Starting a new job can be really scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s what career navigation expert Gorick Ng says are the keys to making a great first impression, plus what you can do to ensure your new workplace is a great fit long term.
The Three Cs: Navigating the Unspoken Rules of Your New Apprenticeship
Starting a new apprenticeship can feel a lot like the first day at a new school: unfamiliar faces, unknown protocols, and that gnawing question—what do people think of me? Fear not. Success in your new role isn’t as daunting as it seems; it all boils down to mastering what we’ll dub as the Three Cs: Competence, Commitment, and Compatibility.
Competence: Prove Your Mettle
From the get-go, your colleagues are sizing you up: Can you handle your job? While the apprehension is understandable, silence it by taking initiative. Say you’re given a perplexing task. Rather than immediately approaching your manager with queries, recall similar situations from your past experiences or education. Draft an action plan, however tentative, and then seek advice. This way, you show that you’re capable but willing to learn, ticking off the first C—competence.
Commitment: Show You’re in for the Long Haul
Your colleagues aren’t just evaluating your skills; they’re assessing your dedication to the role. So, how do you show you’re committed? Ask your manager these pivotal questions: What are my main responsibilities? How should we communicate regularly? What strategies have proven effective for others in my role?
With your peers, opt for a lighter approach. Transform the initial hellos into deeper conversations and, eventually, into working relationships. This could be as simple as asking about their week or seeking advice on work tasks. These interactions not only reveal your dedication but also lay the groundwork for the third C—compatibility.
Compatibility: Find Your Fit in the Team
A new team member is like a puzzle piece. Everyone is silently wondering: Will you fit? Kick-start conversations with your colleagues; it’s your first step towards demonstrating compatibility. However, compatibility isn’t just about getting along; it’s about understanding the ‘invisible swim lanes’ within the team. An organisational chart can reveal the formal structure but pay attention during meetings and group chats to understand the nuanced roles, alliances, and power dynamics. This insider knowledge is crucial for navigating the waters smoothly.
Spot the Gaps, Fill the Gaps
While you’re busy understanding your new environment, keep an eye out for areas that may be lacking—these are your opportunities to shine. If you can identify and fill these gaps, you demonstrate that you’re competent, committed, and compatible, all in one fell swoop.
It’s a Two-Way Street
Starting a new job is not just about fitting into a new environment; it’s about assessing if this environment fits you. Take time to understand whether you can thrive here, if you get along with your colleagues, and most importantly, if this is work that excites you.
Navigating unspoken rules can be a bit like walking through a maze blindfolded. But armed with the Three Cs—Competence, Commitment, and Compatibility—you’re well-equipped to turn the complexities of a new job into stepping stones for success. And remember, as much as you’re adapting to the environment, make sure it’s an environment where you can genuinely flourish. After all, every job is a two-way street.