shutterstock_247388059Introverted? No problem.

Extroverted? Also, no problem.

These 5 tips will help you get started. Learning them and using them will pay dividends today and in the future.

Everyone’s Been Through This

When you are starting a new job it’s a lot like the first day of school. Whether you are starting 1st grade, 8th grade or college. The process is the same. You assess the situation. You let your personality pick where you will sit. And, quite often, you will stay that same seat for the whole time you are in that class.

Work is both different and the same.

Work is different because not only will you likely change seats a lot, but you might change companies a lot.

This is especially true if you are a consultant. In fact, you might want to start thinking of yourself as a consultant. This is especially true as the Gig Based Economy mentality continues to morph. In order to thrive you need to hone your seat selection skills as well as your situational awareness skills very quickly in order to “make friends” quickly.

I put make friends in quotes because the reality is that some of the people you work with will only be friends at work. There is nothing wrong with that. Some of these work friends will be friends both inside and outside the workplace and some will become part of your lifelong network of contacts you rely upon to get referrals, get your next job, and to sanity check ideas.

Work is the same because no matter where you go you will end up working with people. Even for the people that are solo consultants … you still need to work with people. So, you might as well be prepared with 5 Tips to help you get started.

Making Friends is Easy, Right?

Just like in all aspects of life there are friends that will come and go. When starting at a new company make the time to walk around and talk to people. If someone comes up to your desk … talk to them. Even if you are an introvert. It might be hard, but with these 5 tips at your fingertips and the tip of your tongue you will be ready.

5 Tips for Making Friends in a New Job:

  1. Make the time to say hello – When you are arriving at work … say hello. When you are grabbing coffee … say hello. Bonus Points for asking any of the other four questions.
  2. Ask them what they do – This can be as simple as “What do you do here?”
  3. Ask them how long they’ve been with the company
  4. Ask them how long they’ve been in their role – The goal here is not to make any assumptions. If they’ve been in the role a long time or a short time there are likely reasons for that. They may elaborate on them … or not.
  5. Ask who they go to when they have questions – This is a BIG ONE. Their go-to people (or systems) may be different than yours. This could lead to a great resource for you too.

Gossip Kills
Whatever you do … Do NOT start and or otherwise engage in gossip. If this starts. Tactfully excuse yourself.

Three Factors to Consider

As you continue to learn from your peers with your five tips there are a few other factors to consider for success in your career.

  • Mentors – Find at least one. Ideally one within your company, but this is not always possible depending upon the size of the company.

Pro Tip: Large companies (and smart small companies) have mentorship programs. Ask about them and get involved. It’s never too early. Mentors help you grow and as you grow your career grows and your company gets the benefit of that effort. Find a Mentor.

  • Bosses – Everyone wants to succeed. Even bosses. A hiring manager wants to make sure they find someone that can complement the team, their skills and the company. Utilizing these 5 tips will help you stand out in your career which can help bosses stand out in theirs.
  • Referrals – Just like the commercials on TV … The More You Know. The best jobs are filled before they are posted. The people you are meeting with your five tips will often know what groups are growing (or shrinking).

Why bother doing any of this?

At a minimum it’s camaraderie and it’s also about leadership. By taking the initiative you will stand out in your career. Even if you’re in a role that you think will be part-time you might find that you make some great friends. Some of those friends might even refer you to your next job and maybe even set your career on a completely different path.

These are just five simple tips to keep on the tip of your tongue and at your fingertips. You never know what you can learn by asking one simple question.

As you transition from role to role and company to company you will be able to use these tips to build up your network of friends and contacts. As your career grows you will find that these contacts become more and more helpful for all aspects of your career. These five tips can get you started and keep you going.

If you have other tips please add them to the comments and share what’s worked for you.