Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

5 Mistakes New Hires Can't Afford to Make

By Maurie Backman – Apr 6, 2018 at 6:32AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

New to your job? Don't fall into these traps.

Starting a job is both exciting and nerve-racking. Whether it's your first job or your fifth, there are certain mistakes you'll want to avoid early on at your new company. Here are a few big ones.

1. Being too cocky

It's natural to want to come off as smart when you first join a firm. But don't cross the line from intelligent to conceited -- you'll not only annoy your new boss, but also alienate your colleagues in the process. A better bet? Accept other people's input early on, even if you're confident you have things covered. You never know when you might learn something pivotal, and even if you don't, a little humility will help you start off on the right foot.

Woman working at a desk in an office

Image source: Getty Images.

2. Not asking for help

When you're new to a job, the last thing you want to do is appear incompetent. But remember, there's a learning curve whenever you start a new role, and if you don't swallow your pride when you have questions, you'll risk making a major mistake that could cause you to come off as ill-informed and irresponsible. So rather than aim to go it alone, ask questions when you're not sure how to approach a particular task. If your boss isn't available, turn to your peers. Chances are, you'll find someone willing to help.

3. Hiding mistakes

Maybe, despite your best efforts, you botched an assignment early on that's apt to make you look bad. Tempting as it may be to cover it up, don't do it. You never know what repercussions might ensure, and if you don't try to learn from your error, you're likely to repeat it. So take a deep breath, march over to your boss's office, and own up to your blunder. If anything, your manager will probably appreciate your honesty.

4. Not requesting feedback

It's hard to gauge your own performance when you're new to a role, but that can be problematic for a couple of reasons. First, if you don't know where you stand, you won't have a chance to do better if needed. Second, the more time you spend doubting your abilities, the more mental energy you'll waste. Therefore, it pays to initiate a sit-down with your boss early on if your manager doesn't suggest one. This way, you'll get the feedback you need at a time when it can truly make an impact.

5. Not being friendly

When you're new to a job, it's natural to focus on the work at hand, as opposed to devoting your attention to the people you're working with. But while you don't necessarily need to befriend your co-workers from the get-go, you should at least make an effort to get to know them. Rather than keep your head down during those early weeks, pop over to different people's desks and introduce yourself. If you're not great at small talk, initiate conversation in the context of needing help with a problem and see where that goes. You never know when a courteous colleague might help you out of a jam, so don't play it too cool in the beginning.

Starting a job on the right foot can set the stage for success. Avoid these mistakes, and with any luck, that transition will be smooth.

The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 10/05/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.