How to Create a 30/60/90 Plan for Your First Job

6/07/2022 by Sean Lynott, MBA, CDR

Congratulations to all recent graduates and those who will be finishing school soon! This is an exciting time in your life where the possibilities in front of you are only limited by your imagination. All the hard work in school has led to this moment where you can begin a successful career. I think back to many years ago when I was in your shoes. I was filled with excitement, uncertainty, and hope. It took me a little while to find my direction. Hopefully the advice in this journal will help you avoid potential pitfalls.

Many students will spend the bulk of their time on the following: creating a resume, researching companies, and interviewing. Those are three things that should absolutely be mastered! Having said that, I’d like to focus on what comes after all the hard work: the first few months on the job. When I found my ideal job, I was just happy to be there. I didn’t really have a plan for what came after. To make the most of your new job, it’s important to have a solid 30/60/90 plan. Let’s take a closer look at what that means, how to create one, and how to implement it.

What exactly is a 30/60/90 plan? Essentially, it’s an outline of what you plan to accomplish during your first three months on the job. The plan is a great way to assign goals for professional development, things you hope to learn, and metrics you want to achieve. The simplicity of the plan is that each segment focuses on specific tasks. The first 30 days on the job is a time to learn more about your teammates. It’s also a great time to learn more about your boss and their boss. Schedule time on their calendars and be clear with what you’re asking for. “Hi, this is Sean on your team. I was recently hired and would love to have a quick chat with you to better learn about your goals for the team and how I can contribute.” These conversations can be in person or over the phone (Zoom even). They can take place at work or the local coffee shop, have fun with it! The first 30 days is also when you should be learning how to use the tools for your job (computer programs, reports, etc).

For the next 30 days, the goals will become vaguer. This isn’t a bad thing! The second month is where you can anticipate being more comfortable with your job and the people you work with. This is the time to branch out and learn more about other teams in your larger family. If you’re in HR, maybe it’s a time to connect with someone in Talent Acquisition or Benefits. Like the first 30 days, reach out and try to put time on their calendars. Most people are flattered when another employee seeks them out for knowledge.

The last 30 days of the plan is where you really get ambitious. Personally, I find the last third to be the most fun when I’m building out a plan for myself. At this point, you should be very comfortable in your job and have a solid internal network to tap into. By now you should have developed longer term goals. Do you want to become a people manager? Is there another team you’d eventually like to be part of? Are there new projects that you want to take on? Even if you don’t achieve all these goals, it’s still fun writing them down.

Now that we understand what the plan is, how do we create it? Choose the best tool that works for you. There isn’t a right or wrong way to create your plan. For me, I utilize PowerPoint. The main reason is that I can dedicate a slide to each 30-day slot. It also helps me visualize the plan and make edits as needed. Once the first draft is done, have a friend or trusted colleague look it over. Another great resource is OneNote. This program is perfect for note taking and organization. You can make it as detailed as you wish with tabs and sub-sections.

We’ve researched what a 30/60/90 plan is, and we’ve built it out. Now comes the tricky section, how do we implement it? This is fun part! I recommend showing the plan to your supervisor during your onboarding week. It doesn’t have to be the first day, but it is advisable to do so sooner rather than later. Some people will wait until they have their first official one-on-one with their manager, this is also fine. Make sure that you’re open to feedback as this isn’t a one-way conversation.

The 30/60/90 plan is a great tool to have in your toolbox for your new job. With a little effort, you can clearly outline how you will be successful over the first three months at your new job. The beauty of this strategy is that it can be applied for any job in any industry. Remember too that the plan is a living document. Revisit the plan often and feel free to make changes to it as your grow. Keep track of what is working and what isn’t. It’s also fun to check things off as you achieve them. Don’t be like me, the guy who was just happy to be there, have a plan and follow through on it!