How to make a great first impression at a new job?

Learn how to make a great first impression at a new job?
Submitted by Mehak Aggarwal, on February 09, 2023

First impressions are very important, especially for a job seeker. You've already started down that path by acing your interview and presenting a great, strong resume. Now that you have finally scored that job you were aiming for, the impressions you make on your first day at work hold a lot of importance.

We have some tips that could help you nail the first impression business, and potentially help you avoid some common mistakes that most people end up making. Read on to find out what you can do.

Top tips to make a great first impression at a new job

1) Dress properly and professionally

Of course, how you dress is very important during your job interview, but now that you are on your way to your new job, how you dress matters yet again. This can significantly impact how you are perceived when it comes to first impressions.

In general, three categories of clothing are expected and approved: professional, business casual, and casual.

  • Professional: This typically includes suits and ties. It is a more traditional attire mostly expected in financial industries and banking etc.
  • Business Casual: This is one step down from professional attire. You can opt for a formal shirt and khaki pants or something similar. This is for professions like engineering, accounting, and marketing, etc.
  • Casual: This is the most basic, which includes jeans and a casual shirt. This is for professions like editors and photographers etc.

2) Take Initiative

No company will give you the most important or the biggest jobs on your first day. You will mostly be getting small tasks that you would be able to achieve easily, without getting too overwhelmed. The moment you feel comfortable with the tasks that have been given to you, you should take the initiative to ask for bigger responsibilities. It shows that you are always ready to take on new challenges and learn new things even if they are out of your comfort zone.

3) Arrive on time and leave late

It is always appreciated to be on time, but it would be even better if you come in a bit early. This would help you avoid the last-minute rush, and help you settle down before your work starts. On the other hand, don't try to clock out early. For your first couple of days, try not to look at the clock and stick to the exact amount of hours of work that you were told would be required. Stay in a bit late and finish your work. Even if you are done for the day, do not try to leave on time.

Once you understand the office culture better, you will be able to readjust your work hours. However, in the beginning, spending longer productive hours at work is a sure-shot way of making a great first impression. This will also show your bosses that you are eager to learn and are willing to put in the hard work whenever required.

4) Have a good, positive attitude

Everyone loves to be around positive people. The same is the case in a workplace, where you spend most of the hours of your day. You should interact with everyone politely and enthusiastically, and it should reflect in how you carry yourself. Let everyone see that you are a great person to work with, and a great addition to the company. There are times when you have some personal problems going on in your life, but leave them at home and come to the office with a positive mindset. You wanted to be a part of this company, and now that you are here, show your enthusiasm.

5) Learn and remember your coworker's names

You are not expected to learn everyone's names on your first day, but don't go about forgetting your coworkers' names. If you do it too much, it may come across as disrespectful. If you are bad with names, now if the time to put in that effort to learn the names of the people you will be working with.

You can try to write down small notes about the people you meet next to their names. When you get a little time, you can refer to these notes to remember their names. This will help you memorize names and little things about your coworkers in a short amount of time.

6) Go to orientation, and take notes

Most companies have an orientation session for their new employees. In these sessions, you get some training on your job profile and get to learn more about the company and the people who work in it. You may also be provided with an onboarding manual, so read through it thoroughly. Take notes on all the rules of the organization and the way it functions. The more you participate, the more you will learn about your new organization. Your participation also reflects your enthusiasm and ambition and shows how eager you are to be a part of the team.

7) Try to learn everything about your new employer and organisation

You will get the opportunity to learn about your new employer every step of the way. You must have already done your homework when you were preparing for your interview, but there are always new things to learn. Grab every opportunity you get to get as much information about them as possible.

Learn more about the organization by reading the manuals provided to you and on the company website. You can also get a lot of information on the internet right at your fingertips. You can also find media articles or read reviews written by others.

8) Don't take leaves or call in sick

This is very important. Do not start taking leaves right after you are hired, even if it is a sick leave. You just got hired, so if you end up taking leaves, it would leave a very bad impression on your employer and coworkers. All your focus should be on your work and not on taking leaves. This is the time to put in all the hard work and extra hours. Plan your holidays a couple of months after you settle into your work and after you are well versed with the company.

9) Don't just talk, listen

On your first day of work, you should put 90% of your energy into listening to what is being told and said. This can be extremely hard for some people, especially those who are extroverts. If you keep talking too much on your first day, you will be looked at as a ‘know it all', or as someone who always tries to hog the spotlight. It will leave a very bad impression on everyone around you and protect you in a negative light. If you want to make a great first impression, focus on listening instead of talking. Listening would also help you learn more about the organization, your employer, and your peers.

10) Find a mentor

On your first day, you will be introduced to the senior staff. Take this opportunity to find a person in the organization who can be a mentor to you. Try to form this mentorship bond because it will help you in more ways than you can think. It will not just help you understand your workspace better, but will also help you advance in your career within the organization.

11) Be Organised

You need to keep a track of all the meetings, appointments, projects, and assignments. You also need to keep your desk and space clean and organized. Cleanliness is extremely important. If you are untidy and unorganized, now is the time to change your old habits.

If you are someone who has trouble organizing, you can get a planner or use an online calendar to keep a track of everything. Other than this, you can simply write down important notes and to-do lists so you don't forget anything. There are many other ways of organizing that you can adapt, that are best suited for you.

12) Set new goals

As you progress, make and set new goals for you to achieve. You are starting at the bottom, and you should aim to take a step forward every day. What is important to you today may be different from what will be important to you six months down the line. Either way, you should always strive to move forward instead of being stuck in one place. This will help you grow and your progress will also be noticed and appreciated.

13) Network: both inside and outside of the organisation

At work, you should always take every opportunity to network with the people in and outside of your workplace. Attend staff meetings, conferences, and trade shows. This will allow you to meet new people and interact with your colleagues. This will help you understand your peers better and also help you identify mentors in your organization.

It is also important to make connections outside of the organization. You should not put all your focus on your colleagues and cut them out from the outside world. Even if you are part of a company, do not stop networking. You have a life outside of work and you should not let that go.

14) Stay away from office politics or gossip

Workplaces can be full of politics and gossip. Any place that has a variety of people working together is bound to have a lot going on. Be sure to avoid getting involved in gossip and office politics, especially on your first day. If you get involved in this, it will leave a very bad first impression. You will eventually be exposed to this, but try to avoid it as much as possible especially in your initial days. As mentioned before, on your first couple of days you should be entirely focused on your work.

15) Ask for help and ask questions

You are not expected to have all the answers on your first day, but you will be appreciated if you take the initiative of asking questions or asking for help wherever you need it.  It is always better to ask, instead of doing something wrong.

Communicate openly with your seniors and coworkers, and listen to what is being told. Raise any concerns instead of sitting quietly in a corner. If you get stuck somewhere, there is no harm in voicing it and asking for a little help. It also shows that you are interested in learning new things you don't know.

16) Respect your seniors and coworkers

Respecting the people you work with is very important, as it will help you get along better with your coworkers. No one wants to work with a disrespectful person, and it will project you negatively in front of your seniors and bosses. Do not be uncivilized towards anyone. Also, do not take any credit that does not belong to you. Along with this, share the workload of your coworkers, as there will be a time when you will be on the other end where you will need someone's help. If your words or actions ever offend someone, make sure you apologize and do not repeat your mistakes.

Final Thoughts

Being a new person is very challenging, but also extremely exciting. While it is important to make a good first impression, do not stress yourself too much over it. If you try to put too much effort, it will be unnatural and it will reflect negatively in front of others.

Keep an open mind and be willing to learn because there will be a lot to learn. How you conduct yourself on your first day will set the tone for how others perceive you. If you come across a good person, people will try to make good connections with you and this will help you in the long run. These are only a couple of points that can help you with making a good first impression, but if you have other ideas that you think may work well for you, don't hesitate to try them.

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