In Part one, we discussed preparing for your first day and making a good impression in the workplace.
When you start a new job, it’s important to allow yourself time to absorb and settle in (‘consuming value’). You should also plan how you can now contribute to the success of the organisation (‘creating value’) and generate new opportunities for yourself.
Build your internal network
By getting to know colleagues in other teams or divisions you will learn more about how the company operates and be well positioned for any new opportunities that arise. Volunteer for cross-team projects or join internal networking groups and find ways to support them (just like being in a student society!).
Be generous in sharing expertise with your team eg. if you have a particular area of technical expertise – you’ll soon become known as the ‘go to’ person for your particular subject. Ask your manager and peers if there’s anyone in the organisation you should meet and how best to meet them.
You could also look for opportunities to get involved in CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities eg. charity fundraising or volunteering in the local community; this is a great way to meet colleagues from across the business and develop new competencies such a project management or presentation skills.
Have you identified a mentor?
If you haven’t been assigned a mentor, enquire if your organisation offers a mentoring scheme.
If not, you may need to proactively request and seek out a suitable person. It doesn’t have to be someone very senior, even someone with just a couple of years more experience will be able to offer valuable counsel and help you successfully navigate the workplace.
Think about who you’ve met so far – who can you learn from? Who will help you develop new ideas and explore solutions to problems you are facing? Who will provide honest feedback and challenge you?
Most mentors are flattered to be asked. Make sure you don’t ask too much of their time and stipulate how often you would like to meet eg. 1-hour each month over coffee or lunch. Don’t expect your mentor to lead these sessions; come prepared.
Asking for feedback
Feedback can come in many forms and most organisations typically offer bi-annual or annual reviews. You may also receive feedback at the end of your probation period.
Rather than waiting for feedback, which can come months after you’ve been involved in a particular project, ask your manager for informal advice or feedback as part of your induction period. This will show your manager you are eager to learn and make adjustments for future projects.
Having a regular conversation with your boss about your personal development will ensure you are ‘on-track’ with their expectations and also allow you to raise any areas of concern or discuss development opportunities.
Remember, part of your manager’s job description is to support you. Your manager can’t help you unless they know what is going on. Whether you are struggling with an area of work or your well-being at work, want help developing new skills of competencies, or want guidance on new opportunities it’s best to raise these early with your manager.
Future-proof your skills
By building your internal network you’ll quickly learn what areas the organisation is looking to grow and the required skillsets. Keeping up to date with industry news is another way to understand what expertise will be needed in your sector in the future.
Think about your current skillset and any areas you may wish to develop now or in the next 6-12 months. Ask your manager about internal and external training and development opportunities.
Even if there are no formal training opportunities available, you can gain valuable experience through work shadowing, secondments or volunteering for short term projects or CSR initiatives. Alternatively you might find free courses online that you can sign-up for.
Reflect on all your experiences, ask for feedback and learn from every opportunity. Make sure you keep in touch with contacts you make across the organisation so they keep you in mind for future opportunities.
Good luck in your new job and don’t forget you can use LSE Careers for up to five years after you graduate.