Goals When Starting a New Job

You’ve probably been noticing a lot of “starting a new position” posts on LinkedIn lately. I love giving shout outs to people who’ve just landed a new position. As a career coach, I know what they’ve been through to get there.

I also know how overwhelming it can be to start a new job. With so much going on, it’s hard to know what to focus on.  Here are my top 3 goals when starting a new job:

  1. Understand where you fit in. It goes without saying that you’ll need to learn more about your duties and responsibilities. However, I’m talking about where you fit into the overall structure, like an organizational chart. Seeing where you fit in can provide more clarity on what makes your work valuable and why your contribution is needed. Creating your own organizational chart (if your workplace doesn’t have one) will also allow you to understand what other people’s roles are and who you can reach out to for help.  If your workplace has an office/operations manager or human resources professional, then you’ll want their input too.  They’ll be so impressed with your initiative!
  1. Network, network, network. Networking doesn’t end once you land a job. Now’s the time to get to know your colleagues. It’s the perfect time to introduce yourself, relentlessly. You’re new! There are a few ways to do this in a pandemic. Many workplaces are organizing virtual coffee breaks or group activities; this would be a great way to get to know several people at once and then follow up with individuals to set up a one-on-one call or video-conference.     A recent example of one of my clients comes to mind. I’ve been working with Tony (name has been changed) to help him excel at his new job. One of the first things I had Tony do was research the bios of the lawyers in his office and identify three people he wants to meet.  Once Tony reaches out to introduce himself and express an interest in the work they do, he’ll have established a direct line of accessing work and potentially even find an informal mentor.
  1. Set up a time to review your work. Three months is generally enough time for you to get a lay of the land and seek feedback from your new employer. Some organizations schedule a 90-day review as part of their structure; many law firms don’t have such a practice. Regardless, it’s a great way to verify whether you’re meeting expectations (or not). In this informal review (if you’ve had to set it up yourself), you’ll want to indicate what goals you’ve set out for yourself (ah hem, include the ones above). You’ll also want to look forward and ask for input about what kinds of goals you need to set up next.

Starting a new job is an exciting time. It’s not the time to coast or take for granted.  By working towards a few strategic goals, you’ll feel better about your transition and show just how committed you are to the success of your new employer.

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