’re on the right track to becoming a superstar at your company.
“This is a great opportunity to get some early feedback on what you are doing right, what needs to be done better, and how you can spend your time next week for the greatest benefit of the team,” Natalia Autenrieth wrote on TopResume.
An effective time for managers to give feedback is when they have a new employee. Though some studies have shown that feedback is not always effective, new hires benefit from it the most.
Chat with the CEO
It can be tricky to find a way to meet your company’s C-suite without being awkward. But try setting up a networking coffee with them, and come up with a list of questions beforehand to show your interest in the company and their work.
Take every opportunity to network with coworkers
Networking sounds intimidating, but it’s a lot more informal than you might think.
Joanna Coles, the former CCO of Hearst Magazines, said connecting with your peers is just as important as connecting with your bosses, if not more.
“The thing that I always try and say to young people starting out is your peer group is really the most important influence on your life because you are going to rise and fall together,” she told Business Insider. “And I have always got jobs through the loose ties of friendships and someone knowing someone who might know a job.”
Rekindle relationships with former coworkers
Augustine recommends new hires should go back and reconnect with former employers and ask for a LinkedIn recommendation. The best time to get referrals isn’t when you’re hunting for a job, but it’s well before you need it.
“Maintain these relationships and look for opportunities to pay it forward — you never know when they may be useful,” she said.
Dominic Umbro contributed to a previous version of this article.