Wednesday, January 31, 2007

10 Easy ways to supercharge your new job

by JOE HODOWANES, Special Sections Correspondent

When a U.S. president enters office, the entire Washington, D.C., press corps talks about the administration's first 100 days, which is a critical time for the party in office to gain momentum behind major legislation.

OK, so you're not the newly elected president of the United States. That means you have about 30 business days to make your first impressions at your new company and get the momentum going.

What follows are several activities and suggestions compiled from the book, "How to Land the Job of Your Life" by Jeff Taylor, founder of, and Doug Hardy. These helpful hints can assist you in making a seamless transition into your new job.

1. Before you start a new job, write five strengths and weaknesses from your last job. Privately determine that you're going to change one or two of those weak behaviors in your next job. They don't have to be big changes. For example, are you always late to meetings? Decide to change that from day one at your new job. In those first few weeks, always be on time for your meetings.

2. Start with an on-the-job assessment. If you're a replacement, make a list of the things the former occupant of your position did right and wrong (you'll have to ask around). If it's a new job, make a list of all the reasons why the position was created.

3. Develop one new work habit that will make you more productive. Perhaps it's an organizing habit you already practiced in your job search: You've always put sticky notes all over your computer as reminders. Change to an electronic to-do list in the new job.

4. The great management teacher Peter Drucker suggests this powerful habit: Just before beginning a new job, write down what you expect will happen. Then check that statement three months and then a year later. You'll get a reality check on where you are and are not effective.

5. It's a great time to start working out, start eating better or learn a new skill. You've just proven to yourself that you can make positive changes happen in your work life, so why stop at that?

6. Set up a 10-day check with your boss. Say, "I've been working on the following five things. Do you feel that I'm spending my time in the right places?" This gives your boss the opportunity to say, "I'd really like you to be spending more time on this…" This isn't a formal performance review. You're just finding out if you're on track. Do this again after 30 days.

7. Keep a "brag book." Write down all of your accomplishments above and beyond the call of duty. What did you do? When did you do it? What were the results? When it comes to creating a resume in the future or being asked by a potential employer for your corporate accomplishments, this brag book will give you the ability to quickly produce what you have achieved.

8. Find a mentor. Look for an experienced person who has been with the company for a few years. Have regular conversations about what is going on in the company. Your boss may be a candidate for this role, or it may be someone in another part of the company.

9. Be sure to thank everyone who helped you in your job search. Call or write to them personally. Also, send e-mail updates to your personal network every four to eight weeks. These notes can be informal; the idea is simply to stay in touch. And don't forget to thank executive recruiters, employment counselors and employment coaches.

10. Finally, check in with yourself. At 100 days, assess the big picture. You're the CEO of your own life, so ask yourself important career questions such as how you're doing toward achieving your goals and do you like this company.

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Joe Hodowanes is a career strategy adviser in Tampa. Readers of The Tampa Tribune are qualified to receive a résumé critique, as well as a price quote if you decide that your résumré should be rewritten. For a risk-free telephone evaluation, e-mail your rrésumré to or fax it to 813-264-9203. For questions, call Joe at 813-264-9172 or visit

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