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How to stand out at your new job

Making a good impression by building rapport

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By: Corey Cines
User Icon CPA, PwC

So you just started at your firm (as an intern or associate) and you’ve got big plans to set yourself apart from the potentially 30+ new hires you’re starting with.

As you look around, you may have noticed pretty much every one of them is type A, has strong credentials, and is doing what they can to be the best. So that brings up that million-dollar question: “How can I stand out from the rest of the group?”

Here are three tips on daring to be different:

Tip #1: Learn about your colleagues

The new associates or interns who develop the strongest relationships with their colleagues and see them as real people, not superhero accountants, are the ones who develop the quickest.

Accounting—whether it is tax, auditing or advisory—is a whole new language. If you have a rapport with your coworkers, and see them as your peers, you’ll feel comfortable asking the “stupid” questions that new members to the firm have to ask early on in the game. The newbies who can admit when they’re lost early on learn the fastest. And bonus: They’ll quickly start to see you as one of the team.

Tip #2: Volunteer for committees

Becoming part of committees in your community—at your firm or even at local non-profits—are great ways to expand your network and work with people you don’t normally cross paths with, develop a skillset you are hoping to improve on, and demonstrate that you are willing to go the extra mile for the firm or a cause you believe in. If you are hoping to develop your accounting skillset, you can even differentiate yourself as a subject matter expert by contributing to a committee or group that specializes in that area.

Keep in mind that when review time comes around, you’ll be compared to your peers who are all on similar day-to-day engagements. Sometimes the only way to separate from the pack is by showing your involvement in activities besides the 9 to 5.

Tip #3: Have hobbies

The quickest way to be forgotten is to just be that guy (or gal) who always wants to talk about work. Not only are hobbies critical for maintaining sanity while working a stressful job, they also make you more interesting and help you connect with your colleagues.

If work is the only thing that comes to mind when you’re making coffee and small talk, you need a hobby … and quick. Having a big European vacation, a rock-climbing trip or even what you are growing in your garden to discuss can help you find commonalities with your coworkers.

Want to kill two birds with one stone? How about getting involved in an active hobby that makes you healthier, happier and someone people want to talk to.

Need more ideas on how to be succeed in the workplace? Find out how to balance your ambitions with proper nutrition.

Corey Cines is an assurance senior associate at PwC in the Private Company Services practice. He works on audits of large private clients across the sports, hospitality and asset management industries in the Washington, D.C., area. Corey serves as a board member of the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School as well as the former alumni committee chairman, and member of the development and audit committees. He also serves on the board of Leveling the Playing Field, a local non-profit, and Wise Guy Ventures, a technology start-up.
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