When you start a new job, your goal is to make a good impression. Here are 8 ways to impress your new boss in the first 30 days.
If you’re looking to impress your new boss, I may have a few good insights for you. Recently, I was hired at Know Your Team, and – much to my surprise – I was shocked to learn that I had impressed our CEO Claire Lew, in a way I didn’t quite know I had in me.
Claire approached me back in March of this year to help with her podcast, The Heartbeat, and before I knew it, she asked me to come on full-time as Know Your Team’s Operations Manager. I’ve found that when you start an engagement for a new company or client, your first priority should always be asking yourself, “How can you impress your new boss?” But Claire’s offer still came as a surprise to me.
“What did I do so well?” I asked myself. Before I knew it, I had some answers which Claire thoughtfully took the time to tell me in my onboarding letter.
Long story short: I had made an impression.
Claire wrote to me:
“In the most simple terms: I was impressed while working with you. Ever since we began working together on the podcast, it became obvious to me that you produce excellent work. We highly value the ability to just execute, and I noticed your ability to do that immediately. You have a keen eye for detail (so important in your role!), adjusting things based on feedback – and you very quickly grasped our brand. Those are not easy things to do, so that really stood out to me.”
So on my Know Your Team Blog debut here, I’m sharing eight ways you can impress your new boss in the first 30 days of your employment.
#1: Ask yourself: “How can I exceed expectations?”
Chances are your new boss will have a serious backlog of work for you to be done when you are hired. Listen to them and take notes. Now, any decent boss will not expect you to wave your magic wand and make it all happen immediately…but you can make a lot happen, faster than you might anticipate. 🙂
When I originally started working with Know Your Team, there were 34 episodes of The Heartbeat that needed to be edited and remastered. Claire asked me to edit and remaster four old episodes of the show every month, as well as take on the future episodes she would be putting out twice each month.
I edited and remastered the four old episodes for the month the next day and let her know they were completed. After doing so, she expressed quite frankly that she was impressed – and that she in no way expected me to have them done so quickly. I’d exceeded her expectations with both the turnaround time and with the thoroughness that I’d completed the task. Because of it, Claire began to share with me with complex and interesting projects that I’d never imagine taking on before. The fulfillment in my own role has increased, accordingly. And it’s all because I asked myself, “How can I exceed expectations?” for the work I was producing.
#2: Display excellent writing skills.
Pay attention to your grammar and writing skills. Your written words reflect your thoughts – and you can impress your new boss by sharing these thoughts clearly and articulately. When you write well, you show your boss your clear thinking.
Writing with rampant spelling and grammatical errors, especially in a professional setting looks sloppy, and chances are the person on the receiving end of your writing and communication will notice. When you write carelessly – with mistakes and other issues – people won’t take you professionally, most critically being your new boss.
Slowing down and taking your time when you write, triple checking that names are spelled correctly, and asking for feedback on written, public-facing pieces (like blog posts!) are all things people who display excellent writing skills do.
#3: Accept feedback willingly.
Don’t get defensive when your new boss is giving you feedback. Even if it feels like the smallest, idiosyncratic detail – like changing the structure of a sentence – understand that your boss’s intention is likely to help, not hurt you.
Feedback isn’t meant to pick you apart and have you feeling bad about yourself. It’s your boss’s attempt to encourage you to grow. Part of my role at Know Your Team is running all of our social media. At one point in the first week of working together, Claire shared some feedback that a few posts on Twitter could be “sharper” and “pointier”. Instead of being offended or becoming overly self-conscious of my work, I willingly accepted her feedback – I saw it as immensely helpful. I then immediately started changing the tweets. Turns out emojis really make a difference in post engagement! 🌟
Accepting feedback willingly and going one step further by implementing it is a sure sign that you take your role seriously – and will definitely impress your new boss.
#4: Give feedback willingly.
Bosses aren’t perfect. The best ones want to help you. Help them help you by giving them feedback that will tell them how you can work to your best potential. I know it can be scary to tell a superior you don’t like something about their management style, the work that they have you doing, or being honest about your ability to pick up things up as fast as they want you to.
For example, I am learning SEO and it is an immense amount to take in. But my ability to learn SEO is something that could be a dramatic contribution to our team. I ran a few topics past her, and admittedly they did not have the punch nor power we were after. She came back to me with four suggestions for topics she knew I could write well on, and it was just what I needed. Therefore, I asked her if until I take the next few weeks to buckle down and really learn SEO, it would be super helpful if she gave me prompts on what to write about.
Giving honest feedback will impress your new boss and show them you want to succeed not only for yourself, but for the company at large.
#5: Be eager – but set expectations.
This may seem counterintuitive to the advice I gave above about exceeding deadlines to impress, but you do need to let your new boss know your ideal working schedule. For example, you should share your take on:
- Ideal working hours.
- What time of day you do your best work.
- Previous travel commitments you made and will have coming up during your first year on the job.
- If you have a kid/kids, that they and their schedules come first.
- Will you be available for weekend work?
These things can fluctuate. For example, my daughter is playing with a friend today and I’ve really got nothing better to do. My house is clean, laundry is done, etc. Therefore I’m putting in some work on a Saturday with college football playing in the background.
However, I told the Know Your Team when I started working for them that I don’t work weekends. Those are dedicated to my daughter, my family, and my friends. But, since she’s out and about, I’ve got some extra brain power to dedicate, and I want to use it productively. It’s an exception, not a norm.
#6: Be a “manager of one”.
Your boss hired you so you could do the job – and no one else. Thus, proving that you are capable of making decisions and working effectively on your own will surely impress your new boss.
During my first 30 days, I felt the need to run everything past Claire for her approval. However, getting her approval takes time away from the work she’s trying to accomplish. I very quickly realized that I had to have confidence in myself and that while she was there to support me if needed, I was fully capable of doing things without making sure all the things were “okay” first.
Being a “manager of one” (as so well put by the founders of Basecamp) is an enormous help to your team. You move the team forward in that they don’t have to check in with you as often. Your boss won’t feel compelled to micromanage you or unnecessarily hover over your work.
Afterall, your success is the degree to which you help your boss and help your team be successful.
#7: Be empathetic.
To impress your new boss, you must have empathy. We all have our days – good and bad – and we’re all going to screw up every now and then. Supporting your teammates builds trust and rapport, which makes working with them significantly easier.
For example, I lost my mom (age 55) only two years ago very suddenly. While I wasn’t working at Know Your Team at the time, I powered through my days at my current job and didn’t take any time off. My mental and physical health rapidly declined, and I almost ended up in the hospital. Having my boss gently say to me, “You should really take some time off,” would’ve made a huge difference in my world.
#8: Small gestures make meaningful impact.
Small gestures can go a long way. Send someone a small gift to show you care or as an act of gratitude. Or simply, let your teammates know that you are thinking of them by checking in and asking, “How’s life?”
When Claire pulled off the most meaningful, fun retreat ever (yes, you should be jealous), I got to know her in-person. When I was at her home, she showed me her record player which she described as one of her most prized possessions, gifted to her by her father. One of our “pure fun” activities was going to a concert. Claire is obsessed with Shakey Graves.
When I got home, I wanted to do something to show my gratitude for the past four days. I’m not exaggerating by saying I had an amazing time (while also feeling so accomplished and so productive and so ready to move this company along further). I sent Claire Shakey Graves on vinyl. Her joyous response was everything to me. She didn’t expect it, the act was thoughtful, meaningful, and something I knew deep down she would cherish. And I most importantly didn’t do it to “suck up”.
Whichever way you decide what the best ways are to impress your new boss, be eager about supporting your team. Don’t just do things to purely make yourself look good. Be genuinely invested. Put in effort. And don’t be worried about how your boss perceives you – focus on helping them succeed.