First impressions are important. I learned the importance of first impressions while looking for a job. Learning how to build a resume made you a great one. During the interview process, you made another great one. The first impression you make on your first day at a new job is again crucial now that you’ve accepted the job.
Here are 10 tips for helping you make a great impression on your first day at work, and avoid the mistakes typically associated with starting a new position.
1. Be appropriately dressed
If there is a dress code at the office, be sure to ask. A suit is probably not necessary unless you work in law or finance. However, even if you’re just starting out, you should have a neat and professional appearance. It’s best to avoid anything meant for the gym, ripped, or showing a lot of skin.
To help guide you, observe what your coworkers and manager wear. If you’re working remotely, make sure you look pulled together in your video. When you’re on camera, make sure your sweatpants can’t be seen.
It’s always better to overdress than underdress.
2. Maintain a positive attitude
A positive attitude is the best way to make a great first impression at work. Everyone you interact with should sense your enthusiasm for being part of the team and the organization.
Concentrate on radiating your enthusiasm for this new professional opportunity and leave your personal problems at home.
3. Identify coworkers’ names quickly
No one expects you to know everyone’s name by the end of the first day at work, but if you have trouble remembering names, now is the time to start practicing.
Make sure you collect the business cards of everyone you meet. Write a few notes on the back of the card when you have a moment to spare. Mention some interesting facts about the person. Then, periodically, review the cards to remind yourself of the new members of the team. This technique can often assist you in learning names faster.
4. Ask questions/request help
It’s normal to have questions on your first day at work, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is better to ask a question before spending time completing a task in the wrong way.
Speak openly with your supervisors about any concerns you may have and listen to your coworkers. In your first weeks and months at a new job, no one expects you to know it all.
5. Take notes as you listen
Take your first few weeks at a new job as if you were in school. If you want to remember the inundation of information you’ll receive, take notes. Keep a notebook and pen handy at all times and bring them with you to all meetings.
Taking notes and actively listening is always the best practice, even after a few weeks. Therefore, establish good habits early.
6. Don’t use your phone
Our phones seem to be with us 24/7, but resist the urge to check your phone at work. When your boss walks by, you don’t want to appear distracted or unfocused. If you receive an important call, excuse yourself from the office and take your phone outside. Otherwise, wait until lunchtime before scrolling.
7. Get to know your new employer as much as possible
In theory, you should have already done your homework for the interview, but once you are on the inside, there is always a lot more to learn.
On your first day at work, get an employee handbook and study it. Become an expert in your organization by reading reports and literature. A press page on your new company’s website or on an internet news website may also contain great information.
8. Minimize the use of company time for personal matters
Most employees conduct some personal business on company time, including checking email, making dinner reservations, texting, and shopping online. Stay focused on your job on the first day – especially as far as personal business is concerned.
Take a break from your desk if you need to make a personal call. Making a reservation or handling other business online should be done quickly, discretely, and preferably from your mobile phone.
9. Show your appreciation
At work, it’s important to show your appreciation for the help you receive from others. Being kind and genuine are the perfect ways to show appreciation.
During your first week at work, show your gratitude to everyone who helps you learn the ropes – from your colleagues to the receptionists to the human resources department. By showing your gratitude to those who helped you get acclimated, you will make a favorable first impression.
If you want to express your appreciation, simply say ‘thank you.’ You might also like to follow up your verbal appreciation with a handwritten note, or an email. Consider treating the person to lunch, or purchasing a small gift (such as cookies) if they have gone out of their way for you.
10. Networking, both inside and outside the office
By attending staff meetings, professional organization conferences, and trade shows, take advantage of every chance to network with key people at work. Network with colleagues in your field whenever possible. Connecting with key people in your organization can help you identify potential mentors.
You can stay ahead in your field by joining an organization or taking additional classes outside of work. The fact that you have a new job does not mean that you should stop networking. You should continue managing and growing your network of contacts even when you start a new job.