Getting a new job is always a thrill; the excitement of getting a job offer is beyond a doubt one of the most exhilarating moments in our lives – well, for those of us who are not into extreme sports, that is. However, soon after your ‘first day’ nerves settle and the new job becomes a routine, remind yourself that your probation period is your time to shine. By the end of this period, both your boss and the rest of your colleagues have to be certain that hiring you was undoubtedly the wisest choice they ever made. When the time comes to make you a permanent employee, they should think of you as an asset and one they could not do without.
See Also: The 5 Worst Ways to Start a New Job
In order to exceed expectations, you have to go above and beyond – doing fine is just not good enough. You should strive to be excellent. Below are the steps you should follow in order to exceed expectations and blow your boss’ mind.
That doesn’t mean volunteer to make your boss’ coffee – however, depending on your boss, that might not be a bad idea at all. Volunteer more in the terms of offering to do more. Is your department dealing with a hectic week? Volunteer to do more – whether that’s filing, sending out a couple of extra emails, or anything else that won’t need much supervision. The issue here is to offer to do something that you can do independently and which will still contribute to the department’s smooth running. Don’t make your life too difficult, though, and don’t offer to do too much or take up any of the time you have for dealing with your workload. Rather, make sure you can spare 20-30 minutes that week in order to help out with pending matters. I assure you your manager will be so thankful that they’ll definitely appreciate you more before the week’s out. Even if you don’t manage to finish everything or you are unsure about something and you need to ask again, your manager will still appreciate that you offered. Not just because you’ll be taking things off their crazy schedule, but especially because you’ll be taking the initiative to help out and do more. They’ll feel that they can count on you and that they can trust you with more responsibilities and, by the end of your probation period, they’ll be assured that you are an employee who they can count on.
2. Ask Loads and Loads of Questions
During your first week at a new job, you’re likely to feel lost. On top of that, you are likely to feel intimidated about asking many questions too often. However, you shouldn’t worry about how they might think you are stupid, because they won’t – they’ll be glad you’re asking because it shows that you are in the process of comprehending what you are doing.
If you want to shine during your probation period, it’s important that you ask questions about everything. And I do mean everything – no, don’t ask about anyone’s personal life but about anything related to work. Every time you are even slightly uncertain, make a note of your question and shout out to your manager – if you’re too much of an introvert, an email will do. But be sure to write down everything you ask, whether it’s in a notebook or in an Excel file, so that you can come back to it the next time you have the same question. Of course, it goes without saying that you should also write down the answers and make detailed notes about everything you’ve been told, especially if you are in a work where there is no clear-cut answer. You’ll be thankful you did when you don’t have to ask the same question time and time again, and even if you think you know everything by the end of two months, keep at it. Think of how useful your questions-answers list will be when a colleague tells you that you are doing something wrong. You’ll have proof that that’s what you were told to do.
3. Know the Job Inside Out
It goes without saying that you should learn the job by the end of your probation period, as you are likely to get fired if you don’t. However, just knowing the job won’t be enough if you are aiming to exceed expectations. You have to know the job inside out so that you can work independently. By the end of your probation period, your manager should trust that if a nuclear catastrophe happened and you were the only one left standing, you’d be able to not lose any clients. There are loads of ways to go about doing that.
Firstly, you shouldn’t just learn what you do but also have a clear idea on what everyone in your department does. Don’t just learn their titles; learn what they do and have a rough idea of how they do it. For example, if you work in a company where various people are needed to complete a task – say you need approval from one person and a translation from another – make sure you know who the go-to person is in each situation. Know what their job description is and what they can do for you and, above all, make sure you know what is your jurisdiction and what isn’t.
Secondly, if you want to really learn the job, learn every little secret there is to learn, understand how everything functions, and know exactly why you go about doing any task you go about doing. Don’t be satisfied with simply being handed work; contemplate why what you’ve been told to do needs to be done and what the endgame is in each case. The more you learn about your work, the more confident you’ll feel about doing it. The more confident you feel, the more trust your employer will show you, which could lead to a generous salary boost and a warm welcome to the team as a permanent member.
4. Be Creative
In today’s competitive world, it’s just not enough to be good at your job. You have to take initiative and be creative. Despite the fact that your boss might not tell you that you aren’t expected to do anything other than your day-to-day tasks, you should always go the extra mile and do more. This is especially important when you are a new employee; sure, you might feel stressed out and unsure about everything, but as you start feeling more comfortable in your position, make sure you find the time and the will to come up with at least one new idea, no matter how big or small it is.
Think of something that would make your department run more easily, even a simple suggestion on someone else’s idea. In order to do that, make sure you listen to everyone when they speak, understand what they are saying, and think of any ways that you could help improve their idea. It’s vital that you show some creativity during your probation period because this is the time to prove your worth and to demonstrate your skills and abilities. Try to be up-to-date with everything in your field; read career blogs, listen to your friends when they discuss their careers, and generally try to be open to any ideas that you could use in your own career.
5. Make Everyone’s Day Brighter
Last but not least, you should use your probation period to get on friendly terms with everyone. You don’t have to hang out with them after work, but try to say ‘hello’ to everyone, learn everyone’s name, and make sure you walk into the office with a big smile every day. Be kind to everyone and don’t make enemies, even if you come across bullies – don’t confront them and instead kill them with kindness. If they are too insufferable for that, just avoid them as much as possible.
Remember that people are attracted to nice people; if you are gloomy, there’s a big chance your boss will feel uncomfortable around you and you definitely don’t want that. You want your boss and your colleagues to feel at ease with you; you want them to feel like you’ve been there forever. Spoil them with baking a cake if you’re into baking, but make sure you don’t start doing these extreme acts of kindness too early on because it might make them feel that you’re simply sucking up to them. Be charming and polite, and you’ll be the sunshine that stepped into the office in no time.
It’s not always easy starting a new job. Most of us feel too overwhelmed by the end of the first month, but that’s just because everything’s new, so don’t let that pull you down. Remind yourself that you wanted this job, follow this guide, and you are sure to exceed expectations during your probation period.