How to Make a Great Impression at Your New Job
By Angela Rose, Hcareers.com
Whew… the hard part is finally over. You’ve found a new job and it should be nothing but smooth sailing from now on. You have earned that sigh of relief, but don’t get too comfortable. In these days of “at-will” employment and probationary periods, landing the job doesn’t necessarily mean keeping it. It’s essential that you make a great impression as soon as possible, proving that you’re as fabulous as you appeared in your resume and interviews. Fortunately, if you use your common sense, it shouldn’t be too difficult.
1. Time is of the essence.
Don’t show up late on your first day (or your fifth). Don’t ask to leave early or take time off for doctor’s appointments. Unless you’re carrying the plague, don’t call in sick. And, whatever you do, don’t request immediate use of vacation time. Show your employer that you want to be at work, and that you take the job seriously. If you don’t do it now, you may find yourself without a chance to do so in the future.
2. Pay attention to your shoes.
And your pants, skirt, dress or whatever else you may be wearing. The first few days and weeks on the job are not the time to oversleep, throw on the first clothes you trip over and head to work without a shower. Appearance matters just as much now as it did in the interview. If your new company has a professional dress code, dress professionally. If it’s business casual, learn what that means. If there isn’t a dress code, notice what others wear. A good rule of thumb is to dress like your boss. If everyone else is running around in t-shirts and jeans, but the boss wears a suit, dress up as well.
3. Be friendly, but not too friendly.
If you’re an introvert, make an effort to get to know something about the people you’ll be working with. What are their names? What are their jobs? How long have they been working for the company? If you’re an extrovert, try not to demand attention. While you should show interest in your coworkers, those first few days are not the time to invite them to your home for dinner or clubbing on the weekend.
4. Have a positive attitude about everything.
You have a job! Be excited. Be enthusiastic. Even if the work you’re given the first few days is boring busywork, enjoy it! Now is not the time to show any disappointment, whine or complain. And don’t forget to show your appreciation to the coworkers responsible for training you. Remember that the time they spend with you means less time they can spend on their own duties, so be grateful and respectful.
5. Listen more than you talk.
Ask questions (about the company, your duties, what is expected of you) and then listen carefully to the answers. Take notes when tasks are explained, then do your best to complete them correctly the first time. It’s natural to make a few minor mistakes the first days and weeks on the job, but make sure they aren’t mistakes that could have been avoided by asking more questions or listening more carefully.
As the old adage goes, you only have one chance to make a first impression. The opinion your boss and other coworkers form of you in the first days and weeks on the job will be enduring and difficult to change later on. Make a great impression now and you’ll build a firm foundation for future success.
About the Author
Angela Rose researches and writes about job search strategy, career management, hiring trends and workplace issues for Hcareers.com.