You’re hired. What’s your next move?

This is the latest installment in the Job Series by UCSC Extension Dean P.K. Agarwal (Links to previous Job Series articles are found at the end of this article)

You did it.

You’ve got a new job and congratulations are in order. Right about here, most people probably put their feet on the sofa and relax a bit. They pause to bask in the warmth of knowing they’ve secured a position. Great idea—just don’t lounge there too long.

After all the work of getting a great new job, the next steps matter. In this blog, I outline the top things you can do to position yourself for career success from the gate. 

Take the helm

My first piece of advice is to see your career as a living, breathing thing that needs tending. Be proactive about your plan. Don’t wait until you have your new security pass and onboarding materials in hand. Start thinking about your future at the new organization before your first day. 

In your first month at an organization, you’ll deepen your understanding of the business model, company culture, and the people who might help you succeed. This time will set the tone for your advancement. People will be watching you, Others won’t even know you’re there. What will you do with this opportunity? Remember, first impressions matter.

What brand image do you want to establish?

What do people remember first when they think of you? That is your brand. I’ve always strived for the brand image of a communicator and one that volunteers to take on tough assignments. What’s the tagline for your brand? Are you a great technician? A visionary leader? A problem solver? What would be your theme song for this first month on the job? Consider the qualities that set you apart and craft a concise, compelling tagline that reflects your professional identity. For example, “Be proactive. Inspire change.”

Make your game plan

The truth is that most people wait. They wait to be directed, to get the lay of the land, to learn what is expected of them. I suggest that you shape your own future. Don’t be a wallflower. Make a game plan. 

Soon after you’re hired, reach out to your boss and tell them you want to hit the ground running. Here are some ideas:

  • See if you can get a list of pending projects. 
  • Talk with your predecessor. 
  • Meet up with members of the team for coffee. 
  • Take notes for yourself and see where your goals align with those of others. 
  • How about having a written plan for week one?
  • Have a one- to two-minute speech to introduce yourself. This is a very important step. It’s not a summary of your resume but a way to launch your brand at this new organization.

Stepping up for new projects

In my professional career, I’ve found that one way to gain success is to step up for assignments that others might not want. You can create jobs for yourself that others haven’t thought of, fill a need others aren’t paying attention to. It can be as simple as summarizing the notes for a meeting or offering to present on a new topic. Just volunteer to do stuff. You’ll be graduating to juicy assignments before you know it and will be seen as a leader by all.

Take charge of your work relationships

Successful people have a personal recipe for success. They take charge of the relationships in their lives. They have an effective style of communication, and they are paying attention to others. Small gestures of appreciation go a long way in fostering a positive work culture and is a wonderful way to solidify trust and allies in an organization.

Continuously adapt and refine

Once you’ve settled in, you can create a one-month plan with get feedback from your boss. Regularly review your progress and adjust your strategies as needed. After a couple of months, you’ll feel more settled and can present a six-month plan. I always reference my supervisor’s goals and the goals of the department in my plans. It’s important to be in alignment with a larger purpose, to show how they link to the greater goals of the organization. This plan showcases your growth mindset, team attitude, and focus. Revisit it each month with your supervisor and refine it. This process will help you find satisfaction in the job and manage the relationship with your boss.

The wonderful news about getting a new job is you can start brand new, put your best foot forward and emphasize your strengths. With all that you’ve learned until now, you can have fun!

Catch up on the rest of the Job Series

  1. Laid off. Crisis or Opportunity? 
  2. Job Transition: Make Your Own Luck 
  3. Getting Your Foot in the Door
  4. Ready for the 10-minute phone interview? 
  5. Acing the Final Interview

Coming up next in the Job Series blog

All of our jobs will be impacted by AI. This is yet another great opportunity that lies ahead. How will this new job change because of AI?  Are you skilled in the latest AI tools you’ll need to stand out on this new frontier? I look forward to tackling these issues in my next post.

— PK

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