My Plan: interview & negotiate


Starting a new job is an exciting and stressful time. You want to jump in and start proving yourself and demonstrating that they made the right choice in hiring you. Here are a few strategies to ease your transition and help you to manage your workplace relationships, reputation, and results.

Click on any topic area to learn valuable tips and techniques to help you succeed in your new position and advance your career.


Self-Awareness is understanding who you are, what your strengths and weaknesses are, where you are in your career, and where you want to go. It is the ability to quickly and easily respond to the request, “Tell me about yourself.”


True self-awareness requires a willingness to take a step back to analyze yourself and your place in the professional world, and to assess what you need to do to be successful. Being self-aware is key to both career success and interpersonal interactions. It is about understanding who you are and how you interact with others, and knowing how to compensate for any shortcomings you may have. By taking actions to become more self-aware you allow yourself to gain control of your career direction and your interactions with others.


The first step in becoming self-aware is to identify your strengths, skills, interests, and personality traits. Doing this will provide you with the vocabulary that you can use to describe yourself, to identify areas of career focus, and to validate that you are moving in the right career direction. It will also help you to create your personal brand so that you can clearly articulate and demonstrate what you have to offer others. We offer a variety of self-assessment tools on myplan to assist you with this process.


Networking is the process of sharing advice, information, and referrals. Your network not only consists of the people you already know, but is also the active process of consciously expanding your circle of contacts to include other people you identify as potential sources of advice, information, and referrals.


Why is networking important? Because in the scope of career navigation, people like to hire people they know. Research has shown that job candidates referred by a current employee or by a contact of a hiring manager are more likely to land the job. This is because someone that has been referred has been prescreened by an existing employee who is putting his or her reputation on the line with every referral. Statistics also show that referrals tend to fit in with the team culture and stay in a position longer, and the time to hire a referral is shorter than for outside candidates. For all of these reasons internal referrals are a better investment for the company.


When networking, it is essential to have a clear pitch to describe yourself: Who are you? Where have you been? Where are you going? If you are making a request for assistance, make sure that you are clear about what you need and that the request is reasonable.


Also remember that networking is a two-way street. Successful networkers give more often than they take, and they make themselves available to others. A successful networker also listens more often than they talk. By asking questions and showing interest in the other person, you are able to create a connection that results in a lasting dialogue and strong network contact.


Check out our networking tips and tools to assist you in moving forward with your career.


Why is it that the majority of open positions are filled through employee referrals? Because employers know that employees will only refer people whom they know, trust, and respect. Employers know, therefore, that they will get only high-quality candidates.


It is essential to your career success that you maintain a positive reputation; it is your responsibility to ensure that you are well regarded by those around you. The key to doing this is to manage your workplace relationships, your reputation, and your desired performance results.



How to manage your workplace relationships:

Meet with Your Boss within First 30 Days

Use this meeting to assess your progress and voice any questions or concerns you may have. This meeting will give you a chance to make sure you are progressing properly and to plan changes, if needed. Additionally, your manager may not always be available to answer questions, and for this reason, you may want to find a mentor so you will have an alternate source of help when you have questions.

Get to Know People and Memorize Names

Write down names with some information to jog your memory. Also, when you are introduced to coworkers, repeat their names to help you remember them.

Build Relationships Cautiously

People can be judged by the friendships they cultivate. Be friendly to all at work and avoid building strong relationships to the exclusion of others. Also, avoid office gossip and take care not to speak negatively about supervisors or managers when in or out of the office. As you build relationships, it is important to draw the line on how much you socialize at work. You can be seen as a person who doesn’t make good use of your time.

Be a Good Communicator and Listener

Make your communications (face-to-face, phone, email) clear and to the point. Don’t over verbalize. Listening is the beginning of understanding. Listen so that you can hear what is being said.


How to manage your reputation in the workplace:

Don’t Get Frustrated if Things Don’t Go Perfectly

Don’t let things get you down. Be patient and don’t expect things to be all set up and ready for you when you start.


Never assume your email or internet use is private. Most companies have an administrator who can check all electronic communications. Make your email responses brief and to the point, and always double-check spelling and grammar before sending. Remember, there are times when a conversation (in person or by phone) may be a better option.

Dress Appropriately

Dress is a key component to consider when looking to make a positive workplace impression. You can determine how to dress (casual, formal) from coworkers, general company culture, or written company dress code.

Be Teachable and Flexible

In today’s fast paced, fluid work environment, it is important to learn and adapt quickly and easily. Even though you may have concerns, voice them in a calm matter-of-fact manner rather than in a panic mode.

Think before You Speak

It is easy to get into the habit of saying, “This is how we did it at my last company.” This phrase can act as a barrier to being accepted into your new position, since it seems that you are still connected to your last employer. It is time to let go of the past and get on board with how things are done at your new place of employment. If you have a suggestion try, saying, “Have we considered doing it this way…?”

Be the First in and Last to Leave

People notice when you arrive and when you leave. This can influence how people perceive you even more than what you get done while at work. Get to work early and stay late as a way to demonstrate that you care about your job and that you want to learn and get up to speed as quickly as possible. Once you prove to your peers and manager that you are competent, you should have greater flexibility with your schedule.


How to manage workplace results:

Acquire Copy of Job Requisition and Performance Evaluation

Reviewing these documents will allow you to understand your job requirements and how you will be evaluated. This side-by-side comparison will give you the big picture of what an employer deems most important and allow you to work smart.

Create a Personal Training Manual

This will be your storehouse of processes and procedures on how to perform key job functions and will serve to ease anxiety and shorten your learning curve.

Learn Your Job

Take ownership of everything you do, and do it to the best of your ability. Get the big picture by learning how your job and department fit in with the company’s mission. Above all, your employer needs you to get up to speed ASAP and be productive. Many people make the mistake of customizing procedures before they have a grasp of their basic job functions. Learn the job first so you will have the proper understanding of how changes will affect the process as a whole.

You are the CEO of Your Desk

Your workspace organization aids coworkers in forming an impression of you. It can be difficult to keep your work area neat when a busy day is at hand. In this case simply take 5 to 10 minutes to tidy up before leaving for the day

Make Time to Think and Plan

It has been said that an hour of planning can save two hours of work. Scheduling time to think and plan ahead can help to save time, money, and resources. Planning ahead is a good way to get a look at the big picture: where, when, and what to do with the time, resources, and people needed to complete tasks.

Focus on Progress, Not Perfection

Take it step by step. Remember that when beginning anything, there will be a learning curve. Own up to your mistakes, deal with the issue, and formulate a course of action to remedy the situation. Being proactive will demonstrate your problem-solving skills to your employer.


One of the best strategies for dealing with unemployment is avoiding it in the first place. Too often employees go down with a sinking ship — which translates into being laid off and out of work. Some people stay because they are not aware of the issues the company is having, while others think that things will change or that they are indispensable and will therefore be spared.


The key to organizational reading is to continually evaluate the company and market conditions. Ask yourself the following questions:


  • Is the company selling products and making money?
  • Are open positions being filled?
  • Is the company trying to be innovative?
  • Are departments being cut?
  • Are budgets being cut?
  • Has the company been successful in getting new rounds of funding?
  • Are key people at the company leaving?


If you identify that the company or department is not stable, then it is time to create a plan of action using our Job Search Plan Master Checklist . You are more marketable while employed, so the time to start a job search is before you are out of work.


Seeking out advice, information, and referrals from people with experience in the field can help to guide, shape, and direct your career. Knowing when you need to ask for assistance is key to being successful; many people prefer to go it alone. Being self-aware and knowing when to ask for assistance and advice is credited with advancing careers and building strong leadership skills.


There are a number of benefits to having a mentor, including the opportunity to learn new skills, an objective point of view in regard to difficult situations, and someone to keep you accountable for following through on your goals and to keep your career moving in the right direction. Even mentors have mentors.


As you grow in your career there are a number of reasons to become a mentor. Mentoring is an opportunity for you to develop leadership skills, to expand your network, and to share your skills and expertise while helping others.


Where do I find a mentor?

  • Review your current network
  • Evaluate senior employees at your company
  • Consider people you meet at professional meetings


Where do I find a mentor?

  • Who is the “go-to” person at the company?
  • Who appears to be most motivated?
  • Who is always working?
  • Note that the ideal candidate is not necessarily the most vocal person but is often the person whom people go to and who always has something to do.

Download these questions.

MyPlan is the product of NOVAWorks and is accessed through their Creative Common Licenses. We thank NOVAWorks for providing access to MyPlan and resources to assist our customers.

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