So, You Landed the Job? Here's What to Do in the First Three Months to Make Sure You Keep It.
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So, You Landed the Job? Here's What to Do in the First Three Months to Make Sure You Keep It.

by Margo McCall
Photos Haley George | July 20, 2015

THE FIRST 90 DAYS AT A NEW JOB CAN MAKE OR BREAK YOU—HERE’S HOW TO HIT THE GROUND RUNNING.

You’ve sent out resumes, been through countless interviews, and have now landed the perfect job. Sure—take time out for high fives, but be aware that your journey is just beginning. You still have to prove you're the right woman for the job. {Click to Tweet} And, in most cases, you only have three months to do it.

Beginning a new job is a chance to start fresh. Everybody loves a bouncy new puppy, but make sure you're not one of those problem pooches who's returned to the pound for nipping her owner's hand or destroying the couch.

Here’s a few ways to do that:

MANAGE UP

Your manager can become your biggest ally—or your biggest nightmare. Hopefully you’ve established some initial rapport during the interview process and understand her goals for the position. Be clear on what your boss wants you to nail in the first 90 days. Keep communication channels open. Find out how she likes to communicate. Does she like quick emails or phone calls or face-to-face meetings?

Be clear on what your boss wants you to nail in the first 90 days. Keep communication channels open. Find out how she likes to communicate.

When you see an email or call from her, answer it immediately—if not sooner. Convey that you're there to support her and be responsive to her needs. Make the job goals your mantra. {Click to Tweet} Write these down if you need to. Make a list on your whiteboard or stick a post-it to your computer screen so you won’t forget. And when the priorities change, don’t forget to update the list. 

READ UP

You’ve undoubtedly researched the company during the hiring process. Take some time before your start date to drill down even further. Get to know the website inside and out. Read manager bios. Follow the company on social media. You’ll want to show up on your first day well-informed about the company and its leaders, and how you can contribute.

Related: Don't Have a Job By Graduation? Here's What You Should Do.

BUDDY UP

Many employers assign buddies to help onboard new employees. You’ll certainly have questions, like which printer do I use—or quick, where's the bathroom? If you don’t have an official buddy, find a friendly face—preferably one who knows the organization inside out—to help you navigate the new terrain and avoid potential landmines.

SHOW UP

If 90 percent of the job is showing up, make sure to show up on time. Make note of when your boss and co-workers arrive and get there a few minutes earlier. Make it a point to stay late to finish up high-priority projects. Show you’re not a clock-watcher. Nothing generates resentment faster than a co-worker waltzing in after 9am, taking a long lunch, and leaving before five, while everyone else slaves away.

LISTEN UP

During your first three months on the job, do more listening than talking. You’re in information-gathering mode, so it's more important to soak up your new company’s culture, priorities, and internal dynamics than it is to share your great new idea or past accomplishments. There will be plenty of time for that later—once you make it through the first 90 days.

During your first three months on the job, do more listening than talking. You’re in information-gathering mode, so it's more important to soak up your new company’s culture, priorities, and internal dynamics than it is to share your great new idea or past accomplishments.

SOCIALIZE

Your default mode may be head-to-the-grindstone, but this is no time to eat lunch alone at your desk. Take advantage of every social opportunity you can. Attend birthday celebrations, sign bereavement cards, and strike up conversations in the lunchroom or even the ladies room. Ask co-workers to lunch, both within and outside of your department. 

It's the people who make the workplace and relationships count. You never know when you’ll need a favor, and be sure to demonstrate to your new friends that you’re ready to return the favor, too. 

AVOID CLIQUES

If you think you left high school cliques behind, think again. Every workplace has its in-groups. But instead of jocks, stoners, and brainiacs, they might be sales people, admins, managers, or creative types. 

Related: Dealing With the Playground Mentality at Work

In your first three months, be hyper-conscious about who hangs out with who. You’ll likely find friends within your own department, but don’t be afraid to stray outside your department boundary. 

Try not to join any cliques. At this crucial stage, you want to be friends with everybody. 

STAY POSITIVE

Every workplace has malcontents. Maybe they’ve been passed over for a promotion or toiled without appreciation for years. They may deserve sympathy. But right now, stay as far away from the grumblers as possible. 

At this point, you’re excited about your new job. Don’t let the Debbie Downers of the workplace pop your bubble. 

MAKE FRIENDS WITH IT

We can’t do our jobs without working machines. And, as we all know, computers can be temperamental. Sure, if you submit a work ticket, you’ll eventually get your problem fixed. But if you have a good friend in IT, you might lose less work time. 

Don’t be one of those employees who throws a fit every time they encounter a technical glitch. Instead, turn the glitches into learning opportunities. You’ll not only have someone to turn to the next time your computer crashes, but you might also get higher on the list for the latest company iPhone or Galaxy.  

DO SOMETHING AMAZING

Although you’ll be expending energy getting acclimated and establishing the relationships you’ll need to excel, do at least one or two amazing things in your first three months to cement your reputation at the company—preferably things high on your boss’s list, and top priorities for your boss’s boss, too. 

These will be things you'll be remembered for in those first three months—at least until your next amazing accomplishment.

Related: How to Maximize Your Internship