The First 90 Days: Tips for Surviving & Thriving at the New Job

The first 90-days of any job is extremely important to your professional and personal development within the company. It is the time where you have the potential to impress or not. There are really two phases to a successful 90-day plan at any company:

  1. Self-Promotion/Personal Branding: The first step to building a successful career at your new job is first to understand yourself and the culture of the business.
  2. Internal Networking: You don’t become successful without knowing a lot of people and understanding their needs.

If you want to be stuck in the same position for your entire career, never helping the brand or rising above your own limitations, then stop reading now. You are wasting your time.

Step 1: Self-Promotion

The truth is, you can’t count on people going out of their way to interact with you out-of-the-blue. It is not human nature. You will have the occasional lunch or coffee but you must let people know who you are and what you do. Yes, that means doing more than sending a random email. That is where self-promotion comes into the mix.

Self-promotion may sound terrible, but it’s not about bragging or boasting. It’s not about pretending to be something bigger than you are. It’s just letting people know who you are and what you do. It’s perfectly acceptable to promote yourself without looking like an arrogant jerk. Make no mistake — people are going to be actively promoting themselves internally. If you don’t, you will miss out on good opportunities within the organization to have fun and succeed! Frankly, others will beat you to the punch.

To promote yourself effectively, however, you first need to build an understanding of your personal brand. Branding yourself means that you create the right kind of emotional response you want people to have when they hear your name, see you online, or meet you in person.

Steps to Build Your Personal Brand

  1. Decide What You Want to Be Known For: What qualities do you want people to associate with you? What is the first thing you want to have pop in your head when colleagues hear your name?
  2. List the Qualities: Write down everything you can think of in five minutes, even if you think you’re repeating yourself. Don’t edit yourself, and don’t leave anything off. This is not a time to be humble or to think, “No one will think of me that way.” Come up with every adjective and noun you can think of, no matter how far out or weird it may seem. It may just spur another idea that actually does fit.
  3. Print it Out: Take your list of qualities and have it visible all the time. I know that sounds very “Tony Robbins-ish,” but it actually works.
  4. Be Consistent: Consistency is extremely important when you are networking and building your brand within the company. A personal brand isn’t created overnight. It is an amalgamation of meetings, social media, hallway conversation, and project completion.

At the end of day, it’s about capturing attention by providing value. If you can do that, you will be successful within the organization. However, personal branding and promotion is only half of the equation. You also need to share that personal brand with other people, and that is where networking comes into the mix.

Step 2: Internal Networking

Once you understand your story and brand, your next step is to tell as many people who are actually interested as you can. The first two months of your employment should be focused on making important connections that will further the company culture and your professional development. It can be as simple as introducing yourself to the leadership team, taking a colleague to lunch, or volunteering for a project.

Steps to Successful Internal Networking

  1. List It Out: Create a list of the 5-10 people you would like to meet in the first quarter of your employment at your new job. Seek them out for meetings, lunches, and conversation. Your goal is to list three things you learned during each meeting and store them on your computer or file folder. Remember them for future conversations.
  2. Cross-Company Conversation: Meet with leadership from all sides of the company. Be sure to meet at least two leaders from each division at the company. Do you work at a smaller company? Just take one to lunch! Make it a point to meet with them quarterly to stay in tune with the entire organization.
  3. LinkedIn Up: Use LinkedIn as a networking tool! Use the Company feature to find people and connect. Be sure to express why you are adding the person and explain that you are new to the organization.
  4. Twitter Lists: Create a list on Twitter and collect as many co-workers as possible within that list. Check the list once a day. Retweet, respond, and share content from your fellow employees.
  5. Allow Them to Tell Their Story: Ask your colleagues to tell their story first. If you walk away from a meeting where you just asked questions and listened you can rest assured you did it right. Learn and listen.
  6. Talk About Other People: Spend more time talking about other people, events, and ideas than talking about yourself. If you talk about other people and promote their victories and their ideas, you become an influencer. You will be seen as someone who is not only helpful, but also a valuable resource. That helps your brand more than if you just talk about yourself over and over. Then, you just come across as boring.
  7. Take Action. Network and self-promote by taking action and doing things unexpected. No good story started with, “I was sitting in my cubicle staring at Outlook.” Create projects and do them. Be active.

Ultimately, it is your responsibility to make your first 90 days at a new job successful. It is about telling the story of YOU and how you fit into the overall landscape of the company. The more people you meet and engage with, the better.

Image by: Andrew Hurley

VP of Marketing

Kyle Lacy is VP of Marketing for OpenView. His team is responsible for building and leading marketing strategy around all things OpenView. Before joining OpenView, Kyle led the global content marketing team for ExactTarget (acquired by Salesforce for $2.7B) and the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. His team managed the creation of content in six countries worth over $15M in demand generation each quarter. He co-founded a marketing agency in 2006 where we wrote three books including Twitter Marketing for Dummies, Branding Yourself, and Social CRM for Dummies.
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