Insight article

Starting Your New Job Like a Chess Grandmaster

Start your new job correctly

Most people don’t realize how your first few months, weeks and even days on the job affect your career. First impressions form opinions that may be very hard to change later. So when you run into your new office a few minutes late because you didn’t know where to park, all out of sorts, nervously smiling at everyone… you look like a lost puppy. Here is how to avoid this.

Take a test-drive

The night before take a ride to your new job,  make an assessment of what your morning drive would look like with traffic. Check out the parking area and figure out where you would park and enter the building. Knowing these simple details will give you a feeling of confidence in the morning. You won’t be that crazy dude circling the lot, obnoxiously cutting off your boss while trying to be on time.

Select your power-outfit

Don’t wait till morning to learn that what you meant to wear is at the cleaners. Pull together a similar outfit to the ones you saw on the leadership team who interviewed you. Make sure your wardrobe, socks and shoes is preselected the night before, clean and freshly pressed. Neatly dressed people are presumed organized and diligent and everyone is judging!

Do your homework

In order to position yourself correctly ask HR representative (Or your IT Recruiter) for an org chart when they provide you with insurance forms and then “google” all the key players. Look at that where they went to school, their former employers, check LinkedIn for any common contacts, you may be able to leverage those later. Researching their backgrounds will help you understand how they became successful in your company. You will see what these folks are passionate about and it will help you appeal to their egos and get them to do what you want. Now don’t go crazy and start stalking them on Facebook, keep your interests strictly professional.

Location, location, location!

It is actually important where you sit, your personal workspace may increase your visibility or even add authority to your presence. You did your homework and you know who is who on the org chart. Once you’ve been shown your place, set your bag down and take a walk around your office space.

Do some seating arrangement comparing. If it seems that all your counterparts have offices but you have been assigned a cube, don’t hesitate to ask for an office. No, your boss will not label you an egomaniac, in fact they they will learn that you stand up for yourself. Just make sure that you use the right reasons to build your case. Example: “I’ve been in this role with my former employer and I had an office just like John and Steve. I found it extremely beneficial to have a place where I have privacy to interview a confidential candidate or call our CFO to discuss budget.”

If your position usually gets a cube make sure your cube is in a winning location, where you can see and be seen… and the most important benefit of residing in the cube is to be able to hear and overhear! The best spot isn’t one near the the “john”, it’s the one close to meeting rooms and top dog’s offices.

Establish Leadership

No matter what role you were hired to fill, establish yourself as a leader immediately.  Meet with your boss and get on the same page about their goals and expectations. However, before you put your head down and start digging into your assignment, look at a the big picture first. Get up to speed on all key initiatives and start meeting with everyone in charge separately to gauge their state of affairs, understand their challenges in order to offer value. Your number one goal is to be valuable to those who can help you move forward. Don’t be afraid to bite off more then you can chew, you will delegate the leg work to others and those who see value in what you are driving will support you. Focus on projects with maximum visibility and get your boss on board before you offer to help officially. Use the word “we” as you are trying to get their buy in, and make it clear that you are looking at it as a team contribution.

You win

In other words, your future at your new company starts day one. Preparation and homework will translate into a grand entrance, great first impressions and introductions.  Identifying leaders and initiating relationships will allow you to participate in company-wide agenda. Contributing to multiple initiatives will surround you with powerful supporters. This approach will immediately expand  your role and ultimately put you on track for your first promotion.

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