Engineering is a challenging, rewarding career, one that requires a huge amount of hard work, strict self discipline and, most of all, passion.
Making it to the top, in whichever area you have chosen to specialise, takes time—but it is never too early to start laying the groundwork for your future success. Here, we are going to look at some of the key things you can do in the first 60 days in your new role to set yourself on the right path.
Establish Your Role
Before you can do your best work, you have to know exactly what is expected of you. Arrange a meeting with your manager early on, to ensure you understand where you fit in to the company’s structure, the results you need to achieve and precisely how those results will be measured.
The engineering field is a dynamic, fluid environment, so your responsibilities can often change as your time within your role progresses—make sure you keep on top of it and discuss any alterations with your senior team.
Develop Your Network
In the first few weeks in your new role, try and learn as much as you can about the company and especially the people, both in your own team, as well as in different departments. Take the initiative and introduce yourself, be interested in projects others are working on, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Be a team player, make yourself useful and adapt to new challenges. Getting to know your co-workers and how they work will create a productive workplace.
You would have discussed career development opportunities in your interview, so now you are in the role is it important to get stuck into learning all the skills you need. Make sure you are aware of all the opportunities available within your new company for your continued development such as internal training and mentoring programmes. It is also important to sign up to relevant industry publications, stay on top of industry news and developments, and keep an eye out for suitable courses and training opportunities that will keep you ahead of the pack.
There is perhaps no other industry where the rate of change is more rapid than with engineering. Demonstrating your eagerness to continue your own professional learning and develop new skills will set you apart as a driven, goal-orientated individual.
As well as being proactive within your own company, making yourself visible in the industry at large is a major step towards continued success. Wherever possible, attend relevant conferences and seminars. Monitor what your local universities and organisations are working on and get involved with events that are put on. Take as many opportunities as you can to get your face and name known in the engineering community—not only is it good for you and your own career, it is also good for your new employer.
Don’t Try and Do it All
It can be tempting to take on any and all tasks when you are just starting out in a new role and are trying to make a great impression. However, overloading yourself with work will quickly lead to burn out and sub-standard results.
Instead, try and find the balance between pushing yourself to learn new things and stretching yourself to breaking point. One of the biggest mistakes people make in their early careers is assuming they have to know everything. It is vital you get comfortable asking others for help and advice when you need it, rather than trying to wing it on your own.
Do Outstanding Work
This one really goes without saying. Develop your technical skills, your critical thinking skills, and work hard. Engineers solve problems, and that usually involves a degree of risk-taking. Some of the risks will pay off, others will fail. Those who have never failed aren’t trying hard enough.
Loyalty and longevity are key success indicators in the field of engineering, it is vital to show that you can see projects through from conception to completion in order to progress in your career. Hit the ground running in your new role, keep a positive attitude and the results, and accolades, will follow.
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