Career Tips

New Year, New Job.  No Problem. Four things to keep in mind when starting a new job.

January 6, 2017

New Year, New Job. No problem.

It’s the new year, maybe you’ve landed a new job?  If so, congrats!  We know that once you’ve set foot on unfamiliar turf, you might be feeling like a fish out of water.   It’s tough to leave a job where you know the spot for everything (paper, coffee, the quiet conference room, etc.) and know everyone (receptionist, manager & your favorite co-workers).  When you start a new job, that goes out the window.   You may be clueless about the day-to-day workings of your new job.   Let’s face it, you’re the new kid on the block.  You need to learn all the basics and who the players are.   Here are few things to keep in mind when starting a new job.

You deserve it.  This is an important one so we’ll say it again, you deserve it.   You’ve been hired because the boss believes that you can handle it. You have something to offer.  Feel the pride.

Relax.  Every day you will know more than you did the day before.  It sounds basic, but it’s true, it gets easier.   Most likely, on day one, you’re not going to have a calendar full of meetings and a list of projects to tackle.  Although it may feel weird, this is normal. Take the time to ease into your new role and company.   Set up your work space, record that dreaded first voice mail and, most of all, relax and enjoy it.

Recreate Yourself.  Chances are that most people in your new company are new to you… and you’re new to them.  You’re a blank slate.  It’s a great chance to work on those things that might be ‘developmentals’ from your previous job and make them your strengths.   For example, no one is going to know that you didn’t win a gold medal in follow up skills.   Now is the time to be the ‘all-time follow up champ’.   If you think about it, this is your chance to learn from the past and make these little career nuggets your strengths.  You’ll be surprised how easy it is.

Grow.  Let this new job take you in the direction that you see your career heading and find fulfillment in your new role.  We believe you should really like what you do.  If you do, it will fuel your career and make the days zip by.  You’re going to be spending a lot of time and energy in your new job.  Love it and it will nourish your career…. and you.

 

 

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Career Tips, Job-Seeker Advice, Tuesday Tip

Job-hunting? 4 Reasons Why the Grass May be Greener Exactly Where You are

December 29, 2014

This past year, through our “Tuesday Tips” blog series, we’ve been sharing advice as it pertained to the various phases of job-hunting and your overall career advancement. We’ve shared tips on everything from how to develop and present your personal brand, to the key factors to consider before accepting a job offer. Along the way, we’ve been careful to remind you of the importance of appreciating the tools, experience and support that you have gathered. Our final post for 2014 is also based on the theme of gratitude.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to strive for a better work situation, or to take a step in an entirely new career direction. We certainly don’t advocate you settling for a job that is characterized by long, grueling hours and strained work relationships, and worst of all, offers you little fulfillment. However, if you were to assess where you’re at and realize that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, it might help ease some of the stress and anxiety you’ve been carrying around for some time.

If any of the following conditions apply to your current professional status, we encourage you to consciously exhale, hit “reset” and start 2015 with renewed appreciation and drive:

1. You already have a job. Fact: Anyone who’s spent any amount of time looking for a job will tell you that being employed is worlds better than being unemployed. Mind you, that doesn’t hold true if you’re being exploited in your current position. Even if you feel like your efforts aren’t being fully recognized or justly rewarded, at least you can seek refuge in having a routine, a sense of purpose and the knowledge that paychecks are steady and imminent.

2. There’s at least a handful of co-workers who you consider to be good friends. One of the perks of being employed is having the opportunity to converse, interact and bond with others. With like-minded people, you feel a connection; different people expose you to new things. If you’ve chosen not to be social at work and build relationships, it’s no wonder you might have been feeling disconnected and disenchanted.

3. You have a benefits package. There’s been an upsurge of contract positions in the past few years, which is to say that fewer employees today are being offered health insurance coverage and other standard benefits that come with permanent positions. And how many contract employees really take the initiative to research and register for plans of their own? The bottom line is that it never hurts to have some additional perks and protection.

4. Doing your job does not stress you out. Consider how many people in your network are running around like headless chickens trying to juggle increasing responsibilities and meet impossible targets. Meanwhile, your biggest complaint about your job is the lack of challenges it presents. Well guess what? You could try using your spare time and mental energy to focus on more projects of your own, whether they’re work-related or for your personal enjoyment.

There’s only so much you can blame a job for not making or keeping you happy. It’s actually your responsibility to balance work with family, play and community time, which altogether should boost your well-being. Bring a positive attitude to work and vow to learn and grow as much as you can, as an employee and as a person. If your genuine efforts to foster a new appreciation still leave you feeling like you’re lacking in the “career joy” department, then take your time exploring new, potentially greener turf in the coming year.

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6 Key Factors to Consider Before Accepting a Job Offer

December 23, 2014

Securing a job offer is no small feat in this ever so competitive market. When it does happen, allow yourselves to relish the moment – you’ve earned it! However, no matter how excited you are or how clear-cut a decision it seems, we caution you against making a verbal or written commitment on the spot.

Request some time from your potential employers to conduct a thorough, final review of all that this new opportunity entails. Putting pen to paper to list the pros and cons based on your research and dealings with staff up to this point will really help you to put everything into perspective. If questions arise from this exercise, don’t be afraid to have a follow-up conversation with the powers that be, either in person or over the phone; email exchanges can get convoluted and thus bear poor results.

Here are some key factors you should review before signing on the dotted line:

  1. The requirements of the job. Have a clear understanding, and by that, we mean that you should have in hand a written outline of the full description of the role and its key deliverables. It’s a sensible way to ensure that when you get started, you’ll be on the same page as your future boss and team with regard to their expectations of you.
  2. The compensation package. Look over all of the terms. How does this package compare to industry standards, and more importantly, does it adequately cover your needs at this time? What about the benefits – do they make the package more appealing to you, or do you find them redundant or unnecessary? For example, you might be on your spouse’s health insurance plan, in which case you’d benefit more from a higher hourly rate than medical coverage. Based on the answers, you may need to do some negotiating.
  3. The company culture. How well does it match up with your personality, principles and sense of purpose? You’ll be spending hours on end in your co-workers’ presence. You may not have interacted much with the wider office population, as it were, but what does your intuitive self tell you about the overall vibe? Feeling comfortable about what, how and why they do the things they do is very important. If you’d been too eager to find a job to consider this beforehand, better now than not at all!
  4. Location, location, location. What costs are involved? Also, if your commute will be a long one, are you the type of person who can throw on some tunes and make merry in the car or on public transit? Decide if the benefits of this job come close to compensating for the loss of personal time.
  5. Your personal space. Which set-up is more conducive to your productivity: an open, collaborative space or the privacy and solace of a cubicle or office? If the one you’re being offered is not ideal, will you be able and willing to adjust?
  6. The opportunities for growth. During the interview, did you ask about potential career paths or training and development prospects? Do you have any idea what the turnover rate is, or what the chances for networking within your industry might be? Before committing to this or any other position, get a sense of where it will take you and whether or not it will help you to evolve.

You may or may not have the luxury of declining a job offer that doesn’t fulfill your every professional need and want. Either way, it’s in your best interest to gather as many facts as you can about the role and environment you’ll be walking into, be it on a contract or permanent basis. Finally, if you’re currently employed, ensure that you do a full comparison of the two positions, and wait until you have a written confirmation of all the terms you’ve negotiated before submitting your letter of resignation.

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4 Most Practical Ways to Excuse Yourself From Your Current Job to Interview for Another One

December 16, 2014

Don’t feel badly about having to carve some time out of your workday (or a couple of them) to explore a new job opportunity – we’ve all done it at some point. Do act smart, though, and by that we mean two things: 1) Decide on an explanation that you feel most comfortable offering (one that preferably does not involve an ailing relative or a fake disaster) and 2) Don’t broadcast your true intentions on social media, lest your current co-worker OR boss should directly or indirectly come across one of your updates.

Whether you’ve done this tricky dance before, or you’re a newbie at considering other career possibilities on your existing employer’s clock, here are the four most practical recommendations we can offer you:

1. The perfect situation would be for you to meet your recruiter or a hiring manager at a time outside of your work hours. He or she is presumably aware that you’re currently employed, so don’t be afraid to make this request. Not to mention either of these individuals will be likely to infer that you’re a thoughtful, conscientious employee.

2. Take a vacation day, in which case there’ll be no need for you to fabricate any excuses. It will also afford you the time and head space to fully prepare and be prompt for the interview, especially if it’s going to involve you meeting multiple people.

3. If you’re out of vacation days, but working from home is an option, go for that. Unless you have a tendency to become anxious or are easily stressed, you should be able to keep up with the demands of this one day. Just plan ahead and give your tasks maximum focus, returning work-related calls or emails in as timely a manner as your schedule will permit.

4. You could say you have a doctor’s appointment, which in most instances will not require any further explanations. However, if you know you’ll be needing time off over more than a day or two, it’s probably more credible to say, “I’m having some dental work done.”

Common sense is key here, friends. Out of consideration for your team or employer, select days and times that are least likely to disrupt your current work flow and productivity – early in the morning, the end of your work day, or even your lunch break for a short preliminary phone interview. Of course if you’re interviewing for more than one position over a couple weeks, then you really need to put some thought into your scheduling.

Since you believe this interview process can potentially get you to where you want and need to be next, finding the right way to excuse yourself from work is worth the effort and inconvenience.

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It’s Not Just What You Wear, But How You Wear It: 5 Tips for Dressing Like a Winning Job Candidate

December 9, 2014

No matter how much of a “fashionista” you are in your day-to-day life, your decision about what to wear on an interview shouldn’t be based solely on personal style.  We absolutely encourage you to be yourself, or the best professional version of yourself, but you also need to show that you understand the brand and are keen to embrace the company culture. In an interview scenario, dressing the part is the first way you’ll prove that.

Here are a few of our suggestions for earning the highest possible score on the “overall physical appearance” portion of an interview:

1. Do your research beforehand, preferably sooner than the night before the interview. As part of your prep, review the company’s online channels for insights into its fashion practices and preferences. It’s totally appropriate to ask your recruiter for some guidance on this subject, or perhaps even a friend who’s worked there. Gone are the days when a power suit was the optimum interview wear. Now, you need to consider the company and the industry at hand. If you’re interviewing with a start-up, we’d recommend a business casual-chic look over the typical jeans-hoodie-flipflops look. An interview for a position with a luxury brand requires a more formal, high-fashion ensemble. Luckily, there’s no shortage of fashion inspiration on the web; search for visuals of clothing samples and categories on Pinterest, for example.

2. The fit of your clothing needs to be on point. Attire that’s too short or too long, and conversely, too tight or too baggy does not spell “professional.” It’s definitely worth your time and money to have alterations done; you’ll feel more comfortable and thus move more confidently. Besides, that’s a cheaper option than buying new clothes for every interview. See why all of this needs to be addressed well in advance of the day of your interview?

3. Groom thyself. You could be wearing the priciest ensemble, but if you’re not at your hygienic best, it won’t matter one bit. Make it obvious to the interviewer that you’ve taken the time to clean up and dress nicely for this interview – it’s a mark of respect and conscientiousness. You’ll be expected to make eye contact during this process, so opt for a hairstyle that makes your eyes easily visible and shows off your fresh face. Handshaking means your hands and fingers will be on display; a fancy pre-interview manicure isn’t necessary, but clean, evenly-trimmed nails are. Whether it takes an hour or five, make sure your scent is one that spells “I’m-easy-to-be-around. ” You won’t be sitting behind a desk forever, so wear shoes that are in great shape and polished. You’re going to be scrutinized from head to toe whether you like it or not, so you might as well use this inescapable fact to your advantage.

4. Accessorize with this cliche in mind: less is more. You want to hold your interviewer’s attention throughout your conversation, so minimize the distractions that shiny, clunky, gaudy pieces of jewelry, bags and belts can pose. Now, while your penchant for trendy pieces need not be illustrated for a corporate position, it could earn you a couple extra points for a creative role; know the job and know your audience. Accessorizing can be tricky, so don’t feel shy about having a fashion-savvy friend or relative weigh in on your selections.

5. Nothing will get you ahead of the competition like… a winning attitude! Interviewers will be assessing your body language and facial expressions to determine your level of ease and poise walking into this potential new role. Therefore, in addition to all that you’ve donned – from your crisp get-up to your tastefully-applied make-up – make sure you walk and sit upright, offer a firm handshake, be fully engaged by listening closely and answering intelligently, and when the conversation or the situation warrants it, share that genuine smile.

Image isn’t everything, but whether or not we care to admit it, it’s the first thing we observe upon meeting someone for the first time, and even beyond that. Let your look and your overall presence help propel you to your next career destination. Know where you’re going, and dress to fit in, but stand out!

 

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“What Questions Do You Have For Me?” 5 Solid Ways to Answer This in an Interview

December 2, 2014

When a hiring manager or potential employer asks you, “Do you have any questions for me?” we strongly caution you against replying, “No,” or “You’ve already answered all my questions.” In fact, even after having been grilled with other questions and assessments for hours leading up to that moment, this is a golden opportunity to make a positive lasting impression.

Your interview prep should involve drafting a few questions that reflect an invested thought process. Since these people are putting in the effort to see if you might be the right fit for the position within their company, your interest level should at least match theirs. Plus it’s a great opportunity to figure out whether or not this is what you want and where you want to be.  Should a couple of your questions be answered beforehand – your listening skills need to be on point from the time you step foot into that interview room – having four or five to choose from is smart. Here’s a list of questions you might want to use or add to yours:

1. If you could hire the ideal candidate for this role, what would his or her skill set look like? Hopefully you’ll have already done a great job selling your applicable strengths, but if there’s something that you missed, this is your shot at weaving it into the conversation. Incidentally, don’t just say you’re excellent at multi-tasking, for instance, but have an anecdote ready to illustrate that.

2. What marks of success should the person in this position be seeking to hit in the first 3-6 months? This suggests you’re thinking ahead, beyond securing the job, and focusing on maximizing your time and efforts. Whether or not you’ve had a wealth of success in your previous roles, you’re demonstrating your interest in excelling in THIS prospective one, solving problems and contributing to growth. This will get employers excited about you.

3. What can you tell me about the team I’ll possibly be working with? It’s a clever way to show that you’ve already begun to consider the notion of integrating yourself into the company and collaborating with others to achieve common goals. Being a good team player certainly won’t hurt your chances of landing a job.

4. Now that we’ve met and discussed the role at length, is there anything about my background that might hinder you from offering it to me? Posing this question will suggest that you’re open to constructive criticism and committed to personal improvement, two very valuable qualities in today’s world riddled with a few ego-maniacal personalities too many. Make sure your verbal and non-verbal reactions to the responses prove your comfort level.

5. What’s the next step in the process? Ask this question and you’ll demonstrate that you’re invested in the process. It may also lead to you finding out a bit about the other candidate(s) in the running for the position, offering you insights that you can even apply to your job hunt (in a similar field) should you not get this particular position.

Now, you may or may not need to tweak the structure or content of these questions based on the role you’re hoping to secure. In any event, it’s a tried and tested way to display a skill that’s pertinent to most any job: being a good conversationalist. Always remember that an interview is a conversation – you talk and you listen. Hopefully once you’ve left your mark, this will be the first of many worthwhile conversations you’ll be having with your future employer and team.

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Handshake 101

November 25, 2014

I can feel the twinkle of his eye in his handshake. ~ Helen Keller.

We often remind you job seekers how important it is to pay attention to the non-verbal cues you give and receive – they’re telling! Being more conscious of them will only make you a better communicator, both in your professional and personal lives. The handshake is a universal physical gesture that holds the power (no pun intended) to help you set the right tone and make a great impression in an interview, at a business meeting or in any social scenario.

Whether you’re introducing yourself for the first time, renewing your connection with someone or saying goodbye, we assure you that the following guidelines will come in very handy (there we go again):

1. Combine reach with speech… and a genuine smile. Don’t let your handshake do all the talking; extend your hand as you say something like, “Hi, I’m ___, it’s a pleasure to meet you,” or, “It was great doing business with you.” Silence would only make you come across as nervous or unfriendly.

2.The magic is in the forearm. Using your entire arm to drive the handshake motion is likely to result in you yanking the other person’s arm out of its socket (not literally, but it will feel like it). That’s why engaging the area below your elbow is the way to go. Since we’re on the subject of form, try to keep your thumbs upright and make palm-to-palm contact for a more comfortable, even exchange.

3. Be medium-firm. We’ve all been victims of both extremes of pressure at some point: the overpowering “OMG my bones WILL be broken” and the insulting “Does this person think I’m a weakling… with germs” handshakes. You don’t want to seem aggressive, or timid, so shoot for a grip that suggests you’re strong yet engaged and approachable. Incidentally, this advice applies to both men and women.

4. Keep it short. A good handshake lasts no longer than a few seconds, and requires no more than a couple of shakes. It’s when you linger that things get awkward, so don’t. We recommend you keep the conversation going during and beyond the handshake to create a flow. If your nerves get the better of you, and you find the experience to be disjointed, don’t beat yourself up about it – practice makes better, then perfect.

That’s the thought with which we leave you this week: don’t be discouraged if there’s been one uncomfortable moment too many in your previous attempts at handshaking. In fact if there’s awkwardness in the future, remember that you can always rely on your conversational skills to change the energy and momentum of things; a sincere compliment or pertinent question can be useful. Meanwhile if your handshaking partner lacks “swag” – it’s hard to be smooth when you have sweaty palms, for instance – always be poised and respectful. Stay focused on presenting yourself well, whether you’re interviewing or representing your new company on the field.

 

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How to be Smart About Explaining Pesky Past Career Details During Your Job Hunt

November 18, 2014

As much as we all hope for and work towards having a consistently thriving career, life gets in the way sometimes… and let’s be honest, so do poor decisions. However, we’re problem-solvers and overall optimists around here. That’s why we encourage you job seekers not to let life’s past misfortunes or your missteps hinder your career growth.

Maybe you’ve been agonizing over issues like how or to what extent you should explain the many months between jobs. You may be insecure about the fact that the number of jobs you’ve had far exceeds your number of skills. You could be dreading that interview with a hiring manager, wondering, “How much should I disclose about that one time I was fired?” While these dilemmas won’t take care of themselves, the good news is there are proactive steps you can take to handling these concerning details of your job history, which are more common than you think:

1. If there are long gaps between jobs you’ve held, that is, spanning more than just a couple months, don’t draw attention to them. Don’t hide them either. Mind you, if you’ve had volunteering experience over these months, do highlight any applicable skills you developed. To downplay employment gaps on your resume, we suggest listing jobs in years instead of months. If those gaps are enormous, position your Skills and Experience sections ahead of your job history listing, but don’t eliminate the latter altogether. By the way, we also advise you to stay clear of the BOLD option for dates.

2. If you’ve held a disproportionately large number of positions over short periods of time, consider creating a section in your resume titled “Consulting Experience.” If this was the case because it’s taken you a while to figure out what professional role and environment were best for you, share that tidbit in your cover letter and in your interview. Now, if some of your previous jobs don’t relate to the job you’re currently trying to secure, you may still include them in a section titled “Additional Experience” as long as you make your bullet points here fewer than in other sections in which you describe your more relevant roles.

3. Be prepared to address gaps in employment, but be clear and brief about it. Recruiters and hiring managers don’t need to be privy to your entire thought process on leaving jobs or switching careers; a line or two explaining such is enough, unless you’re further questioned in an interview. If you’re asked whether or not you’ve ever been fired in the past, be honest about it, and also express what you’ve learned from that experience. In the case of an in-person interview, be cognizant of your non-verbal cues as well, because we certainly will be taking notice of them. It’s all part of determining your credibility before we decide whether or not to submit you as our candidate.

4. Use social media to help you to define and develop your personal brand. More and more recruiters today are getting into the habit of perusing your social media channels to get a truer sense of your thoughts, values, interests and habits. After all, there’s only so much personality you can inject into your resume and cover letter. Leverage your social media channels to show the world what makes you “YOU” and it could potentially propel you to the top of our list of candidates, and even attract the attention of independent employers too.

5. Compile a list of solid references. Granted our decision to move forward with you depends mostly on our interactions with you, but it’s always a good idea to have a few people in your corner who will eagerly vouch for your experience, strengths and value to a new organization. Check out our previous blog post for tips on putting professional references together.

As awkward and intimidating as it may seem to be honest with people whom you don’t really know (like us), we promise you that it’ll work to your advantage in the long run. Land a job based on lies and half-truths, and carry on in constant fear of being called out? We think not. Once you’ve figured out how to share your story, including the not-so-ideal events of your professional past, it’ll make you a more authentic person and in fact, a more ideal candidate. Not to mention we’ll do everything we can to steer you in the direction of your next big opportunity.

 

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Four Ways to Get the Best Professional References

November 11, 2014

To land most any job, there comes a time in the hiring process when the people you’ve listed as your “professional references” will be called upon to vouch for your outstanding work ethic, performance and personality. We urge you to take this stage as seriously as any other – be as methodical and meticulous about it as you are about your resume and cover letter submissions. We even advise you to use the same font and layout as you’ll have used for those other documents, but keep it on a separate page.

About these professional (not personal) references. Hiring managers and potential employers  want to hear from those who know your on-the-job persona best. Therefore, we’re definitely not talking about your parents, your spouse or your work BFF here, but former senior team mates, clients and in instances where it’s not against company policy, former managers. It’s likely that you won’t be needing to contact these individuals until you’ve aced the second round of interviews. Certainly don’t offer your list of references until it’s requested. That said, it’s not too soon to get up to speed on professional references etiquette and prep:

1. Identify four or five people who can serve as references, and list them in their order of strength or worth to you in your job-seeking scenario. In most cases, you’re expected to submit two or three names, but it’s smart practice to have a couple extra in the event that not everyone will be available for a telephone conversation when they’re needed. If you’re interviewing for your very first job, no problem – enlist the support of your college professors or community leaders, those familiar with the attributes that would make you a solid employee.

2. Only list individuals as your references after you’ve received their permission to do so, and also be sure to ask if there are any contact details that they would not be comfortable sharing; respect for others’ privacy in any situation is a must. Not giving them a heads up isn’t only rude on your part, but it will put you at a disadvantage once that hiring manager reaches out to the people you neglected to brief on the situation. Not everyone can or will handle surprise phone calls or plain old discourtesy (on your part) with grace or tact. Could this take you out of the running for the position? Absolutely!

3. Remind your references of the relevant work you’ve done for them, or projects you worked on together. You might have worked at the same company recently or many moons ago, after all. Plus since you’re the one who’s familiar with the requirements of this position you’re seeking, you’ll know better which aspects of your work experience should be highlighted during a conversation between your references and potential future boss. It’s a good idea to send over the latest version of your resume to your references, especially if they’re not up to date on any new skills or work experience you’ve acquired.

4. Say, “Thank you,” whether or not you’re successful in this job pursuit.  An email will suffice, but you should make the effort to send a handwritten note. If you got the job, suggest a lunch date… or a coffee date, if you didn’t – budget constraints and all. Don’t hesitate to mention that you’d be happy to extend a helping hand if it’s ever needed; if you’re like most people who don’t like asking favors, showing your readiness to show support will make it easier to ask the next time around. After all, you may need to have those references speak on your behalf again someday.

We trust this week’s Tips will go beyond helping you to prepare your references for your ongoing or future job pursuits. We hope that they serve as an important reminder that we should all aspire to build positive connections and meaningful relationships in our professional lives. We stand to learn as much from each other as we are willing to give. Be the kind of person who others wouldn’t think twice to recommend for any type of role in the professional world.

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How to Get Past the Awkwardness and Stress of a New Job and Start Enjoying it

November 4, 2014

You’ve landed a new job – congrats! Do take that invigorating feeling of accomplishment and channel it towards this new, exciting chapter. That said, we’re aware that once you’ve set foot on unfamiliar turf, it’s common for feelings of anxiousness, panic and even self-doubt to set in. Knowing few people and being clueless about the day-to-day workings of an organization take a toll on even the most experienced, confident among us. In fact, some play the often daunting role of the “new kid on the block” several times throughout their careers. The good news is that there are definitive steps you can take towards gradually acclimating to your new work environment… and excelling too.

Whether you’re on the brink of starting your new job, or you’re well into your second month, we need to remind you of this: you’ve been hired because the powers that be believe that you can shine in this new role. On that note, here’s how to get past your “newbie hurdles” and settle into a pro-active, feel-good and productive groove:

1. Get a firm grasp on your new position and your goals for the first three months. That means being smart enough to ask your boss or team leader relevant questions. Take notes, especially in the beginning when there’s a lot of info to assimilate. Now, be tactful about when and where you pose questions – respect others’ time and space. Try to also be wise about how you manage your own time. You’ll find that you’ll start creating a comfortable workday routine, and you’ll inadvertently feel more like you deserve to be there; show those curious “office eyes” on you that you do.

2. Communicate. Whether your communication is written, verbal or non-verbal, aim to be as clear and as purposeful as possible. You may be sending emails, delivering presentations, or having conversations with your team or superiors on an ongoing basis. Don’t worry – just be professional and personable, and when you initiate constructive in-person chats (which you should), keep your facial expressions and body language pleasant and engaged. Finally, remember that good communication skills involve actively listening to others not just so that you can respond, but so that you gather meaningful insights.

3. Be observant. There’s so much that you can learn about the company culture this way: what makes for appropriate small-talk among co-workers; the office’s dress code and in particular, their interpretation of “Casual Fridays;” what your colleagues do for lunch – is it communal or does everyone retreat to his or her own nook or activity, like mid-day yoga?; whether or not personal calls are allowed, and if so, when and where they should be made. Discovering these unwritten rules will presumably make your work place seem less scary and stressful to you.

4. Welcome change. You obviously applied for this job because you wanted or needed a change. Accept then that this new phase of your career will usher in partially or entirely new methods for getting the job done. It’s okay to not know it all; it’s not okay to be resistant to acquiring new skills or trying out a suggested approach because you’re so attached to how you did things at your previous company. Flexibility is key to growth, and we should never allow ourselves to feel like we’re too knowledgeable to grow.

And finally…

5. Be a good collaborator. Whether you’re the team lead or a junior member in training, be ready and willing to work with others towards reaching collective goals. Of course, once you’re required to lead, don’t shy away from being decisive. Sometimes your patience will be tested and people’s personalities will rub you the wrong way; stay focused and adaptable, and always be respectful in the way you express yourself.

We hope you recognize that our suggestions are intended to help you to fit in, but not change who you are.  You were hired for your unique brand. Use it to make your mark while forging new connections and achieving goals as a talented, driven, optimistic member of your new team.

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