5 Effective Ways to Prepare for Your New Job

You just landed your dream job after months of vying for it. It’s a new position, it may even be in a new industry, and you can’t wait to get started. But you have three weeks until you actually begin. How do you spend that time? Once they’ve signed their offer letters, most people coast until their start dates. They don’t think about preparing for their new roles. However, preparedness sets you apart from other newcomers to the organization and creates a foundation for rapid success. You can’t approach your first day the same way you approached each day at your previous job. You have to prove yourself. The more work you do beforehand, the better positioned you’ll be to make a good impression and excel early on. Use the following strategies to launch this chapter the right way:

1. Familiarize Yourself with the Industry

If you’re transitioning to a new industry—from biotech to hardware, for example—read industry analyst reports so you have context for your work. You likely researched the company during your job search and interview phase, but it helps to refresh yourself on its top competitors and recent initiatives. Rather than nodding in agreement and expecting others to teach you, you’ll be able to offer thoughtful insights from Day One.

2. Revise Your Personal Schedule

Check your calendar for appointments or trips that will conflict with your work hours, and reschedule all non-essential personal commitments. A Friday off here or a dentist’s appointment there wouldn’t have been a problem at your old company, where you proved yourself during the course of five years. But face time is crucial during the onboarding period at your new gig. You can’t be dashing off to meet your contractor or skipping out for a drive up the coast, and still make a great impression. Establish yourself as a reliable, competent team member before you start taking personal time.

3. Get to Know Your Coworkers

Talk to as many people as possible once you’re in the job. Invite colleagues to lunch and ask them about themselves and the company. What challenges does the organization face? What’s going well in the business? Learn what pitfalls to avoid and what ways are the most effective to suggest changes. You’ll find no better teachers than veterans who have already had success in these areas.

4. Come in Early and Stay Late

Arriving early and leaving late indicates that you’re committed to the job, and the practice allows you to maximize productivity during peak hours. Use mornings and evenings to catch up on tasks you didn’t get to during the bulk of the day and to learn how to use different systems. This will make you more efficient and valuable when things get busy. Your peak hours should be spent focused on achieving deliverables and collaborating with teammates to on priority projects.

5. Stay in Touch with Former Colleagues

Always maintain your contacts from previous jobs. Focus on your new position during the first month, but feel free to reach out to old coworkers after that. You may eventually recruit them to the new company, because good people want to work with other good people. If you’re in a management position, you’ll need to hire team members at some point. That becomes much easier when you can draw from a talent pool you already know. You’re not just starting a new job. You’re entering a new phase in your career. Make the most of it by doing your homework, going in with a plan, and nurturing connections with colleagues new and old.

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