How to make a good first impression in a new job
We’ve all heard the old adage that you will never get a second chance to make a first impression. When you’re starting at a new job, it’s even more vital that the impression be a positive one.
When you set off at a new workplace – whether it’s at a manufacturing plant or a Fortune 500 firm – there are always new names to learn, new processes to understand, new technologies to master and new teams to work with. On top of all the novelty, there is added pressure to impress your boss, forge relationships with coworkers and pass the probationary period. Every workplace is different and job expectations vary from employer to employer, but there are good judgments you can exhibit to ensure you get off on the right foot no matter what your role, including:
- Arrive on time and work full days
- Introduce yourself to everyone you meet
- Have a positive attitude and open body language
- Dress professionally and appropriately for your new position
- Ask questions, take notes and seek training
- Take initiative and prioritize tasks
- Respect company time
- Proofread your emails
- Keep your desk area tidy and observe kitchen etiquette.
Along with the common sense behaviors listed above, there are also steps you can take to not only make a good first impression, but also excel in your new role!
Michael D. Watkins — author of The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter — spoke to Forbes about impressing managers and colleagues during the crucial first 3 months of a new role.
Watkins recommends that you place as much emphasis on building relationships with coworkers and managers as you do focusing on technical job skills. Networking across departments and roles will help you fit into the company culture, find a mentor and connect with people who can help you as you’re learning the ropes. It will also give you a head start on forming lasting and beneficial work relationships.
Some of Watkins’ other important suggestions are:
- Do not brag about your accomplishments at your past company.
- Build trust by delivering on your commitments.
- Consider temporarily rearranging your work-life balance while you prove yourself and gain speed.
- Know your weaknesses and try to strengthen them through training. Offer a skills exchange to someone who can teach you.
- Prioritize the tasks that will let you succeed in the job, not necessarily the ones you like to do the most.
- Work within your boss’s managerial style and expectations – especially in the first 3 months. Communicate honestly and frequently. Ask him or her for advice when needed. If a problem arises, approach your boss early and be prepared with solutions.
- Be flexible and adaptable. Your skills and ways of doing things from your past role may not be what is needed for success in the new position.
- Try and secure “an early win”. Take on a project which you can lead or be heavily involved in. Include and learn from the relevant stakeholders. Try to make demonstrable improvements or success in the project within your first 90 days.
First impressions are essential and can often be lasting. A good impression can lead to a thriving career, whereas bad impressions may unintentionally make your new role harder and keep you from future opportunities. The mindful steps above will help build a good rapport with colleagues and gain respect from mangers as you undoubtedly become more comfortable and confident in your new position.