As I go through the process of job hunting and interviewing, I thought it necessary to share some much needed information for the recent graduate coming out of school. Prior preparation, before attaining a new job, increases clarity of what to do within the first few months of being hired. Furthermore, you will develop an understanding of the workplace which most supervisors do not have the time to teach. You will be ahead of the game showing initiative, tact, and proactive behavior because of prior preparation.
Build Your Craft
You graduate from college. What next? Most people apply for jobs, take interviews, follow up, and wait for response. This is exactly what you are to do but sometimes job hunting takes months. Applying to jobs and taking interviews should not be the only activities you engage in before employment.
While waiting, spend the time to build your craft in whatever way you can. For example, my major was in Information Systems Security so I spent the time reviewing Cyber Security concepts, learning Information Security enterprise frameworks, standards (best practices), and began studying the latest edition of CISSP Study Guide.
Regardless of what field you are in, find a way to build your craft in the meantime. Other ways to improve yourself is to attend relevant seminars and earn certifications.
Understand the reality of the Workplace
The most important aspect for the on-boarding preparation of a new job is to know your desired career and understand what it takes to succeed at your new job within the context of that organization.
Each organization is unique. The way things are done in one organization will differ from the other. With that said, you should not expect to succeed using the same thinking or method applied at your old job. For starters, you can begin by observing the way things are done with respect to how employees relate to each other, what they wear, and ask questions concerning the organization culture.
The First 90 days is an insightful resource to read concerning proper preparation and being a good fit for the new organization. The idea is to come in on day one fully ready to accelerate the learning process with the knowledge of how to navigate within the organization without much help. This requires a game plan.
Formulate a Plan
Prior to official start date, a thoughtful plan is to be drawn out — this is necessary for a successful career launch. The advantage of this is that it provides clarity and direction as to what needs to be done and how it should be done to meet the desired result.
A good plan may come in the form of a checklist. I recommend to have a checklist, containing both questions and goal statements, for each of the following sections: business orientation (the company’s strategic approach and brand), stakeholder connection, organizational culture, job-role expectations, and first 90 day goals. This will help you understand the organizational context and have your 90 day goals set.
Finally, you work the plan and check off each answered question and goals met.
Some companies may have an on-boarding process, some may not. However, think about the impact you make when you come in on day one knowing your desired career and having a game plan that will devise a path which leads up to the height of your career according to the organizational context. In short, Prior preparation sets a solid foundation for the rest of your career, at least for the next 3 months.