By Sara Williscroft 

Starting a new job is nerve-wracking. Before I started my new one eight days ago, I tried to prepare myself as much as possible to start adding value – fast. I read article after article on the dos and don’ts of starting a new job.

Now that I’m here and have a week under my belt, I think I have some real insight into what will help me succeed. Here are my top four tips to keep in mind when you kick-off your next employment contract.

  1. The first three months matter

Years ago, in a conversation about a new executive joining my company, a colleague of mine suggested that he would have three to six months to make his mark. If he doesn’t do it by then, then he’s not going to. In fact, I read a recent LinkedIn post about the power of confirmation bias in the workplace that also confirms this. It is critical to keep in mind that the decisions you make and the work you do is precedent-setting in the beginning.

  1. Focus on the company language

Read. I know, it may not be the most fun but it is extremely important. As communicators, we are forever tasked with writing on behalf of the company, pitching new ideas to management and handling issues as they arise. We cannot do these things successfully if we are ignorant of the way the organization speaks.

Your first course of business when you start any job should be to go through the company website and intranet, old communication plans, issues management documents, and anything else that will show you how your new company talks about their business.

  1. Capture your new ideas, but don’t push them… yet.

One of the most difficult things to do when you have a great idea is to sit back and wait. I’m not saying you keep your new, great ideas to yourself entirely. I’m an advocate of floating new ideas, writing them down so you don’t forget them, and then revisiting them at a later date. Waiting will provide you with the perspective you need to ensure they will be successful.

  1. Leave your old company in the rear view mirror.

Working in any team has its ups and downs. Don’t let the baggage you acquired from your last job, perhaps even the reason you left, through the door at your new one. In the last eight days I’ve caught myself a couple of times saying, “at my old job, we…” In the early days this is going to happen. But it is easy to dwell on how things used to be. My advice: use this new opportunity as a fresh start. You will be surprised at how good it feels to start with an open mind and low expectations.

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