Create a Plan to Excel at Work

Create a Plan to Excel at WorkIn this blog series, our mbaMission Career Coaches offer invaluable advice and industry-related news to help you actively manage your career. Topics include building your network, learning from mistakes and setbacks, perfecting your written communication, and mastering even the toughest interviews. To schedule a free half-hour consultation with one of our mbaMission Career Coaches, click here.

You spent a lot of time thinking about your personal brand and how to communicate your value to an employer during the interview process, so do not stop now. With your offer letter signed, be strategic about how to excel in your new role. Here are a few tips to get you started.

Prior to Starting Your New Job

  • Update your advocates within the firm. Express excitement about the opportunity, and thank them for their support.
  • Connect with your hiring manager (or human resources) to find out if you can do anything to prepare before arriving on the first day of work.
  • Brainstorm your professional goals for this new role, and write them down. What do you want to learn? What are your strengths, and how do you see yourself leveraging them for this role? What are your areas of development? How do you want to present yourself?
  • Think about your preferred methods of getting work done and whether you will need to adapt them in this role. (Use the Culture Match information in CareerLeader to guide your thought process.)
  • Check out expert resources on this topic, such as Jodi Glickman’s “Make ‘Em Love You at Work” course as well as the recent article “The Right and Wrong Way to Manage Up at the Office” in the Wall Street Journal.

Within the First 90 Days

  • Gain clear expectations from your manager. What are the metrics of success? What does success look like? How does your manager prefer to communicate?
  • Learn about the company’s culture and unspoken norms. How are decisions made? How are meetings used? Are you expected to voice your opinion? If so, how and in what manner?
  • Network within your team, department, and company. Meet as many people as possible—go to coffee or lunch with them—but ask your manager or peers for advice on the best approach. During these meetings, show your curiosity and learn how each department and person contributes to the company’s mission and project goals. Build your brand. Show your willingness to contribute.  
  • Take initiative, but demonstrate the right amount of initiative. Do not come with problems; instead, offer suggestions. Ask for help in a productive way, when necessary.
  • Seek feedback. Make sure that your behaviors and performance are being seen in a positive way.

After 90 Days (and Ongoing)

  • Revisit your professional goals, both short and long term. Have they changed in the first three months of your employment? Confirm your perception of your strengths and areas of development.
  • Identify three skill- or knowledge-development areas, and create a tangible action plan with specific “to-dos” to move you forward. Tactical steps could be things like the following:
    • Volunteer for a committee or task force.
    • Offer to complete tasks outside your comfort zone.
    • Ask a colleague for help.
    • Sign up for an online course (from, General Assembly, Udemy, etc.).
    • Schedule time each week to track your accomplishments.
    • Carve out time each week to feed your curiosity or listen to the opinions of industry thought leaders.
    • Keep in touch with your mentors.

Have you been admitted to business school? If so, do you want to get a head start on defining your career goals? Do you need help preparing for job interviews or learning how to effectively network with your target employers? Or maybe you want to be a top performer in your current role but are unsure how to maximize your potential. Let an mbaMission Career Coach help via a free 30-minute consultation!

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