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Connect with key influencers early on

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When you start a new job, you need to know the people who get things done, have strong ideas and can point you in the right direction as you do your job. You definitely want to connect with them, but they aren’t always pointed out to new employees.

It’s important to get a jump on identifying these networks as soon as possible after you’re hired, says Sharon Small of Empowering Suc­­cess Career Coaching and Con­­sult­­­­ing.

“The probationary period, whether it is 90 days or six months, is critical for establishing the right impression when starting a new position and forging relationships key to your career success,” she says.

A traditional organizational chart isn’t always helpful when trying to identify who the most effective employees are, says Chris Ostoich, founder of BlackbookHR. “It doesn’t show effectiveness, relationships or connectedness.”

People who hold top positions in these informal networks tend to be ambivalent about getting recognition for what they do, Ostoich says. These influencers may shun the limelight in order to focus on what they consider important and interesting work. And that can make them hard to identify.

Look for people who appear well respected, have strong internal and external connections and who make valuable contributions during meetings, Small says. “Sign up for special projects and join groups that will give you the opportunity to interact with leaders outside your specific area.”

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