So you aced the interview, got the offer of a lifetime, and are about to start the job of your dreams. Congratulations!
There is nothing quite as simultaneously exciting and terrifying as starting a new job. There’s just so much new to take in: new office, new colleagues, new desk, new rules. It’s as fresh of a start as it comes.
But it’s not without pressure, is it?
Especially if this is a dream job or a place you plan to stay for the long haul, building a good reputation among your superiors and colleagues is a must. You know what you bring to the table—with your fabulous ideas, outstanding talents, and brilliant input—but in the modern world, you have to earn your way to the table. You have to start building the foundation of a good reputation before all of your amazingness will be appreciated fully. Laying the groundwork for workplace trust is essential to earning that coveted reputation, and the career growth benefits that come with it.
With these 5 tips, you’ll be well on your way to the reputation you deserve.
1. Whistle while you work.
Ok. Not really. But maybe those dwarves were onto something. Let’s face it, mining doesn’t seem like a ton of fun, but they sure seemed pretty happy about it, right? Especially if you are early in your career, you may have to start with some grunt work. I know, I know! You’ve earned your college degree. You worked hard. Shouldn’t you be doing more interesting things than analyzing spreadsheets or working on low-level marketing campaigns? Not necessarily. Consider this new role a whole new ball game. Do the grunt work, and please listen to me, do it without grumbling. I promise those with a positive attitude (no matter what the task) go further faster than those that complain and refuse work they see as “beneath” their abilities. Nothing is worse than the reputation of “entitlement,” believe me.
2. Know your strengths.
As you begin to flesh out the role and learn what it entails, you’ll most likely notice a pattern of your strengths as they relate to the role. Take note of these. They will most likely shape your career path if you utilize them. A previous CEO I worked with was especially fond of “well-lopsided” people. Well-rounded is okay, but if you are good at everything, then you’re most likely not great at anything. A team of well-lopsided people, though, that team is strong at every link. Learn your strengths, differentiate yourself (while always following tip #1 and doing all the work, not just the work you feel suits you best), and you’re bound to be noticed and groomed for the talent you bring to the table.
3. Do not be a “yes” woman.
The biggest lesson I have learned through my years in the workforce is the lesson of using my voice. Early on in my career, I suffered from tremendous self-doubt and would often stay quiet in meetings. I believed that saying nothing or only speaking up to agree with my superiors was safer than sticking my neck out. And if I did interject, I often qualified my statement with words that ultimately diminished my thoughts. All of this came crashing down on me after a particularly intense final round interview conversation. I had very strong feelings about a particular candidate, that were in direct opposition to those of my executives, who loved her. I kept quiet, thinking that the executives around the table must know more than I did. Only to find later that I was right, she was a disastrous hire, and her termination almost resulted in a lawsuit for our company. I vowed then and there to never keep quiet again, and I recognized that I had a valuable voice. After that day I stood with confidence against the entire executive board more than once, stating clearly and with conviction, my opinion on a candidate, often swaying them to either offer or decline. Keep in mind, I always debated with respect, always had valid and documented reasons, and always approached the conversation with humility coupled with confidence. Over time I earned the reputation of being a strong interviewer, and my input was sought out by multiple executives in the company on tricky hires. Once I learned my voice, I began to get noticed for my strength.
4. Act like a lady.
Ok, ok. I know this sounds terribly sexist and backward, but hear me out. Especially in the modern workplace, there is a very big emphasis on the “work hard, play hard” culture, and in younger companies, the emphasis is sadly often skewed towards the play. This is all well and good, to an extent. But to protect your reputation, you must know where to draw the line. Be a lady and maintain your dignity at workplace events so that you can maintain respect in the office. Trust me on this one. You don’t want your workplace reputation to suffer because you fell too hard into the “play” culture.
5. Be kind to everyone.
Kindness is such an underrated attribute, especially in a dog-eat-dog world. But it’s so important. Being kind makes you stand out, no matter where you are. It may seem that aggressive and cutthroat behavior is the way to get ahead, and you will no doubt see people behave this way, but it’s not. From the janitor to assistants, to those below or above you, kindness matters. Showing that you care is not showing vulnerability. It’s showing humanity. And that goes a long way in the office as well as in life.
Looking for more on success in the workplace? Check out:
The 6 Qualities That Make a Female Leader Strong
Is Your Social Media Promoting You to Potential Employers?
6 Things You Should Do to Protect and Advance Your Career
How to Live Out of Your Strengths, Not Weaknesses
6 Insider Tips to Help You Ace the Interview and Get the Offer.
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You’ll love this episode from This Grit and Grace Life Podcast: To the Working Woman: A How-To Guide for the Workplace – 023!