The essential element when beginning every new role is excellent preparation. If you are starting an internship, a new job or a promotion within the organization, preparation is key.
Terrific preparation for a new position does two things:
First: You walk into the assignment with more confidence. You feel more confident and excited when you are prepared and knowledgeable. You learn at a faster pace and you walk with a bit of a swagger. You are NOT cocky, but you are confident.
Second: Thorough preparation lets you stand out early with the organization while they form an early impression about you.
Here are four steps to becoming ultra-prepared:
1. Have a talk with your soon-to-be-manager prior to showing up. You want to ascertain what exactly it takes to be an over-achiever. This talk may flow naturally or you may have to pull this advice out of the conversation. You want to figure out how you and your new boss will be sitting in their office in six months talking about your early ramping and say…Wow.
A way to finesse this conversation is to ask open-ended questions. Here are some examples:
Of those who have been the most successful in my role, what did they do to stand out?
Of those who have had my role and disappointed you or failed, what did they do wrong?
This will pull significant guidance out of your soon-to-be-boss.
2. Let the Internet assist you in your due-diligence and preparation by setting Google alerts. Google alerts will send valuable information to your inbox. Set alerts for:
First: The company/organization
Second: The company’s top 3 competitors
Third: A key industry analyst who watches the market that your new company plays in
Finally: A key financial analyst who watches and often predicts the future value of the company (all brokerage firms have this for publicly held companies)
3. Search LinkedIn for alums or other contacts that may have worked for the company you are joining, or a competitor, or an adjacent company in the industry. They will know what it takes to be successful there.
4. Finally: SHUT UP. The last thing you want to say is, “You should have seen how hard I prepped for this job….” A better strategy is to come across as a quick learner and very on the ball.
These steps apply to both formal jobs and internships. Remember that internships are summer-long job interviews. Preparation matters.
If you follow this advice, you will be more prepared than 98% of the people who have joined before you. So what does that do? It allows you to approach your new assignment with a huge advantage.
Being terrifically prepared positions yourself as a high potential over-achiever. Remember what your Mother told you about first impressions…
Fantastic preparation also lays a foundation where you can learn at a more rapid clip. When you go through ‘on-boarding’ or new hire training, you grasp the material faster than someone who did not fully prepare.
Ultimately, thorough preparation gives you more confidence. Confidence is essential when playing your ‘A-game.’
Good luck, now get moving,
Alan J. McMillan, Founder, LearnEarnRetire, LLC