Monday, July 18, 2011

Starting a New Job - How to Make a Good First Impression

Today will be my first day at a new job. I am lucky and get to sort of transition into it and work part time this week, then start full time next week. Needless to say, I am very anxious! I was looking up how to make a good first impression on a first day of work and thought that I would share all of the things that I learned. It really put me at ease and I hope it helps any of you who are starting new jobs too!
Image from salary.com

1. Dress to impress. It is ok if you overdress. It is better to do that than be under dressed. On your first day you want to look professional. You can get an idea of the kind of style the office is after your first week or two but until you have a clear idea of what is considered appropriate and inappropriate, you should always dress conservatively, even more than what you think is conservative. On casual Friday you should still dress professionally. Do not wear flip flops ever! I know I know, I am guilty of wearing flip flops on Fridays as well but at a new job, which is hopefully better than what you had previously, you should invest in some nice flats for Friday.
Image from careersherpa.net

2. Arrive early and stay late. Never ever be late during your first month at least! This is the time that you want to show that you are reliable, timely, and a lot better of an asset than Joe who shows up 15-30minutes late every morning. You cannot undo your first couple of months and this is the time that will shape the company opinion of you. After a year people will still remember those first couple of months and how you were either a great employee or an unreliable one. Studies have shown that this time is what coworkers remember after years and that is what will make or break you. Make sure you leave your house early and plan ahead for traffic, accidents, getting lost, and anything else that could make you late. Also, make sure you stay past your designated end time. Not hours late, but 10-15 minutes just to show that you are committed to this job and you will do what it takes to get your work done. Leaving right at 5 o'clock on the dot shows that you would rather be somewhere else than at work and is not a great way to show your boss that you are #1 employee.

3. Do not talk about your previous job unless asked about it, and even then be courteous and refer to it as positively as you can. Even if it was the job from hell, you do not want to talk badly about it. This sends a negative message to your coworkers and will increase the likelihood that they will not look upon you favorably. Also, if it does come up, do not dwell on it. Say your bit about how it was a great learning experience and then change the subject. This is a new start and you should be thinking about the future with the new company, not the past. I know for me, I am just so excited about this new job that it puts a shadow on what I've learned at my previous/current job. I've been so busy looking at the benefits of the new job that I forgot what was so great about my old job. Make sure you take the time to remember why you started working for the previous company in the first place and how much you learned and grew there. Positives!!

4. Do not engage in office politics or gossip. You are still getting to know people and you do not know who amongst your coworkers know someone higher up. It's good to get an idea of who is who among the office staff but do not contribute at all to the gossip. If people try to gossip to you, be as neutral as Canada. You do not want anything to come back to bite you in the ass. In a big firm, like the one I am new to, there are so many people that I won't be able to learn who everyone is and their "rankings" in the office hierarchy for months probably. Anyone could personally know the CEO or someone who has more decision making power than my boss and my job could truly be on the line by engaging in office politics. It's good to get a heads up about people who have certain personality traits that may clash with my personality so that I can make sure to do everything I can to work well with that person(s) but that's all I need. No bad mouthing coworkers to other coworkers. Save that for my cat since he can't tell anyone :)

5. Ask for and accept help! It is ok to have a thousand questions on your first day. Obviously you don't want to ask them all because many can be answered by just observing others around you. But for those questions that you really need an answer for do not be afraid to ask for help. People are going to be more than willing to help you out (most people at least) and it shows that you are not a know-it-all or a stuck up bee-otch. It also makes people feel good when others ask them for help as long as it isn't a consistent every single time you have a question type of thing :) Personally, I will be taking tons of notes so that I don't have to ask repeat questions. If for some reason I do have to ask a repeat question I'll be sure to ask someone different haha!

6. Learn how to do things differently. It's ok to keep some habits from your previous job but mostly you should pick up the new way of doing things at the new job. You don't want to come in and try to change all of the standards that have been set for years. This will make coworkers hate you because most people really despise change, especially changing their work habits. It's great if you have some ideas on how to improve certain things, and in that case, wait a couple of weeks or a couple of months and then bring it up to your manager. If you do that, make sure you bring out the good parts of how things are going on currently, and then bring up how they can be improved. Still don't say "at my old job we did XYZ". You aren't at your old job anymore Dorothy :) Things for me are going to change drastically. I think maybe a couple things I will be able to retain that I am in the habit of doing. For instance submitting timesheets on Friday, no problem there. But other things like email, software and many many other things will have to be relearned by me and I'm betting that since this new company is literally a thousand times bigger than my current company, that the way they do things is quite a bit better than how I know how to do things from my previous job.

7. Smile. This is probably the most important. You want to seem approachable and friendly. You also want to show that you are happy to be at your new job and are excited about being there. Coworkers will also like you more if you seem happy and it will be contagious. I was told once that I brightened up the entire office just by having a great attitude and being happy all the time. It was a great compliment that I hope to get at this new company too!

6 comments:

  1. Great points everyone should know! Those shoes crack me up.

    Following from Moose & Tater hop.

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  2. HaHa...love the big shoes! I'll be starting a new job soon. These tips will be very helpful! Thank you for sharing!

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  3. I agree with all of these but I agree more with the 4rd and the last thing you said. If you engage in gossip, the tendency is you'll be subject to gossip too..and if you smile a lot, everyone will love you..Great ideas!

    Thanks for your lovely comments on my blog.

    Smiles from,

    Andy at wordsandpen.com

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  4. HI! I found you on Terri's Little Haven's Alexa Hop.
    Commenting to help you lower your alexa! Please comment back and help me lower mine too!
    I have a TON of giveaways right now in my July Archive on the right sidebar for some really great prizes, and way more coming soon too. If you have any you want to add to my linky, just click the tiger picture on the left sidebar underneath my top 3 popular posts! It will take you to my linky list! If you have a linky compilation feel free to add it.
    Anyway, besides all of that, just please comment back to help me lower mine. I have noticed a lot of people don't comment back, and you know, those ppl shouldnt add their names to alexa hop lists! Thanks!
    Have a great day and just say no to blocked captcha!

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  5. Thanks for the tips. I am happily NOT WORKING right now, but I will keep them in mind. I am commenting from your Stumble Upon blog hop! Thanks for hosting. If you stumble me, please stumble T is for the Triplets and Grace :)

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  6. Great tips! Stumbled over here, tweeted and follow you on Twitter now! Have a great weekend.

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