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Career Counselor
Top Five Mistakes When Starting a New Job

July 2007 Assuming a new position can be one of the most rewarding and challenging periods in your career. To quickly become a valued member of an organization, you need to not only work hard at mastering your new responsibilities, but pay attention to your professionalism, attitude and enthusiasm on the job.

If you want your new career to start off on the right foot, avoid these top five career killers:

Trying to be a superhero. Recognize it will take time to master a new job and be successful in it. With your manager's input, create a list of objectives for the first few months on the job and establish a realistic timeline for meeting them.

Overlooking corporate culture. Just as every person has a unique personality, so does every business. Most commonly referred to as “corporate culture,” these characteristics and small nuances represent the unwritten rules of how an organization operates. By not paying attention to details such as noise level in your workspace, you can easily draw unwanted attention your way by addressing others or talking on the phone too loudly.

Bringing personal issues to the office. Considering how much time you will spend at your new job, it's inevitable that personal matters will sometimes follow you to work. However, keeping your personal business separate from matters on the job will help colleagues focus on your professionalism and competency rather than the more intimate details of your day-to-day life.

Dressing down now that you've landed the position. Every office has a dress code, and even if business casual is the tone of the organization, wearing attire that is overly informal may not be the best way to inspire confidence. You work hard to achieve top performance; don't let building a reputation for dressing unprofessionally stand in the way of your career advancement.

Discussing controversial topics. Some matters, such as your political, religious or social views are best kept out of the office. These discussions are invariably polarizing, and you always run the risk of offending or alienating others with your viewpoints.

Beginning a new job is never easy, but if you avoid some of the most common pitfalls, you can help create a positive start in any company and position yourself for future advancement opportunities.

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ACCOUNTEMPS is a specialized temporary staffing service for accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps provides support throughout an accounting department. Headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif., Accountemps and has more than 270 offices in North America, Europe and Australia. Accountemps' Career Counselor column, a SmartPros staple for over four years, is refreshed twice a month.

2007 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

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