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Three mistakes to avoid when you start a new job

When starting a new job, there are three common mistakes new hires make that you should avoid.

Women smiling representing phrases to say or not to say.

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Starting off on the right foot

You job searched, you narrowed it down, you went through countless interviews, and you’ve found a fit. You start your new job next week, and like any non-robot human, you’re probably nervous because you want to make a good first impression.

Dominque Jones, VP of HR at Halogen Software, a leader in talent management, has some advice. She notes that 30 percent of millennials, and 34 percent of Gen Z found that having opportunities for advancement is a top motivator for young workers to stay with a company and work hard.

“Advancement may be the goal, but in reality most millennials are making mistakes that ultimately hold them back from moving forward in their positions,” Jones notes.

In her own words below, Jones observes three mistakes new employees make in the office, and none are exclusive to millennials:

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Mistake 1: Being reluctant or afraid to ask questions

You may be so eager to start in your role or to impress your new boss that you are hesitant to stop and ask questions. But failing to clarify or get information about even simple tasks or procedures can lead to big, unnecessary headaches and mistakes down the road.

Ask questions about everything you may need to know, from how to open an IT ticket to your new job responsibilities, to how to work the lunch room coffee machine.

Asking questions is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of a confident, engaged employee setting themselves up for success in their new role.

Mistake 2: Missing the fundamentals

Stay attentive and focused during orientation. Most companies require new employees to take part in an orientation or training process before they get started in their new role. While you may want to dive in and get started in your new position right away, make sure you don’t glaze through the important foundational information in the first days or weeks.

Orientation often details an organization’s corporate culture and business climate, helping you understand how you can contribute to its success. There is also usually important information like who to talk to you when you have a phone or internet problem or how you get paid.

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Showing you are engaged and attentive about even the little details is a great way to leave a good first impression.

Mistake 3: Not taking the time to meet key people

Don’t miss out on chances to get to know your manager and team members and other peers. Since you’ll be working closely with these people in your role, it’s a good idea to get to know each other and establish a good working relationship.

Your coworkers can be the best resource to understand the company culture and who is responsible for what and who can help you with certain tasks. It’s also a good idea to show your team how you can make their lives easier.

Identify 2-3 key strengths that you bring to your new role and collaborate with your manager to communicate these strengths to your work team/ network. Take a chance to sit down with your manager to establish goals for the next 90 days that leverage your strengths and experience and will help integrate you into your new role on the team.

The takeaway

In Jones’ advice above, there is a common thread: don’t just do the bare minimum. Worrying more about how your office is decorated and less about the people on your team will doom you to failure. Keeping your head down and not asking questions or introducing yourself around will make you less appealing as a new hire.

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