What To Prioritize In The First 90 Days Of A New Job

by | Career Growth

Although starting a new job can be incredibly exciting, it can also bring feelings of apprehension as you decide where to prioritize during your first 90 days. You have to balance providing yourself with ample space to absorb new information while also making a good first impression.

Consequently, it can be difficult to decide where to focus your energy and time during this critical ramp-up period. In this article, I share four areas to consider prioritizing during your first 90 days in a new job.

Where To Focus Your Time In The First 90 Days At A New Job

If you’re heading into a new job, here’s where you might want to prioritize your effort in the first 90 days:

1. Acclimate yourself to your new role.

Begin by allowing yourself ample space to get to know your new position and company. You’ll want to understand the nuances of your position and team as well as how your role fits into the larger company. If you’re new to the industry, you’ll also need to allot yourself ramp-up time to understand industry-specific terminology as well as competitors in the space.

Here are some questions to get your wheels turning as you acclimate yourself to your new role:

  • How do your role and team fit into the larger organization?
  • What are the key performance indicators (KPIs) for your role?
  • What’s already working well?
  • What could use improvement?
  • How does your manager prefer to communicate and receive updates?
  • How do your colleagues prefer to communicate and receive updates?

These questions are just the beginning. You may find it helpful to keep a list of questions you want to find answers to during your first several months, then bring it to your one-to-ones with your manager.

2. Build key alliances.

Beyond spending time gaining a clear understanding of your role, you’ll also want to allot significant time to relationship building. In addition to getting to know your immediate team, consider what cross-functional partners will be most critical to your success in those initial 6-12 months in your role, and begin building alliances with them. Your manager and peers can help identify the most important alliances you need to forge and cultivate.

Depending on the size of the organization, many of my coaching clients find it helps to set a goal regarding the number of daily or weekly introductory conversations they plan to conduct in their first few months in their new role.

3. Deliver quick wins.

Once you get an understanding of your role and company, you may notice some opportunities to deliver quick wins. Sometimes, this looks like seeking out low-hanging fruit that would have a major impact on the team or organization. Additionally, see if there are any larger initiatives you can knock out or at least begin tackling.

While you’re at it, reflect on the questions you asked during the interview process, as the interviewers may have mentioned a pain point you can solve for them. Moreover, you can directly ask your manager how they’ll measure your success in your first 90 days and if there are any projects you can deliver by then that would leave a lasting impression.

4. Develop a long-term strategy for success.

Lastly, carve out time for long-term strategic planning. Although the initial few months in a role are often focused on learning and assessing, you also want to begin thinking about the future, so make space to determine what you want to achieve beyond your first 90 days, whose support you will need to get there, and what success will look like.

Importantly, you’ll want to socialize your plan and gain the support of your manager and peers, as they’ll not only be more familiar with the inner workings of the company but are also critical to your long-term success. 

Final Thoughts

There’s only so much you can achieve in the first 90 days of a new job, so be patient with yourself as you adjust to your role and company. You have ample time to make an impact and leave your legacy. You’ve got this!

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

About Dr. Kyle Elliott

Dr. Kyle Elliott is the founder and career coach behind CaffeinatedKyle.com. His expertise is in Silicon Valley and high-tech. As a result of working with Dr. Elliott, senior managers and executives have landed jobs at Meta, Amazon, Google, and nearly every other tech giant you can imagine.

A trusted career expert, Dr. Elliott’s words have been featured on Business Insider, CNBC, CNN, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Fortune, Harvard Business Review, and The New York Times, among dozens of other leading publications. He has been recognized as a Best Career & Interview Coach, Best Resume Writer for Silicon Valley/Tech Managers & Executives, and LinkedIn Top Voice (the platform’s highest honor).



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