A Gallup Poll survey in 2016 showed that one in five Millennials changed jobs in the last year. In addition, three out of five were actively looking for a new job.
Every new job brings you new opportunities. And if the Millennials are truly the “job-hopping generation,” then they stand the most to gain from these opportunities.
Those who prepare themselves before they first sit down at their new desk benefit the greatest. Before you begin, though, it makes sense to get organized.
“Everyone wants to start off their employee experience on the right foot—and staying organized is at the top of the priority list,” says Brad Goldoor, Chief People Officer at Phenom People in Amsterdam.
Staying organized is more than desk organizers and neat workspaces. More importantly, it’s about organizing your thoughts and coming up with a game plan to grab the blossoming opportunities you’re about to experience. That means having some idea of the goals you want to achieve.
Here are three broad categories of goals you should bring with you on your first day at the new job:
Goal #1: A Professional Growth Plan
You might change jobs for the money, but it’s important to realize that with a greater salary comes a need to add greater value. If you’re thinking several steps ahead, you’ll be planning how to grow professionally before you begin your new job.
“Because of the strong job market, job seekers have the upper hand when changing jobs,” says Jeff Weber, EVP People and Places at Instructure in the Greater Salt Lake City Area. “And while employers are thinking of and offering new perks to recruit Millennials and new job seekers, perks aren’t what employees care about in the long run. The first thing on someone’s mind when they start a new job is how they are going to learn and grow professionally in their new job.”
If the strategic objective is professional growth, then the most useful tactic is to “be aggressive.” Quickly seek to discover how your new employer trains its employees, what training opportunities it offers and where and when you might be able to obtain that training.
“In roles where a fair bit of training is required, the way to prove yourself will be to pick up the necessary education as fast as possible,” says Ilya Brotzky, CEO of VanHack in Vancouver, British Columbia. “Ask colleagues for deeper insights—if these are the best practices and what practical hacks make a task quicker, easier or more efficient.”
Goal #2: A Personal Growth Plan
A professional growth plan helps your employer to like you and you to like your employer. But all work and no play tends to sour life after a period of time. While you do need space between your job and your life, the two are like complementary branches intertwined with one another. And the glue between them may be the earnings you bring home with you.
Work, then, is not an end to itself, but a means to an end. “Every decision with your new job should be framed through the lens of ‘how can I use this to elevate my overall financial situation to achieve my personal goals faster?’,” says Kelley Long, Senior Financial Planner at Financial Finesse in Chicago and a member of the AICPA Consumer Financial Education Advocates.
This financial success may include increasing your retirement savings. It may also include non-monetary rewards like recognition among peers. “People starting a new job are trying to assess the landscape and figure out what success will look like for them,” says Sonya Sigler, CEO of PractiGal in San Carlos, California. “They are busy meeting people, figuring out what’s what, and making themselves and their work known.”
It’s not just recognition. It’s the entire feeling of community you obtain from your work environment. In her capacity as Editorial Director at Amava in San Mateo, California, Rebecca Bloom has connected with a good number of members as they change jobs or reenter the workforce. She says, “The most common thing that is top-of-mind for them is contributing to their new team and taking advantage of opportunities to earn and learn that are socially engaging.”
Goal #3: Hit a Home Run
Face it. When you start a new job you’re really excited. You feel like you matter. Marshal that confidence and energy. Now is the time to accomplish something big. “When new hires walk in on their first day, they are ready to take on the world,” says Goldoor. “Motivation and aspiration fuel their efforts to knock any project out of the park.”
It’s normal to feel this way. Don’t think you’re overreaching. “The first thing on someone’s mind really depends on their outlook on life,” says Brotzky. “For the candidates we’ve talked to who are taking on new jobs, it’s all about proving themselves. They’re looking for the quick wins that will show their new employer that they made a good choice. Most people are eager to please while they’re getting onboarded.”
Demonstrating this gusto and seeing it through to success can make a great lasting first impression. “Someone that has just started a new job is likely assessing where they can have an impact and what they need to ramp up on in their industry (which may be new to them) or the business and the team,” says Kelley Steven-Waiss, Founder of Hitch in Los Gatos, California. “They will be looking for areas to have early wins and to understand spheres of influence. So much rests on ‘first impressions’ that they want to figure out how to show up from their first day which can determine so much of their future success.”
To achieve this future success, your actions cannot be carried out in a vacuum. It’s critical that you have an audience. But not just any audience. It must be the right audience. An audience that matters.
“Someone who just started a new job is setting themselves up for success, and that includes two key components: building relationships and delivering results,” says David Levine, COO at BerlinRosen in New York City. “Building relationships is critical for both personal happiness and satisfaction, and professionally to develop partners, allies, sources and validators. Delivering results is critical to validate the selection of your candidacy into the role, and to set you up with the social capital, clout and buy-in needed to successfully take on future challenges, expand or enhance the opportunities available for you and to set yourself up for future growth.”
Lean into your new job and extract the most out of the experience. Bring these goals with you on your first day at the office. You’ll find more satisfaction in your new job and more success.