How to Set Yourself up for Success at Your New Job

So you’ve decided to quit your job and you’ve found a new job. Or maybe this is your first job. Either way, congratulations! This blog post is about how you can set yourself up for success for the first day at your new job.

Before the first day at your new job, set expectations for yourself.

This may seem like extra work. But when things get tough at your new role (and they will), you’ll be glad you did.

Think back to school. Remember those rubrics you received when a project was assigned to you? The rubric explained how and what makes a project an A+. Setting expectations for yourself is like creating a rubric for your new role.

Before you start, you know what your dream job looks like and what it will take for you to leave the position or company. When things don’t go as planned, you’ll be able to go back to the rubric and compare your current situation to what your dream job looks like.

I used the following outline before I start a new job. And when things go from everything I want in a job to a nightmare, I am able to look back at my list of expectations and realize that things aren’t as bad as I thought.

Set yourself up for success at your new job by writing down your expectations. Here’s how:

How to Set Yourself up for Success at Your New Job
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1. Write down all of the reasons you left your old job

If this is your first job, feel free to skip to number 3! But if this isn’t your first job, things are going to get intense because here comes a vent sesh. Write down everything you hated about your last role/company. Feel free to let it all out.

2. Revisit everything in #1 & write down solutions to prevent those things from happening in the future

We’re trying to set you up for success at your new job, remember? So it’s important to know what needs to be done to get you back on the right track when things go astray.

3. Write down all of the reasons you took your new job

Now it’s time to get excited. Write down everything you’re looking forward to in your new job.

This includes things like the reputation of the company, maybe your new role is the perfect stepping stone in your career path, or you have an opportunity to add value to a team at the new company.

For example, I went from working at a company where my role was not celebrated and felt insignificant to working at a company where my role was a core focus of the marketing department.

Perhaps an attractive perk of the new company is the benefits you need to support your family (healthcare or flexible working hours). Whatever it is, write it all down. It’s okay to word vomit here.

4. Explain why all of the reasons you just listed are important to you

This is important because when things get tough, it’s easy to go down the list of reasons you took the role and cross things off while thinking something like, “I took this job because the culture sounded great and it’s not.” But if you’ve written down that the culture is great because of x, y, and z, you can ask yourself if x, y, and z are still true.

5. Write down everything you want to learn from your new job

This can be anything from hard skills like learning how to use a software or getting certified in something related to your field to learning soft skills like leadership or communication.

Pro tip: Make this a running list.
3 months after I started a position, I realized that the environment I was in had a lot of opportunities to practice having difficult conversations. I added this to my list so that when someone said or did something I disagreed with, I was able to adjust my mindset from being upset to being a learner. I could practice pulling aside that person and communicating with them.

Now, if things take a turn and you start debating whether the new job or company is still right for you, you have a checklist to look back on (in addition to the four questions to ask yourself before you leave a job).

And you can ask yourself: Have I learned any of these things? Can I still learn anything on this list? Is there anything on the list of why I took this job offer still true? Are these true things worth staying for?

[BONUS] How to Set Yourself up for Success at Your New Job

Join an online community to get advice from others:

  • My all-time favorite — Girlboss
  • Search LinkedIn for like-minded groups. This could be industry-specific, demographic-specific, interest-specific, etc.
  • Don’t forget to also search Facebook for these like-minded groups!

Thanks so much for reading this blog post! I hope it’s sparked some self-reflection in you. If you have any questions feel free to email me using the contact form. Or, if you have advice for others starting a new job, please comment below so we can pass on the knowledge.

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