10 Tricks to Starting Your New Job On the Right Foot

A transition plan for beginning your new gig.

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Starting a new job can be stressful. You don't know many people and you aren't quite sure what to expect. In many cases, there won't be a mentor or guide assigned to help you acclimate to your new environment. So whom should you turn to? What can you do to ensure success? You may think that digging in and doing your job really will be enough, but it is going to take more than that.

Before you begin a new job, take the initiative and outline your own transition plan for assimilating into your new role. Develop lists of questions you need answered to be successful in your new role. Ask yourself about the who, what, where, when, and why of the job. How will you get answers to the questions you cannot yet answer? Here are 10 ways to ensure that you start your new job on the right foot.

1. Ask your new manager for a meeting. During this meeting ask about your manager's expectations of you and the job, timelines, measurements for success, key players you should meet in the organization, and what pitfalls to avoid.

2. Observe co-workers. Take note of who knows whom, what are they saying in the break room, and how they behave in front of managers and leaders.

3. Pick your friends wisely. Carefully select the co-workers with whom you wish to affiliate. Begin building trusting relationships, but always be very aware of the information you're sharing and the impression you're making.

4. Figure out who you want to be. Starting a new job gives you the opportunity to wipe the slate clean of any baggage and past issues. Think about how you want to be perceived by your new manager, co-workers, and support staff. What is the "brand" you want to bring into this new organization?

5. Carve out time to manage your career. It is very easy to become so immersed in your new job that you forget to keep your eye on what else is going on outside your new company. Make time to monitor the industry and continually develop new skills. While you'll be expected to give 100 percent to your new job, don't ever stop looking for your next great opportunity.

6. Be open to new ways of doing things. Every organization has its own systems and processes. Take time to learn them and understand the logic behind why they do things the way they do. You may have an opportunity in the future to make suggestions for improvement, but don't speak out too quickly. You don't want to be seen as a know-it-all.

7. Keep a running list of accomplishments. Document your successes and lessons learned. You most likely will need these for your performance review. At the very least, you will need them to add to your LinkedIn profile and resume as you continuously update them. Do you remember how hard it was to recall past accomplishments for your job search?

8. Create time in your new schedule to continue to network. Remember to keep in touch with all the people you've met during your job search. You will need them again. Also plan to meet people associated with your new role inside and outside your new company. Now might also be a great time to join a professional association to increase your knowledge, skills, and network.

9. Inform recruiters of your new status. Update the recruiters you have built relationships with, but ask them not to close your file. Stay active with them. You may be able to help them and they may come across a great opportunity you should know about.

10. Share your success story with your network. Be sure to notify all the helpful people in your network of your new job.

Fellow job seekers want to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Your friends want to hear the good news and celebrate with you. Give back by telling your story.

What are the lessons learned from your last job that you want to make sure you don't happen again? Put your plan in place before you start your new job and make the most of your new opportunity.

Hannah Morgan is a speaker and author providing no-nonsense career advice; she guides job seekers and helps them navigate today's treacherous job search terrain. Hannah shares information about the latest trends, such as reputation management, social networking strategies, and other effective search techniques on her blog, Career Sherpa.

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