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First Day of Work? Make a Great Impression!
Sarah Brodsky / APRIL 26 2021
Summary

It’s understandable if you feel nervous about your first day at a new job when many eyes will be on you and the people you meet might make some snap judgments about your capabilities. But making a good first impression is usually within reach because expectations for new hires are pretty standard wherever you work. Many of the factors that go into a good impression are really just common sense. 

Follow the dress code

Your first day at a new job isn’t the right time to make a bold fashion statement. If your new workplace has a uniform or dress code, stick to it closely. Don’t test boundaries. There might be some gray areas that aren’t covered in the dress code, but you should wait for clarification rather than trying out a look that your manager might frown upon.

After you’ve been in your new position for a few weeks, you’ll have a better sense of which sartorial choices will be acceptable on the job. In the meantime, it’s best to dress conservatively, in a way that isn’t going to make waves.

Arrive a few minutes early

Showing up late on the first day of work would definitely make a negative impression, so plan to get to your new workplace about 15 minutes early. It’s also a good idea to check commute times on Google maps (or another navigation app) and to review the route you’ll need to take beforehand. 

Ask questions

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.” This is especially true on your first day of work. You’re not expected to know everything about your new job when you’re just starting out, and it would actually be weird if you did.

Asking questions makes a great impression because it indicates that you care about the new job, that you’re eager to learn more, and that you realize your new colleagues have a lot to teach you. 

Take notes

You’ll probably be given a lot of new information on your first day. Rather than relying on your memory, bring a small notepad or use a note-taking app so you can jot down the important facts.

Your new manager and coworkers will be impressed that you are taking the time to record the finer details of your new role. Plus, having written notes allows you to review the information when you get home, so you’ll be better prepared for your second day of work.

Learn your coworkers’ names

People like it when a new colleague learns and uses their name. Learning your coworkers’ names shows respect for them and demonstrates that you prioritize interpersonal relationships

When you hear a teammate’s name for the first time, repeat it back to them. They can tell you if you misheard or if you’re not pronouncing it correctly, and saying it aloud will help you remember. You could also write down people’s names, which is especially helpful if there are a lot of new names to learn.

Throughout your day, try to use everyone’s names a couple of times. If you forget a name, just ask again. It’s much less embarrassing to ask someone to repeat a name during your first few days at work than to admit you still don’t know a name after a week has gone by.

Tell people why you’re happy to work with them

Let your new colleagues know why you like your new workplace and what you appreciate about their organization. For example, if the company is notable for its team spirit and inclusive culture, you might say, “I love how everyone here watches out for each other! It’s wonderful to work at a company where people really care about making everyone feel welcome.”

Sincere praise for your new colleagues and employer can make a good impression because it shows that you recognize what they’ve achieved and why it’s valuable, and you’re ready to contribute in a positive way.

Give the job your full attention

It’s always best to try to be fully present at work, but it particularly matters on your first day, when you have so many people to meet and so much to absorb. Try to minimize distractions by putting your phone on silent and logging out of any social media accounts or any other apps that might take your attention away from your duties. Keep yourself focused by making eye contact with whomever you’re working with, actively participating in the work, and asking for feedback as you try new tasks

Following these strategies should help you succeed on your first day, and beyond. Approaching your job with enthusiasm and dedication will be appreciated by the people around you, whether it’s your first day, week, month, or year at work.