Professional Development

3 steps to finding success at your new job

Written by Eric Titner

When you’re starting a new job, there’s a lot to be excited about. You’re at the beginning of a significant new chapter in your professional life that could be filled with amazing new opportunities. You’re about to be exposed to different people and ideas, and chances to challenge yourself with new projects, build new skills, and reinforce or strengthen existing abilities. Who knows—it might even completely change the outlook and direction of your career journey!

Amidst all these new changes and exciting possibilities, there’s likely one overriding thought going through your mind as you prepare yourself for the first day at your new job: What will I need to do to be successful? After all, you’ve likely gone through an arduous hiring process and worked hard to convince your new employer that you’ll be a valuable addition to their team—and now you want to deliver on that promise. You don’t only want to fit in well, you also want to stand out and shine.

In fact, you may be so eager to start your new job off on the right foot that you’re having some small-scale (or not so small-scale) anxiety over just how to make this happen. If so, then fear not—although jobs are like snowflakes and no two are identical, there are some proven strategies that you can follow to help tip the odds in your favor that your new job will be a success.

1. Make a stellar first impression

We’re all aware of the lasting power of first impressions, and the notion holds true for all aspects of life—especially when starting a new job. The first few days of a new job will likely entail an intense array of making first impressions as you meet and get to know your new colleagues. This is an incredibly important time in this step of your professional journey for many reasons, but chief among them is that you’re forming the foundation of new professional relationships that will likely persist throughout your tenure at this new job.

Conversely, lackluster or downright poor first impressions can be difficult to overcome and could close doors to new collaborations, projects, and opportunities.  So … take your first meetings seriously! Making an extra effort to forge great first impressions with absolutely everyone you come across in the first few days at your new job—from subordinates to higher ups, and even those folks with whom you’ll have little or no contact with on a regular basis—is a fantastic investment in your future success and will help boost your overall satisfaction and happiness.

2. Go the extra mile

Sure, when starting off a new job you want to “check off all the boxes” of your specific job roles and responsibilities. But why not take things a few steps further in an effort to kick things off well? Be on the lookout for opportunities to go the extra mile and help your coworkers in any way possible. Yes, you’re likely going to be in a hyper-focused “learning mode” when just starting a new job and learning the ins and outs of the company and your place in the structure, but if you can demonstrate to your new colleagues that you’re the sort of person that they can really count on for support, including everything from small gestures to time- and labor-intensive assistance, it can go a long way to helping you create positive working relationships and new allies amongst your colleagues—which are key factors in workplace success.

3. Stay humble, no matter what

Humility is an often overlooked and under-appreciated notion, but who among us doesn’t have experience with a new colleague who starts off a new job pretending that they know everything and need to learn nothing, and proceeds to make mistake after mistake while hiding in their defensive shell and blaming everyone and everything for their initial failures? Things typically don’t work out very well for these folks, do they?

A much better approach is to start off a new job being humble, open to learning and constructive feedback, and willing to consider new ideas and ways of doing things—even if they’re completely different from what you’ve known up until this point. After all, no one is going to expect you to know absolutely everything when just starting out at a new job, and relying on your coworkers for guidance can help you build solid relationships. Furthermore, regardless of your industry or position, those of us who remain humble and open to change are best positioned to adapt, grow, and find success in today’s rapidly evolving work world.

About the author

Eric Titner

Eric is a NYC-based editor and writer, with years of experience in career-focused content development across a wide range of industries.