As many professionals have learned the hard way, first impressions often last. That's why it's critical to put your best foot forward during the first few weeks at a new job. Following are some common (but potentially career-limiting) mistakes that new hires make -- along with tips on how to avoid them:
* Failing to adapt quickly.
One of the most critical duties for any new employee is to be an astute observer of corporate culture. In addition to what's highlighted in the company handbook, what are the unwritten rules? Do workers tend to communicate face-to-face or via email? Is work taken home? Do people eat at their desks? Are personal photographs on display?
The longer it takes you to take notice and adjust, the longer you'll be viewed as "the new kid on the block."
* Not asking questions.
Many new employees are hesitant to ask questions because they're afraid of being perceived as pesky or uninformed. It's far worse, however, to make incorrect assumptions about priorities, policies or procedures. Ask questions early and often.
During your first week on the job, for instance, be sure to clarify expectations with your supervisor. What assignments should you tackle first? How will your performance be evaluated? When and how should you provide project status updates? How often can you expect feedback to ensure that you're on the right track?