This is a guest post from Jim Kacena, Career and Job Search Coach, in Chicago, IL. I received the article below via the International Executives Resource Group, of which I’ve been a long-time member. (The IERG is a gated online community for senior executives with strong international background.)
I couldn’t find this article online anywhere, so Jim graciously gave me permission to post it. Send your feedback/thoughts/requests for his services to jfkacena(@)comcast.net.
Given that ff Venture Capital is hiring for several positions internally and our portfolio companies have hundreds of open positions, I expect this to be useful for a lot of people.
- Complete an assessment of what you have learned about yourself as a result of the job search process.
- Notify your references of your new position. Thank them for their advice and help.
- Write or phone friends, business acquaintances, and the contacts that helped you in this campaign. Thank them and fill them in on the details of your new responsibilities. Determine a timetable of staying in touch with them. (Don’t lose touch again.)
- Send a note to all companies who expressed serious interest in you (insurance for the future). Enclose your new business card or work contact information.
- Purge your job search files, but store significant data (names, addresses, phone numbers, etc.). Retain job search handouts and assessment material.
- If you have posted your resume on the internet, be sure to remove it from all locations. You wouldn’t want your new employer to think that you’re still out there looking.
- Develop a success plan for the first six (6) months on the new job. What are your goals? What would you like to accomplish?
On The New Job
Research reveals why people often do not succeed when first starting a new position. Failure to build good relationships with superiors, peers and subordinates is the culprit 82% of the time. The other three reasons are: confusion or uncertainty about what superiors expect (58%), a lack of internal political skills (50%), and an inability to achieve the two or three most important objectives of the new job (47%).
- Make interpersonal relations a goal. In other words, get to know everyone, listen and be cooperative and courteous.
- For the first three (3) months, observe! Be careful of all your suggestions for changes/improvements until you understand the “whys” and “sponsors” of questionable policies and procedures.
- Analyze what you want out of the new position: balancing family and career, developing new areas of expertise, or achieving whatever it is that motivates you.
- Study corporate management style and politics/power blocks. (You can’t move ahead without understanding these). Avoid political commitments until you have the big picture.
- Be sure you understand the few critical objectives. Any job has a multitude of responsibilities, but there are usually only two or three that you absolutely must excel at.
- If you didn’t do so before accepting the offer, verify that your (and your superiors’) understanding of the new position’s priorities, timing, expectations and performance criteria are aligned. During the first six (6) months, revalidate this as frequently as necessary, perhaps in 30 days, and then again in 60 days. Don’t be shy about meeting with your boss, regularly, to ensure that you are on track with your original mutual understanding, and make adjustments as needed.
- Identify the people in the organization (usually 5-6) that are key to your success. Once identified, schedule a meeting with each. The content of that “informal” meeting is as follows:
- State your objectives, emphasizing those that impact them.
- Indicate the support, input or material that you need from them to be successful.
- Identify those things that you can do that might help make them successful.
Get to know each other personally as well. People will go out of their way to help someone they know and like. This applies also to your other co-workers.
- Maintain an “events” file. Keep a record of your accomplishments (and problems) as they occur. These will be very useful at your performance appraisal.
- Maintain ongoing communications with all, including those outside the organization, but especially with your key contacts. By doing so, your relationships will continue to develop; you will become aware of important factors before they become problems.
- When problems occur, and they do for all of us, the important thing is to handle them in a proactive, straightforward manner. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- If possible, you should be the one to bring the problem to your boss’ attention. While this may be somewhat uncomfortable, it will probably be appreciated, and you will be seen as someone who is forthright and honest.
- Get all of those involved together to sort through the issue. During this session, ask questions and listen to the responses. This approach may help build a consensus solution from all those involved, with the necessary buy-in required for success.
- In the meeting, facilitate the creation of a plan to deal with the problem. Make sure that this plan has clearly worded action steps, those responsible for each, the date by which the step will be completed and any necessary follow-up.
- Follow up on the plan to make sure that it is working, and adjust as needed with the agreement of those involved.
- Maintain existing network contacts, cultivate new ones consistent with your functional and industry aspirations – both within your new organization and externally (e.g. trade or professional associations, professional societies, community service organizations, etc.)
- Objectively assess your capabilities and experience credits for near and long-term advancement.
- If you can handle them effectively, volunteer for special/project assignments to broaden your exposure and/or scope of responsibility.
- Expand your perspective and knowledge base through internal and external continuing education/training programs in your present functional and industry areas.
- Assess your progress at least semi-annually.
- Update your resume annually (especially the accomplishments portions).
- Identify and cultivate potential mentors or coaches (inside and outside the organization).
- Be willing to talk to people (e.g. recruiters) about outside employment opportunities. Today, it’s always wise to keep options open.
- Support other job seekers’ networking efforts, and coach them where practical. (You know how valuable others were to you when you were in your job search).
- Maintain solid relations with past references; identify new references, if appropriate.
Again, best of success in your new position and career,