The Idealist Career Advice Guide to Your First 100 Days at a New Job was originally published on Idealist Careers.
Between meeting new colleagues, mastering new skills, and tackling new responsibilities, your first three months at a new job can leave you feeling exhausted. To help alleviate some of that stress, we’ve put together a First 100 Days plan that will help you avoid rookie mistakes, impress your boss, and endear yourself to your colleagues. So print out the plan below, set up some auto-reminders, and hit the ground running!
Before you start your new job
- Review all of the research you did on the organization when you applied. Re-read staff bios, the organization’s website, and notes you took during your interview.
Your first day at a new job
- Today is all about absorbing as much information as you can, so stick to a 90/10 rule. Make it your goal to listen 90% of the time, and talk 10% of the time. Pro tip: most of your 10% should be asking questions!
- Take notes. It’ll be nearly impossible to remember everything you’re being told today. Important things to jot down include co-workers’ names, job titles, and something memorable about your interaction with them; information about the organization that you won’t be able to find in documentation later on; and little nuggets of wisdom you might receive from new colleagues. Don’t worry about capturing everything. Much of what you hear on the first day will be reinforced once you begin your job responsibilities, or will be documented in a staff manual.
- Take care of your environment. Depending on your job, this might mean getting your computer set up (installing software, bookmarking important websites, saving your usernames and passwords), making sure you have your office supplies and furniture, or getting the right uniform or tools.
- After work, reward yourself on a successful first day by taking a real break and doing something fun or relaxing!
Your first week at a new job
- Ask your manager to set up getting-to-know-you meetings with people who know your work area well or have specific institutional knowledge to share. Pro tip: Ask others what they hope you’ll be able to do for/with them in your new role. You can learn a lot about others’ expectations of you this way!
- Practice humility. Chances are your boss didn’t hire you to “fix” everything; they hired you because they believe your skills and experience can have a positive impact. Come with a fresh perspective, but be quick to deliver a compliment or acknowledge what’s working. A good rule of thumb is to avoid talking about your most recent job as much as possible (e.g. “Well, this is how we did it at…”)
- After work, send thank you notes to people who helped you land the job. Return the favor by sharing a link to an interesting article or event announcement.
Your first month at a new job
- Study up on your new home away from home. Read your organization’s newsletters, websites, social media, annual reports, anything you can find. You may also want to set up Google alerts about your organization in order to stay current.
- Have a frank discussion with your manager about any unwritten rules or standards. You can also seek clarification on performance metrics and expectations.
- After work, update your social networking profiles. Let everyone know about your new job, and any new ways you may want to connect.
Your second month at a new job
- Now that you’ve got a bit of experience under your belt, start taking responsibility for your own professional development. Subscribe to relevant blogs, join a professional association or Meetup, and identify trainings or books that may be helpful.
- Do a favor for someone in your organization. Big or small, it doesn’t matter. If you’re paying attention to others, you should be able to recognize an opportunity to make someone’s day. Not only will you get the immediate satisfaction of helping someone out, but your colleague will remember it later.
- Seek out a mentor within your new organization. Having a mentor (or several) can improve job performance, grow your network, and even help you advance more quickly within your organization.
Your third month at a new job
- Improve a process. By this point you’ve learned a thing or two about the inner workings of your organization, and it’s time to take advantage of your fresh perspective and prior experience. Have you noticed a task you have to do over and over again? Perhaps you can automate it. Is there a particular workflow you’ve found difficult to master? Maybe it could be made more intuitive. Whatever you decide to do, make sure it doesn’t impede anyone else’s work, and be sure to let your manager know about the change you made. They’ll be impressed!
- Investigate something outside of your job responsibilities. Now that you’ve begun to shine in your new role, it’s time to broaden your horizons. Chat up a colleague at lunch about a project they’re working on, wander over to a different department during your coffee break, or Slack a member of the staff who you haven’t worked with yet. The more you know about what’s going on outside of your immediate responsibilities, the more likely it is you’ll be able to make valuable connections across the organization.
- Request a three-month review with your manager. Prepare by jotting down notes about your accomplishments to date, and any new work you’d like to take on. Ask questions about how you’re doing and be ready to accept your manager’s feedback.