Landing the job you’ve had your eye on for what seems like forever is an accomplishment to be proud of, but it can also be intimidating. After all, now you have to start the process of proving yourself not only to your new boss, but also to your new coworkers.
Here’s how you can stand out and make a name for yourself in your new career.
Dress the Part
Of course, “the part” varies greatly depending on your industry, but you want to look professional, composed, and like you belong in the industry.
If you work in a law firm, you should wear business attire that includes dresses or skirts, suits, or other professional clothing. If you work for a startup tech company, you may be able to get away with nice jeans and a sweater.
Stick to the guidelines in the employee manual and take a cue from what others are wearing, but don’t forget to add some of your own style. Accessories are great for this.
Don’t forget that your appearance is more than just clothing. You should be well-groomed as well. Your hair should be combed and clean, including your beard and mustache, if you have them. If company policy prohibits tattoos or facial piercings, be sure to cover them up accordingly. If nothing else, don’t forget to put on your deodorant!
Be Savvy at Social Media
Ideally, you’ll have done this before you ever starting searching for a job, but if you haven’t, do it now.
Go through all of your social media accounts and remove or privatize any statuses, pictures, or memes that come across as unprofessional. If you intend to add new friends from work on your social media accounts, consider creating filters so they can’t see your more controversial posts, or create a separate account altogether to use for professional contacts.
You should also use social media to follow industry experts, engaging with them when possible.
Read, Read, Read
Don’t just assume you don’t need to keep up with new information now that you’ve proven yourself enough to land the job. Read magazines, books, blogs, online professional journals, and anything else you can find that teaches you about trends, technology, new techniques, and everything else in your field. Ensure you don’t miss anything by setting up an RSS reader account or creating Google Alerts.
Don’t keep your head down just because you’re the new kid on the block. Walk into your job with your shoulders back and your head held high each day. Look people in the eye, smile, and greet them.
Get to know your coworkers and remember information they divulge about their families or interests. It shows you know you belong at the company, want to make friends and network, and don’t intend to go anywhere.
Show Some Initiative
Don’t be afraid to speak up. When you start at a new company, it may feel like you should simply wait for directions and follow them, but if you ever want to advance, you need to show you know how to take the lead as well. Share your ideas in meetings, help others when they need it, and provide solutions to any company problems you come across.
Disheveled employees are only endearing in the movies. Get yourself together. Create a routine for your work and stick to it.
Check email as soon as you get into the office and prioritize your day based on the importance of tasks. Keep a calendar of your duties and meetings—consider both a digital and paper version so you always have one available—and update it religiously.
Take Care of Yourself
You can’t be a good employee if you aren’t healthy. Get into a routine outside of work. Quit watching “just one more episode” and go to bed at a reasonable hour to avoid oversleeping the next day.
Eat breakfast. Take time for lunch. Have a light dinner—fast food doesn’t count as taking care of yourself, either. Be sure to drink your water and keep hydrated. By taking care of your body, you have more energy and better brain function, which means you’ll be a more productive and valued member of the team at work.
Know When to Stop Working
You may have to take work home from time to time, but don’t make a habit out of it. Like the successful CEO of Speedy Group Holdings Corporation, Don Gayhardt, you have to balance work with your personal life. Spend time with your family, see your friends, and pursue your personal interests and hobbies on a regular basis.
When you live a balanced life, you will feel happier and more fulfilled, and that will shine through in your professional work.
Above all, be yourself. Think about your initial interviews for the position. Take what the interviewer seemed to like about your work ethic and personality and highlight it in your everyday professional life.
Even if you don’t intend to stay with the company forever, making a name for yourself now will make it easier to get where you want to be in the future.