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How to get in the right mindset before you start your new job

How to get in the right mindset before you start your new job


You’ve done it. You’ve made one of the biggest decisions in life – deciding to leave your job to pursue new challenges. Congratulations and well done!

You are excited yet, you might find that you are a bit nervous about the prospect of starting afresh. This is completely normal.

The fact that you pursued new career goals suggests you are proactive about your career generally; a good indicator for success in your future endeavours. With your new move you are likely to have developed your interview skills, you will be generating new learning opportunities, expanding your professional network and finding new ways to adapt. These are all critical skills you will, no doubt, utilise again throughout your career journey1.

As you look to uncertain times ahead, the following steps will set you up for success; both in your new role and as you continue to progress in your career more broadly.

  1. Say your ‘goodbyes’ in person

    Job seekers often rely on job boards to source potential new roles, yet statistics show that around 60% of jobs are found as a result of networks. Your former colleagues are an essential component of your professional network and it is important to leave on a positive note wherever possible.

    Take the time to reach out to colleagues and let them know you are leaving (ideally in person) and encourage them to keep in touch. If there have been any conflicts, try to resolve them as much as possible before you leave. You want to be remembered positively and you never know when you will cross paths again or need assistance from one another in some way to support your career.

  2. Plan for your first 90 days

    It is important to create a strong initial impression with your new colleagues and your earliest interactions will influence how you are perceived moving forward.

    For the initial 30 days, focus on learning existing processes and absorbing all necessary information you’ll need to successfully conduct your role. During the next 30 days dedicate time to playing a more active role; building relationships with colleagues and potential mentors and looking for opportunities to resolve issues.

    Michael Watkins, the author of “The First 90 Days” had this to say about joining a new company. [It’s] “…akin to an organ transplant—and you’re the new organ. If you’re not thoughtful in adapting to the new situation, you could end up being attacked by the organizational immune system and rejected.

    In the third month take time to reflect and review progress to date, as well as getting feedback from your manager and colleagues. Consider the most important aspects for future focus and create actionable goals.

  3. Set yourself up for success by asking the right questions of your manager

    While researching about the organisation, its culture, brand and objectives are necessary, a key component to success in your new role is in understanding the expectations placed upon it.

    Whether it’s before you start your first day or in your first few weeks, gain clarity from your manager on what success in your new role will look like. You can do this by posing a specific question directed to your success in the role. For instance, you may ask: “If a year from now I was exceeding your expectations, what would this look like to you?” Be sure to gather concrete examples. This support envisioning your next steps and ultimate outcome.

    Not only will this help you understand what your manager expects from you, but you will also leave a great impression as someone who is serious about creating successful outcomes for you and the organisation.

  4. Prepare for the future of work: Identify in-demand transferable and marketable skills

    While it is necessary to focus on where your role fits in the organisation, and the outcomes you should be working to achieve, it is equally important to think of how your role will be impacted by the changing nature of work. What steps do you need to take to ensure you have the right set of skills and abilities to generate exciting opportunities into the future.

    Start by reflecting on your current skills, strengths, and potential areas for specialisation. Consider likely ‘in-demand’ skills for future roles in your space and look for opportunities to learn (either in your role or using on-line learning platforms such as Udacity and Coursera).

  5. Adopt a growth mindset

    Coined by psychologist Carol Dweck, growth mindset is a state of mind that is looking for continuous growth and development.

    In all facets of life, a growth mindset will empower you to learn, adapt, and grow while developing resilience and remaining open to new challenges in the short and long-term.

Having addressed the steps above, you will be well placed to embrace your first week, as well as inadvertently, preparing for the rest of your career journey, beyond this one role.

Good luck and enjoy the learning process; while you can’t be certain what the road ahead will look like, rest assured the steps you are taking now will stand you in good stead for your future career development.

1   Ryan, L. 2016. ‘Ten Reasons Successful People Change Jobs More Often’, Forbes, Oct. 28, 2016


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