11 rookie mistakes to avoid during the first year of your new job

  • Mary Caldwell
  • For the AJC
Dec 15, 2017

Whether you're in your first job straight out of college or are a seasoned professional starting with a different company, your first year can set the tone for success or failure. 

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Early mistakes can be difficult to overcome and can torpedo your career in the longer term.

The following are 11 rookie mistakes you'll want to avoid during the first year of your new job:

Ignoring the office culture

Each office has its own way of doing things, and it's part of your job to learn the culture of the organization you're becoming a part of, according to Fortune. Focus on what the company's priorities are, who the decision-makers are and how they arrive at their conclusions. Even if your goal is to change the organization, you'll first have to learn how to fit in.

Trying too hard

Although it's tempting to try to prove your worth immediately, trying to do this too fast can make you look arrogant, Fast Company advises. Instead, ask a lot of questions, which will help you learn the ropes as well as build trust with your colleagues.

Not clarifying expectations

The Public Relations Society of America recommends meeting with your manager to discuss your responsibilities, priorities, how your performance will be evaluated and how your role fits into the company's goals. You'll also want to request ongoing feedback to ensure that you're staying on the right track.

Forgetting relationship-building

You can start a new job with a plan for success, but you can't leave people out of the equation, according to Time. Know whose help you need to get your work done, and build productive relationships with these employees.

Taking on more than you can handle

In an effort to prove your worth, you may be tempted to take on more responsibility than you can handle. Experteer.com recommends that you make sure you can handle your workload and you're properly trained for new tasks, or you could be setting yourself up for failure.

Failing to listen

You may start a new job trying to show what you know, but don't dominate conversations, Time warns. Instead, listen to others, who can guide you with valuable input.

Talking about your previous employer

Think of your former employer as a previous boyfriend or girlfriend. Your current significant other doesn't want to be compared to your ex, and your present employer doesn't want to hear constant comparisons to your old company. You can mention things that worked at your former employer, but be helpful, not pushy, Experteer.com says.

Turning down invitations

Building bonds with your new colleagues is an important skill, so if you're invited to lunch, Bubble Jobs says you should take the opportunity. Otherwise, you could find that you're not asked again and will find yourself out of the loop.

Exaggerating your skills or experience

Don't act as if you know more than you do, Fast Company warns. Embellishing your skills and experience will come back to haunt you, so if you don't know something, own up to it and learn about it.

Holding back

Dawn Zier, the CEO of Nutrisystem, told Fortune that learning the ins and outs of the whole company is important. You should make time to meet people in all departments and hit the ground running and working collaboratively. Don't be afraid to ask constructive questions, but make sure they're well thought-out and that you listen carefully to the answers.

Over- or under-sharing

You shouldn't share your entire life story with your colleagues, but you also don't want to talk only about work, according to The Muse. Strike the right balance between over-sharing and being too silent, which can make you harder to relate to and make you seem arrogant or aloof.