The First 100 Days in a New Job

new jobEx-Citigroup executive Steven Freiberg was recently tapped to become the new CEO of E-Trade, a company that experienced severe losses due to risky mortgage investments during the credit crisis and recession. His performance is sure to be followed closely by people close to the industry and the media during his first 100 days in his new job to see if he can create change within the organization.

Even if your new job is not CEO of a large, well-known company, your performance will also be watched more closely during your first 100 days on the job. If you have recently accepted a new position or hope to land a new position soon, here are some tips for managing those first critical 100 days.

-- Compare your salary to a CEO's.

  1. Study up. You prepared for your interviews by researching the company and understanding their strengths and challenges. Now that you are in the job, use the first 100 days to dig deeper into the company's mission, brand proposition, and reputation in the market. Read everything you can get your hands on that references the company.

  2. Crack the company code. When you begin a job at a new company, it can sometimes feel like you've just moved to a foreign country. Many companies have their own acronyms, lingo, inside jokes, etc. Try to buddy up with someone who can act as a translator to get you up to speed quickly.

  3. Showcase your strengths. You talked about your strengths during the interview process and leveraged past stories of success to prove your value-add. Take charge of a project you know you can deliver on and then make sure that you do.

  4. Document your accomplishments. It's never too early to start documenting job successes. One year from now, when it is time for your performance review, you want to be able to cite your accomplishments throughout the year, including those achieved within those first critical 100 days.

  5. Break bread with colleagues. A lot of critical information about the company will not be found in annual reports or monthly newsletters. In order to understand the unofficial rules, company politics, and corporate culture, you need to have ongoing conversations with both management and people in the trenches.

  6. Find a mentor. Connect with someone who is more senior than you and has significantly longer company tenure than you. A mentor can help you manage your career by putting you in front of the right people and exposing you to the right resources.

  7. Dress the part. Don't put away your interview suit just yet. Observe the dress code around you; but remember, you may still be scrutinized more closely than your colleagues. Play it safe and always choose an appropriate, but possibly more conservative, style.
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