5 Goals to Achieve for First Year at Your New Job (Career Success)

First year on the job is an important time that can make or break your career.

In fact, these first 12 months in your new job will determine if you will succeed in your new workplace.


What do you want to accomplish in your first year on the job?

Although, you can always set your own goals. Here are a few important goals for you to achieve on your first year at your new job.

After making a great impression on your first day of work, these goals will help you to stay on track, stand out and thrive throughout your career!

Goals Setting Secrets! (Best pick from our other Articles!)

Actionable Goals for The First Year at New Job

1. Listen and Learn

85% of what we learn is through listening. Hearing what people are really saying is one of the most important skills you can have.

  • We listen to get information.
  • We listen to understand.
  • We listen to learn.

Your ability to listen can have a major impact on your job effectiveness, and the relationship you will have with your coworkers.

Even if you have lots of experience at your last job with the same job title. There will still be things that are performed differently, which requires you to listen and learn.

The worst mistake is to act like you know everything.

This can be seen as arrogant.

Yes, you can use what you’ve learned in the past and apply them.

But you should also listen to your coworkers who have been in the company longer than you.

Listen closely, because you may learn something that can help you improve on your work performance.

2. Make a Good First Impression

First impression is made in the first 7 seconds of the meeting, where an impression of your trustworthiness, competency, dominant, and overall personality will be formed. In 27 seconds of interaction, the impression of you will become solidified.

In fact, 7 out of 10 Americans tend to form a first impression of someone even before they speak.

First impression is the event when one person first encounters another person and forms a mental image of the person.

Making a great first impression is especially important during your first year at work, where you will probably meet someone new every day.


First impression always gives the most lasting impression.

Thus it is essential for you to know how to make a good first impression and what to avoid.

What makes the first impression?

First impression is made from 3 communication channels:

  1. Visual: Body language and facial expression.
  2. Verbal: The words used to communicate.
  3. Vocal: The tonality and the way we express our words to communicate.

Visual, verbal, and vocal contributes differently in forming the first impression.

  • Visual: 55 percent is made by what we see.
  • Verbal: 38 percent is how we hear the words communicated to us.
  • Vocal: 7 percent is what words are used to communicate the message.

What makes a good first impression?

Good first impression is to present yourself appropriately in a way that paints a positive light of who you are to someone whom you first meet. Great first impression can be made through a combination of a range of different factors.

Top 10 Ways to Make a GOOD First Impression:

  1. Smile Often: 53 Percent
  2. Be Polite: 53 Percent
  3. Well Spoken: 49 Percent
  4. Keep Eye Contact: 49 Percent
  5. Attentive Listening: 48 Percent
  6. Smell Pleasant: 46 Percent
  7. Communicate Well: 46 Percent
  8. Body Language: 44 Percent
  9. Pleasant Voice Tonality: 44 Percent
  10. Dress Appropriately: 42 Percent

What makes a bad first impression?

Bad first impression is to present yourself in a way that makes people think negatively about you. A bad impression can repel people from you and making them avoid having any interaction with you.

Worst ways to make BAD first impression:

  1. Bad/ Repulsive Smell: 66 Percent
  2. Being Arrogant ( Know-it-All): 62 Percent
  3. Dress Inappropriately: 49 Percent

3. Understand and adapt to the company culture

During your onboarding process, you’ll probably learn things like the company’s specific lingo and the overview of how things work in the company.

Understanding Company’s Culture

During your first year with the company, learn about your company’s organizational chart and get to know how the company is organized.

These organization charts can help you to understand how is the company structured, and who to approach when you need any information or assistance.

Adapting into Company’s Culture

The best way to adapt to the company’s culture is to be more involved into the company’s related activities.

  • Join and participate company’s community groups; such as helping out in the annual dinner, or participate as a community member to help organize activities for the company.
  • Participate in company organized activities and social gatherings.
  • Join established activities such as simple lunch or dinner with the team.

Understand and adapt to the company culture is important especially during your first year in the workplace.

4. Build a Network

Knowing all the names and roles of just the people in your team is not enough. You need to get out of your comfort zone and get to know people beyond your social circle.

Get to know people from other departments, schedule a meetup, have some small talk, and probably exchange your contacts.

Chances are, you will be working with employees of the company outside of your team.

Networking at the workplace in 5 Steps:

  1. Introduce yourself: Just make a simple introduction by saying who you are, what you do, and speak clearly while keeping good eye contact and posture. You can read examples on, “how to introduce yourself” in our other article.
  2. Ask questions: Think about developing a genuine curiosity about the other person. What do they find exciting in their role? What keeps them up at night? What do they like to do during their free time? Let your curiosity lead the conversation.
  3. Make a connection: When you find something common between you and the person, this will make a connection that can help build rapport. This connection can be; today’s weather, place you stay, place you like to visit, hobbies you like to do, or events you’ve attended. The connection can make the conversation engaged, which allows the conversation to flow with energy and excitement.
  4. 2 Way Communication: A good 2 way communication is an exchange of freely shared ideas and opinions that allows both sender and receiver listen to each other. Talk about what you do in simple terms, take away the industry jargon and abbreviations. Listen 70 percent of the time and talk 30 percent of the time.
  5. Exit Gracefully: If the conversation went well, just exchange your contact or business cards. If the conversation doesn’t go as planned, just say your goodbyes and leave the conversation in a polite and respectful manner. In any case, there is no need to pretend that you’ve spotted someone in order to extract yourself from the conversation.

Networking will help you advance in your career and aid you in gaining access to more opportunities. Networking in the company opens the opportunity for you to find a mentor, a friend, or a future professional reference when you decide to quit and apply for a job elsewhere.

5. Set Long Term Career Goals

During your first year in the new company, you may start to slowly understand your company a little better, and gain an idea of where you want to be in the future.

You may want to set long term career goals for your career.

Goals that you want to achieve at the end of your first year with the company, and subsequently 3 years and even 5 years with the company.

It is advisable to set these goals during your first 3 months in your new job.

Subsequently, update your career goal after 6, and 12 months into your new job.


If you are in a sales job:

“I want to be the top salesman by the end of 12 months, and advance into the team leader position by the end of 3 years in this job.”

If you are an accountant:

“I want to understand our company’s operation and build great rapport with all our suppliers and vendors by the end of 6 months. I will lead cost saving projects that will save our company’s expenses by 30% by the end of 1 year. Promoted to account manager after 3 years with the company.”

However, keep in mind that these goals should align with your employer’s objective.

Bonus: Remind Your Boss Why They Hire You

Making an impact at work to prove that you are worth hiring is probably the most important goal you’ll need to achieve in your first year at your new job!

Show your boss what you are really capable of, show them that you can exceed expectations and perform exceptionally in your role.

Prove to your boss that they’ve made the right choice by hiring you!

The first 12 months at your new job is the best time for you to quickly set the tone on what kind of professional you are.

Use your capabilities to get noticed for all the right reasons that can skyrocket your career.

Concentrate on what you’ll need to do to make a difference.

Finally, gain job satisfaction that will carry you into the following year and beyond!

Why Set Goals for Your New Job?

Goal setting is the first step for us to create success in our careers. Goals give our career direction and help us stay focus and motivated for a long period of time.

Goals can be small or big, but both are milestones that can give you satisfaction when you’ve achieved them. Goals are the driving force that allows you to move on and become better at what you do.

Your goals for the first your on the job is more than just productivity; they should include gaining respect, trust, and credibility. An outstanding employee requires much more than technical skills.

New Employee First Year Goals:

  1. Listen and learn
  2. Make a good first impression
  3. Understand and adapt to the company’s culture
  4. Build a professional network
  5. Set long term career goals
  6. Remind your boss why they hire you

Although you can have as many goals as you like, these goals will maximize your first year on the job and help you succeed in your career!

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