One of the most common questions I get in my Career Elevator weekly Q&A session is…how do I make a great impression in my new role?
It’s asked a lot because my risers get promoted and new jobs so regularly! And also because it’s such an important time to get right. You never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Here are 9 things that will help you stand out for all the right reasons…
- If this is a role in a new company…Connect with future colleagues on LinkedIn with a message to let them know how excited you are to join the company and that you’re looking forward to working with them. You can get the conversation going before you ever set foot in the door! It may be a good idea to spruce up your profile (if you haven’t already during your job hunt), as they will be snooping on you.
- Plan the following…your 1st day, 1st week, 1st month, and 1st 90 days! What would success look like for you in those timeframes? Who do you want to meet? What do you want to learn? What do you want your impact to be?
- Plan your intro, and have a couple of variations ready. This is your opportunity whether one to one or in a meeting setting to tell people what you want them to know about you. Think about how you describe your past roles and experience. Highlight the things you want to be known for and asked about. Include why you’ve joined their company and what you’re excited about doing…you’re helping make it clear in their heads who you are, your credibility, and what you’re there to do. It’s your brand, practice it (out loud) and feel comfortable sharing it! And don’t be worried about repeating yourself as that’s just reinforcing your message.
- Prepare for each meeting and interaction – who am I going to meet? What do I want to learn from them? Get a set of questions ready that you can use (not like an interrogation), but to keep the conversation going and make it fruitful. Think about them on a personal and professional level. A great opener is to ask about how they came to this company and role. You get to learn their story! What do they enjoy about working there? What do they think would be good for you to know as a newbie? Who do they think you should meet? Etc.
- Create a spreadsheet with all the people you meet. Names, roles, what they’re working on, things they share about themselves and their story. You meet a lot of people in your first few weeks. This can help you remember and when you meet again you can follow up and ask meaningful questions. People love to feel heard and remembered, it shows great respect and is the ultimate relationship builder.
- Follow up after meetings with a thank you and share something specific you took from the interaction. This shows you place value on the time together and makes people feel appreciated. They will be more open to future meetings.
- Building the relationship with your manager is really important. Take the time to understand how they see your role. What does success look like from their perspective? What are their priorities? How do they like to communicate? (Which mainly comes from observation but no harm asking). Who do they think it’s important for you to build relationships with? What are the key meetings you need to be involved in? Etc.
- You also need to be clear on what you want to get from the role…what are your goals and ambitions? What skills and experience do you want to be building? How can you make yourself visible? Who do you need to be visible to? This is your career and it’s up to you to make the most of this opportunity.
- Taking the above into account, remember you don’t have to say yes to everything in a new role. You’re finding your feet and finding your place. Yes, there will be things you do to build relationships, but if you have been poor at setting boundaries before, now is the time to start. Have a few set phrases to avoid committing to things you’re not sure about…‘I’m just getting clear on my priorities so I’ll come back to you’, ‘I know my focus is currently X, when I’ve completed that we can review’ and so on.
The final thing to remember is that they really wanted YOU to come and work with them. They are impressed by what you bring and what you have to offer. As a new person you have the opportunity to watch and learn. To ask questions. To find where you can have the most impact and add the most value. Enjoy learning and the journey of getting up to speed. You’ll have a full plate before you know it and will regret not having enjoyed the slower pace of your first weeks and months!
You’ve got this!
If you’d like help with a game-plan you should check out my Career Audit!