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Make the First Impression a Good One

Make the First Impression a Good One

First impressions in the workplace turn into long-term perceptions and reputations. It takes a lot more time and effort to turn negative perceptions around when you’re starting a new job. So always watch what you say and do. Chances are you are not just being paranoid and someone really is watching and generating an impression about you.

Here are easy ways to get off on the right foot and create the right first impression.

  • Show up. One of the key factors to keep in mind when you start a job is showing up! Come in early and stay a little later – at least until you get a feel for your work environment. If it’s a bit laid back, you can adjust your schedule accordingly. Establish yourself first.

  • Dress up. Dress professionally, erring on the side of formal until you’ve been at the job for a while. After 2-3 months and a better understanding of your work environment, you can feel more at home to dress as casual as your new surroundings permit.

  • Remember names and titles. People like it when you know their names. You’re meeting a lot of people, so if you forget a name, just ask. Work at remembering it.

  • Ask questions. Don’t assume anything. Better to ask for instructions than to have to ask for forgiveness later. Listen carefully to the answers you receive and write them down. No one expects you to know everything immediately. So, relax and ask for help.

  • Ask for feedback. Make sure you’re heading in the right direction with any new project. Get input and guidance from others (especially your manager) to make sure you’re doing things correctly and progressing in the right direction.

  • Be positive. Everyone wants to work with someone who has a positive attitude. Bring enthusiasm to work every day. Leave non-work problems at home and don’t let them cast a shadow on the work you need to perform.

  • Set goals. Know what’s expected of you. If you don’t have a job description, ask your boss for one. Also ask for a plan of where you should be in 30, 60 and 90 days. Include items such as skills you should learn, goals you should achieve, people you should meet and projects you should complete.

  • Play nice. Make an effort to be friendly and spend time with your new co-workers. A lunch here and there can be a good sanity break, but it’s also a great opportunity to get the inside scoop on your company and best practices that could save you a lot of unnecessary time and concern.

  • Don’t be a know it all. The first few months on the job aren’t the right time to be a show off. You want to do a good job, but don’t act like you know the right way to do everything. You still have a lot to learn, so take the time to soak it all in.

  • Fit in. Don’t do or say anything that will make you stand out in a negative way. This applies to everything from what you wear to what time you take your lunch to how you act in a meeting. Individuality is important, but you don’t want to draw unnecessary attention to yourself.

  • Read company literature and policies. Be a student of your company. Learn the rules and regulations and adhere to them. Also pay attention to company literature like annual reports and brochures that can give you insight into areas of the company with which you may not be familiar.

  • Practice the 80/20 rule. Listen 80% of the time and talk 20%. If you talk too much, people may not even hear what you say. Always try to refer to research vs. feelings to present a more objective perspective.