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New year. New job. How to set goals in the first few days of a new role

You may already have a new role lined up for 2022. Or you may be planning to get serious about your job hunt as we welcome in the new year. But when you do land your next big role, it’s important to head into it with a plan. Goal setting is crucial to make sure you get the most from a new experience and to ensure your career continues to move forward.

When you start a new job, you’ll likely go through an onboarding process to give you a comprehensive overview of your new company’s culture, as well as your new role. Of course, the overall objective is for you to assimilate and become productive as soon as possible.

However, did you know that setting your own smaller goals for the onboarding process can help you achieve that overall objective more effectively? And building these goals into your overall plan for 2022 can give you a stronger career purpose throughout the year.

Here’s why: If you spend some time thinking about what you want to get out of the onboarding process and setting goals to that effect, you’re more likely to retain more information and get answers to all the questions you might otherwise have to ask later.

While you can always set your own goals, here are a few to help you get started — along with some pointers on how to achieve them:

  • Make a good first impression. Of course, everyone wants to make a good impression on their first day in a new job, but it requires a little effort. Dress according to the company’s dress code, actively listen and engage during introductions – both virtual and in-person – and ask questions without dominating the conversation. Remember, when you’re the new kid on the block, it’s better to observe before trying to stand out.

  • Assimilate into the company culture. As your onboarding progresses, you’ll learn things like company-specific lingo and processes that are important for you to know. Try to memorize these as quickly as possible. If necessary, take notes so you can review them later. At the same time, join in established activities and get to know the people on your immediate team.

  • Learn who’s who in the company and your team. You need to know the chain of command — plus, you should learn the names and roles of all of your team members. Remembering someone’s name without having to ask can help you score points with your new colleagues!

  • Understand your full job responsibilities. Find out exactly what it is you’re expected to do on a day-to-day basis and ask if there are any weekly, monthly, or quarterly recurring tasks you’re expected to complete.

  • Find a mentor. Although not all companies support mentorships, they can be extremely useful. Ask your supervisor about the possibility of having a mentor to help you assimilate.

  • Think about your long-term career goals. During the onboarding process, you’ll begin to form an understanding of what’s possible in your company in terms of career advancement. That’s why — especially at the beginning of a new year — this is the perfect time to start thinking about what you want to achieve in this job and your wider career. However, you need to make sure these goals are aligned with your employer’s objectives, as the Ivy Exec article “Goal Setting at Work: 3 Things to Discuss with Your Boss First” advises. Once you’re familiar with and doing well in your new role, you can discuss career goals with your supervisor.

When you proactively set goals to make the most of your first days at work, you’ll not only stand a better chance of making a good impression, you’re also more likely to assimilate quickly and hit the ground running in terms of productivity. And in the long run, that goes a long way to helping your team, your company, and of course, your career.