10 Tips How To Make A Good Impression On A New Job

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Photo credit: Career Girl Network

Congratulations!  You just impressed the hiring manager and possibly many other individuals (including recruiters, potential team members and executives) with your resume and your interview and they decided to hire you for your dream position.  This is an exciting time and new adventure and chapter in your life.  You want to bring it and make the best impression possible. 

Imagine – you are starting from ground zero which is a GREAT THING.  You get to create your own reputation without any preconceived notions.  You get to build your brand at this new organization and show your boss and co-workers how much of a prize you are. 

Typically organizations have a grace or probation period which is used to observe your performance, help with any corrections, if necessary and gives an out to both parties to part ways without recourse in the event the opportunity does not work out.  That happens and there’s nothing wrong with it – you just don’t want to have your brand or image tarnished so if you decide to leave, leave quietly. 

But if you are first day on the job there is a prime opportunity to make the best impression there is.  Here are 10 tips how to make a good impression on a new job.  They are tried and true and what I’ve done myself to start off on the best foot possible. 

  1. Be punctual and show up to work on time each and every day.  It may even be worth your while to arrive earlier than the agreed upon time.  The quiet time in the office (assuming it is first thing in the morning) can help you get organized and ready for the thrills of the day.
  2. In the reverse, don’t be the first one to hit the door.  You are a new employee/associate.  There is a lot for you to learn.  Even professionals with a lot of experience need extra time at the start of a new job to learn the ropes and culture of their new company and position.
  3. Be enthusiastic regardless of the assignment.  There will be fun tasks and mundane ones.  Step up to the challenge with the same level enthusiasm.  There is a lot to learn with the “boring” assignments that can be used when more exciting projects come along.
  4. Find out from your boss their expectations of your role, performance and how they grade and rate job performance.  Don’t start off asking about what it takes to get a pay raise or promotion off the bat.  You must prove yourself first.
  5. Keep the socializing to minimum.  Be friendly, polite and approachable but don’t be chatty Cathy constantly seen in the hallway or someone else’s cube chatting it up about non-work related topics every time your new boss or supervisor walks by.  Even if you aren’t fully engaged with an assignment – you want to make sure you preserve your image and brand and are perceived as a go-getter.  Constantly socializing may leave a false negative impression.
  6. Take initiative.  Sometimes an organization has hired you because the workload is more than they can support with current staff.  The flip side of that is, the manager may be a tad too busy to completely orient you to everything you need to know.  It can be frustrating but take the initiative and request one-on-one meetings with your new manager (30 minutes should be sufficient) to ask questions, present your observations, request direction, etc.  Sometimes you have to grab their attention vs. waiting on them to reach out to you.  It might not happen.
  7. Study, study and study some more.  Learn the company culture, learn the players in your Department and outside of your Division, read materials on the industry so you are abreast of the latest, study the jargon and acronyms so you can understand what is being discussed in meetings and take lots and lots of notes.  Those become goldmines in the future because what sounds like jibberish during your first few weeks on the job ends up having meaning once you better understand what is going on.
  8. Surf the intranet.  Sort of like #6, read the articles the company is sharing that they find valuable.  That way you can possibly bring some value to a meeting and speak intelligently when it is come to contribute to a discussion.
  9. Set up short meetings with key players in the organization and your Department to understand what they do and how what they do impacts your deliverables and job performance.
  10. Check your work.  Nothing worse than submitting work with errors and mistakes.  Double check your work and even ask a peer to review it before you turn it in to make sure it is accurate and well thought out.

 

What do you normally like to achieve during the first thirty days on a new job?

Top 10 Conference Call Etiquette Tips

Cisco 7936 IP Conference Station Conference Call Phone

We all have participated on them and given the fact many people are working in more remote locations vs. on site, conference calls have become more relevant than ever.  We know what they are – we use them to discuss topics of business whether it be project status, issues or risk management, strategy or planning.

My friend sent me a link to a video which highlights some of the funniest things that happen on conference calls more times than not.  Trust me, I have my stories to share but I will save that for another time.

I did want to share some basic conference call etiquette tips that will help you be a better participant OR facilitator so you have a highly productive call.

Tip #1:  Start the call on time.  Nothing worse than to have a gazillion folks dialed in from overseas and locally waiting for the “leader” to start the call.  Time is money and meetings are expensive.  If you are facilitating start the call on time.

Tip #2:  Join the call on time if you are a participant.  Nothing is more annoying than to start a call on time and folks are dinging in 2 to 3 minutes after the call started.  It is highly annoying.  Did I mention it is ANNOYING?

Tip #3:  Announce yourself when you join the call.  It’s not like folks are gossiping about you but if you join the call and don’t announce yourself, and you are considered critical to the call – folks are waiting listening to each other breathe until you join.  Let them know you are there but are participating in stealth mode.  🙂

Tip #4:  If you are not speaking or doing the famous “multi-tasking” GO ON MUTE!  Nothing is worse than hearing dogs, children or toilets flushing in the background or the loud tap tapping of someone TYPING.  GO ON MUTE!

Tip #5:  Whatever you do – do NOT put your phone on hold (just leave it on mute).  When you put the phone on hold that awful music starts playing interrupting the discussion going on without you.  Folks can’t even log off and dial back in with the same number because the “hold” music will still continue playing.  Just keep the phone on mute and call the person back on a different phone.

Tip #6:  Take the phone off mute when you have something to contribute to the meeting.  Nothing worse than people constantly calling your name and you shouting into the phone only to realize the “mute” light on your phone is bright red but you didn’t notice it.  LOL.

Tip #7:  Please do your best to focus on the call and not multi-task.  Nothing worse than to call on someone and that person ask you to repeat the question because they were NOT paying attention.  It is embarrassing to the facilitator because they now realize you were ignoring them AND to the person being called upon because it becomes obvious you are distracted with something else which ultimately wastes everyone’s time.

Tip #8:  Make the call interactive – call on others.  Don’t just drone ON and ON and ON!  That is boring, doesn’t provide a lot of value and puts people to sleep.  Share your screen with a presentation so folks are engaged and something is drawing their attention.

Tip #9:  End the call on time.  If you are coming up on 2 minutes before the scheduled end time do a time check and let folks now you are 2 minutes from ending the call.  If the call MUST go over due to the complexity of the issue being discussed offer to folks before the scheduled end time that for those who can, please do stay on the call.  If you still have a quorum, continue the call.

Tip #10:  If you are the call facilitator and using your conference bridge for a call, try not to schedule a call with a different group of folks directly behind your call with no time in between.  Nothing worse than to have a call go EXACTLY to the end and folks start dinging in at the end of your previous call in preparation for the next call (because they want to be prompt and not interrupt the call you have with them by dialing in late).  The previous call may be confidential and you don’t want just everyone listening in.  Or you don’t want to waste the new callers’ time by listening to a conversation that has nothing to do with them.

I hope these top tips are useful.  In the meantime check out this funny video on the topic.  It is HILARIOUS and so TRUE!

 

 

How To Stay Motivated At Work


Let’s face it – there are times when you are working and just don’t feel like it.  It could be due to a tough assignment, reduction in force at work, redundant assignments or less than sexy assignments.  Either way – you don’t want to be there and would rather do something else.

Here are a few tips to help you keep your head in the game as being bored as work can be daunting.

Call out for the day

Sometimes what may be perceived as boredom or lack of motivation is simply BURN OUT!  If you are working extra hours or persistently on tough assignments, you probably need more of a mental and physical break than anything else.  Take a day, ease your mind, focus on something else other than work and return to work the following day refreshed and ready to go.

Look at tasks differently

If we continue to do the same thing the same way every time due to laziness or comfort, ANYTHING will get boring over time.  Change it up and figure out a new way to get something done.  If you are responsible for daily reporting, perhaps build a template to make the task easier and quicker to complete.  Document steps to complete so the task can one day get transitioned to someone else so you can move on to other things.  Either way – change it up and keep a fresh perspective.

Get enough sleep

If you are trying to work on less than 7 hours of sleep nightly you are only hurting yourself AND your productivity.  There is no way you can expect to give your best with lack of sleep.  Here are some other things to consider in regards to sleep deprivation and productivity taken from thefabricator.com:

A WebMD.com article listed the following short-term consequences associated with sleep deprivation:

  • Sleep deprivation induces significant reductions in performance and alertness. Reducing your nighttime sleep by as little as 1.5 hours for just one night could result in a reduction of daytime alertness by as much as 32 percent.
  • Decreased alertness and excessive daytime sleepiness impair your memory and your cognitive ability—your ability to think and process information.
  • You may experience a poor quality of life. For example, you might be unable to participate in certain activities that require sustained attention, like going to the movies, seeing your child in a school play, or watching a favorite TV show.
  • Excessive sleepiness also contributes to a greater than twofold higher risk of sustaining an occupational injury.

Go to training

If you have been reading this blog for a minute you know I am a BIG advocate to honing and constantly developing your skills.  If you want greater responsibility or MORE you must do MORE to earn MORE.  That means developing your skills so you can get more interesting tasks and assignments to complete.  Make sure you leverage what you learned by putting them to use as soon as you return to the office.

How do you stay motivated at work?

How To Have Fun At A Holiday Office Party

 

The holidays are one of my favorite times of the year at the office.  Co-workers seem to be nicer and management tends to close the office earlier on Fridays and before a major holiday.  No other time of the year will you have this many paid days off where no one is in the office.  Along with that are the office parties!  I love a party.  Almost any kind of party – even office parties.

They usually have a DJ, music, libations and great food!  They are also a great way to loosen up and be more casual around those people you are typically more formal with.  You get to see people in a different element and quite frankly – you can learn a lot more about a person when they are comfortable and not worried about a deadline.  Just because it is a party doesn’t mean you just let totally loose though.  I mean, partying with your personal friends is very different than partying with folks in a company-sponsored event.  If your company is paying for the event, and alcohol is being served, you definitely want to remain somewhat on your P’s and Q’s.  Don’t get nervous and don’t think it has to be stuff – remember I stated earlier, I love office parties.  But there are some rules of the road you should be aware of so you don’t make a total fool of yourself and possibly make a career limiting move (CLM).

Here are some basic rules anyone should keep in mind while attending an office party affair:

ROTR #1:  Drink light.  On a normal day you might be able to drink a 12-pack of beer with no problem but an office event is NOT the time to show off.  Nothing worse than getting sloppy drunk at an office party.  While you may not be physically in the office, you are still around management and peers so keep it light.  You do not want to leave them with a bad perception of you.  If you more to drink  – go to an event after the office party with your personal crew and live it up.

ROTR #2:  Keep your hands to yourself.  Have fun and dance if you want to.  I personally like the Chicken Dance.  But please keep it clean and keep your hands to yourself.  The dance floor, at your company’s event, is not the time to start grinding with your date or co-worker or showing everyone how to TWERK.  Stay off your knees and no crazy behavior that will get you bounced right on outta here.  Remember, you have to return to work on Monday.  I remember seeing a couple get so drunk at our office party; they ended up crawling on their knees in between other people’s legs.  They ended up no longer working for the company two months later.  Also, refrain from being overly affectionate.  A hug for a greeting is fine.   Especially for men – no overly touching females on the shoulder, around the waist, etc.  It can be ill-perceived as “sexual harassment” when it was completely innocent.  If the other person is made to feel uncomfortable with unwelcomed attention – this could go way wrong.   Simply put – keep your hands to yourself.

ROTR #3:  Show your face.  I think many people skip office parties because they perceive their co-workers and bosses as boring.   It is good to show your face at an office event because the company spent time and money to create an event for the associates to enjoy.  Try and show up and get some free credit points.  J  If you aren’t comfortable enough coming alone – many companies allow you to bring at least one guest, bring a friend.  If no one at the party talks to you at least you have one companion to converse with.  Then skip out after about 1.5 hours or so.

ROTR #4:  Leave work at the office.  If you think your co-workers are boring, nothing is more boring than talking about shop at an office party.  Sure, some mentions may come up, but the event is not meant to be an after-five office meeting.  Loosen up, enjoy yourself and leave the shop talk for Monday morning.

ROTR #5:  Start up a conversation with someone you normally don’t talk to.  What a better way to strike up a conversation with that office person you always wanted to meet or talk to.  Saunter on over and initiate a conversation.  That is the perfect setting to network and build relationships outside of your department or division.  This is a social event after all.

ROTR #6:  Keep it clean.  Keep the dirty, offensive, sexist, racist and religious jokes out of the office party – PERIOD!

ROTR #7:  Participate in the event activities.  If there is a contest or a dance off – jump in and participate.  Enjoy the moment.  Nothing like being seen as a good sport by your peers and management.  You might actually have fun.

If you follow these rules of thumb you may enjoy holiday office parties as much as I do.

Do you like to participate in company evens?  Leave us a comment telling us why or why not.

How To Expect To Win On The Job

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I attended a National Coalition of 100 Black Women Conference back in 2010 and listened to a fascinating speaker and member of my sorority Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Carla Harris, who had a lot to say and I listened.  She wrote a book “Expect To Win” and it discussed what it takes to make a name for yourself on the job and how to rise up through the ranks regardless of gender or ethnicity.

There was a very poignant point she made and I want to share it with you all here.  Regardless where you work  – the majority of the decisions made about you are made when you are NOT even in the room.  WOW!  That is so on point.  While you are busy working on your next deliverable management is constantly discussing your destiny with the company.  Right, wrong or indifferent it is the TRUTH!

With that said, Carla (look at me calling her by her first name as if we were close buds) goes on to discuss 4 key individuals you need to have in your professional life that will help you WIN.

  1.  The Adviser – this person does NOT need to work at the same company as you do and they can see your good, your bad and the ugly.  They help direct you to resources along your professional career.  They can give you general advice but it may not necessarily be in context.
  2. The Mentor – this person does NOT need to work at the same company but they need to have a good grasp of the context in which you operate.  They do see your good, your bad and the ugly and assist you with polishing up your act so your work is not discounted and you are continuously viewed as a valuable contributor.
  3. The Sponsor – this is the person you MUST have in your professional career who can move mountains for you. You only want them to see the GOOD and FANTASTIC side of you.  They need to know all of the wonderful and amazing things you have done on the job.  They need to be an emphatic advocate for you and a big influencer.  They do not need to be your direct boss or supervisor but many times they are.  They are the ones sitting at the table fighting for a decision to promote you (Oh you thought bosses make those decisions on their own without any input from THEIR boss – WRONG!), advocating for your pay raise and bonus over someone else (typically there is a limited pool of funds in the budget that has to be spread across the employee population) or provide rationale for why you deserve top rank on the job.  They are important to have and you must procure these types of relationships at all times.  If you don’t have a sponsor – GET ONE!  Also remember, you can have more than one.  The more the merrier – seriously.

There you have it.  Now you see why she made such an impression on me?  Her background and story is truly inspiring and to this day I remember her speech.  Want to win on the job – these key people will help you achieve just that.

You can purchase your own copy of the book and get her full perspective of how to win in the workplace.  It goes much further than the key individuals you need to have in your professional corner.  I recommend this book to all of the professionals I know.

Click the book image to purchase.