Career Development Tools: The Survival Guide for New Hires
So you just got hired. You are on a high. The application process and interview that you prepared and worked so hard for has now finally materialized into your dream job. This is finally the start of your career development journey! However, you suddenly catch yourself having the jitters. It’s a new environment with new people and a new culture that you have to adjust to. How will you fit in? Below is a survival guide to help you get through your time as “the new guy.”
Look before you jump
Every company is different from each other; every business has its own culture. You might hear something along the lines of “around here, we usually…”. While that might sound a tad limiting if you’re a radical free spirit, it is vital to take into account what the culture actually is around your new company, regardless of whether you’re the new clerk or the new externally-hired manager.
Taking the time to research and knowing as much as you can about the company that you are about to dip your toes into also wards off the anxiety that you might feel the night before your first day at work. Getting rid of some of the jitters will give your confidence a fighting chance to clap back. When you feel confident and relaxed, you are most likely able to use your energy to create a good impression rather than spend it keeping yourself from panicking.
Manage your career development expectations
Don’t expect a bed of roses waiting on your desk the first time you get it. You might get a formal introduction, but it won’t be all rainbows and sunshine during your first year. Expect some boredom, tediousness, being given the dirty jobs, and not being solicited for ideas at first. This is not necessarily a sign that you have a terrible job. It is merely the state where your career development is still trying to gain momentum before taking off on a smooth flight.
Prepare an elevator pitch
Expect everyone in the office to ask you to introduce yourself. This will happen multiple times and may stretch out over a couple of days. Don’t get annoyed because being asked to introduce yourself is a sign that your workmates are interested in getting to know you. To give yourself a break, it would help if you prepare an elevator pitch ahead of time -much like how you would answer a “tell me about yourself” question during an interview.
Prepare to deliver your pitch consistently, with the same amount of energy and enthusiasm every time you need to do so.
Be upbeat and enthusiastic
It does not matter if you are introducing yourself to the floor cleaner or the CEO. Speaking enthusiastically shows that you value the other person’s attention and that you are an approachable and likable employee.
Stand erect, maintain eye contact, give a firm handshake, and smile -these are some of the ways you can show enthusiasm when speaking to a colleague or manager. Also, it pays to watch your tone of voice when talking to a workmate. While you might not mind it at all, it may come off as something brash to someone else. Or if you are too sluggish and too low, they might think that you are bored and disinterested with them.
There are no rooms for complaints and declining in the first year of your employment. Be prepared to say yes to almost every request or instruction that senors dole out to you. This is not something that workplaces do to pick on the new hire. It is merely a test to see how dedicated you are to the job and how willing you are to fit in with the rest of the team.
Being handed the “grunt” work is not necessarily a bad thing in the beginning. You are not a pushover for as long as you are still a newbie. Instead, think of it as a chance to prove your mettle and show what you are capable of and how agreeable of a person you are.
Build a network ASAP
Part of saying YES to your new job is saying YES to every networking opportunity that arises. If your new coworkers invite you for some drinks after clocking out, now is not the time to take a raincheck. If your boss calls you up for a quick lunch, definitely say YES! Building a network in your new job is like building a safety net -a community of people who will ease you into the transition and who will have your back in your future career development.
Later on, maybe a few months in, you can take the initiative to initiate networking activities. If you have established a substantial first encounter with your workmates, they are most likely to accept your invites. On top of that, you would have already earned and saved enough by this time. You can buy everyone a round of drinks after work on Friday.
Take the initiative with your career development
On top of taking the initiative to woo your colleagues, you should also take the initiative in your work. Don’t be the wallflower, waiting to be spoon-fed tasks and learning. You should actively seek out ways that you can ease into the workflow by taking the lead in your career development.
You can do this by reaching out to colleagues with more tenure, provided that they are not too busy to answer your questions. You can also ask your direct manager for instructions or resources that you can refer to for you to become more effective in your job. On top of that, you can do your research and learn at your pace what it takes to do your job more efficiently.
Taking the initiative in terms of your improvement shows your colleagues that you are serious about your job and that you are not the kind of person who would bring the team down. It also enables you to learn new things that would make your work a lot better or a lot easier.
Know your place
At the end of the day, no matter how lightning-fast you want your career development to progress, you need to remember that being a newbie sometimes means having to start slow. Don’t worry too much about the pace of your work, especially if it’s just the first six months. Take the opportunity to fit in by being humble, willing to learn, and enthusiastic about your new job.