Starting a new job is a leap of faith. First there’s the initial shock of a new team and purpose. After that, there’s the lingering fears that the job might not have been quite right for you.
Uncertainty and stress are normal, but there are ways to still ensure you’re growing in your career and setting yourself up for success. Here are four tricks to approaching the first year at a new job.
Look to management’s culture
It sounds obvious, but understanding and adapting to the culture surrounding your new work environment is paramount.
Most importantly, look to management or founders for a read on culture. Work ethic and philosophies tend to trickle down from the top. Do they take vacation? Are they around for lunch and learns or team-building activities? Do they put in long hours or leave at 5?
Noting these behaviors can help you fit in more quickly—or decide whether you want to get out.
Master internal networking
At a new job, it can be tempting to remain within your team’s bubble. But as you settle in, try to make new connections with other colleagues.
Understanding how the organization as a whole functions and having support in other departments only helps in the long run. It can also lay the foundation for a role switch if you want a change of scenery later on.
Start branching out by considering what aspects of your skill set are underused in your current role, and if anyone else in the organization could benefit from those skills.
With this in mind, you can meet people naturally and provide immediate benefit while still growing in your role.
Don’t ignore external connections
Tapping your colleagues for opportunities and challenges is a great first networking step, but don’t forget about the outside world.
Work can be immensely isolating. So make sure not to forget about meetups, hackathons, or tech workshops in your area. Attending these events can put you in touch with creators, developers, and designers who you’d never cross paths with otherwise.
Working on passion projects with people you meet at events like these (or alone!) can act as a way of recharging your batteries while continuing to grow your skills.
Continuing to grow your portfolio as you work is never a bad thing. Especially if you already love what you do. If anything, it can show your employer a creative side impossible in your current line of work.
Learn to advocate for yourself
Most importantly, learn to represent yourself well.
There’ll come a point, often sometime around the three month mark, where you begin to adjust to your new working environment. You’ll be more confident, surer that you’ve got a feel for how the company works.
That’s the time to start planning the next few months to a year in the gig.
Make sure that you ask for more responsibility when you feel you’re ready for it. Even if your boss or manager turns you down, they’ll know that you’re thinking about your impact.
But self-advocacy doesn’t stop with asking for responsibility. It also covers talking to your employers when you feel that your skills are being underutilized, or if you don’t understand a key aspect of your project goals.
Remember, you were hired for a reason and beat out scores of other candidates.
Hiring you to fill a key role was management’s decision. Making the best of your time there is your job.
Considering a new opportunity? Authentic Jobs has one waiting for you.