The First 4 Steps to a Great Job Start

Some new employees show up and make a terrific first impression and often, that has powerful downstream implications. They create a kind of ‘Halo Effect’ that leads to a positive assumption that they will be great:

“What a great hire!”

“Put her on the ___ (high visibility project with the best senior people)”

“She’s going places…”

Initially, they get the benefit of the doubt as they emerge

And often they get better assignments

So how do you self-position and create the Halo Effect in order to give you a strong initial advantage? Listen up.

The essential element when beginning every new job 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 conviction. 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 overachiever. 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 achievements and saying “Wow.”

A way to begin 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.

  1.   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 the company/organization, the company’s top three competitors, and a key industry analyst who watches the market your new company plays in. Also, set alerts for a key financial analysts who watch and predict the future value of the company (all brokerage firms have this for publicly held companies)
  2.  Search LinkedIn for alums or other contacts who may have worked for the company you are joining, a competitor, or an adjacent company in the industry. They will know what it takes to be successful there.
  3.  Finally: BE QUIET. The last thing you want to say is, “You should have seen how hard I prepared for this job….” A better strategy is to come across as a quick learner and be very on the ball.

These steps apply to both formal jobs and internships. Remember internships are summer-long job interviews so preparation matters.

If you follow this advice, you will be more prepared than 98 percent 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 you 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 rate. When you go through onboarding 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!


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