The first day at a brand new job is almost as nerve-wracking as the interview. We all want to rock our first day, so it's important that we don't let our nervousness get the best of us and interfere with putting our best foot forward.
According to a study out of Princeton University featured on Forbes, people make snap judgements about others in literally a fraction of a second; meaning we want to seriously bring our A-game to that first week at a brand new job when our bosses and coworkers will be making their first assessments of our abilities and capableness.
Not to mention (at least for me personally), I just like being liked. I know that's maybe not cool to admit since we're supposed to "not care about what anyone thinks of us, ever!" but the fact of the matter is being thought of as nice and approachable in the work place is important to me. Plus, when we're dealing with professional situations, having people like you can genuinely help you work towards your goals. Others might be more willing to lend a hand, or even think of you for leadership positions down the road.
If you're about to start a job or embark on a new career opportunity, here are eleven tips that will help you make the best first impression possible.
1. Introduce Yourself
In a compilation piece for Forbes on how to impress your boss the very first day, entrepreneur Shenan Reed said it's important to make an attempt to get to know your coworkers. "If you sit at your desk for the first few days and spend little time interacting with other people in the company, it’ll take longer to figure out how to navigate the office and find answers to questions. Walk around, eat lunch in the kitchen, and ask people what they do, what they work on, and what gets them excited about being here every day," she said.
2. Put In The Extra Hours (At Least At First)
In that same Forbes piece, business owner Derek Capo recommended not being the first to leave your first few days. "The first thing we notice about new employees is the time that they clock out—mentally or physically. If we notice that someone is out the door by 5 p.m., we know the type of person we will get. If we see the person makes the extra effort and time to learn more about what we are teaching and stays a bit later, we know this is the person we want," he said.
3. Understand Everyone's Roles
In that same piece, business owner Chuck Cohn stressed the importance of knowing everyone's roles. That way you'll understand how you fit into the larger organization and have a much better sense of your own role.
4. Don't "Fake It 'Til You Make It"
This is a personal tip that I've learned through experience. It's great to come off as confident and relatively at ease (seeming super nervous on your very first day can make it hard for people to connect with you). However, never be afraid to ask questions, take notes, or ask for clarification if you don't understand a particular system or process. It will look way worse if you smile and nod your way through things and then make an avoidable error later.
5. Ask Questions
In a piece for US News and World Report, Holly Paul, PricewaterhouseCooper's U.S. recruiting leader, said to always ask questions. "The best questions show that you've done your homework on the organization and that you are ready to learn more." But be careful — asking questions that you should know the answer to, like, "Who was that?" after you meet the owner of the company, can have the opposite effect.
6. Think About Your Ensemble
Another compilation piece for Forbes, this one about making good impressions in general, stressed the importance of planning your first day outfit. It might seem petty, but since people make their first impressions so fast it's important to make sure your outfit — from the clothes, hair, makeup, and accessories — advertise the impression you want to be sending.
7. Don't Eat Lunch Alone
This is another personal tip that I wish I had realized earlier in life. It can be so tempting to want to eat lunch alone and decompress those first few stressful days, but when coworkers invite you to lunch, saying yes creates a way better impression than a polite decline. Plus, it will give you a chance to get a little more insider info on your new office.
8. Be Receptive
in a piece for Business Insider, Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, etiquette and civility expert and author of Don't Burp in the Boardroom, said it's incredibly important to be open and receptive to the new processes you're learning. She highly recommended refraining from potentially negative phrases like, "Well, in my last job..."
A compilation piece on the career site Brazen recommended volunteering to help where you can those first couple weeks. This not only shows everyone you're there to contribute, but you'll likely also have the opportunity to meet more people and get more comfortable in your surroundings.
10. Stay Out Of Gossip
Randall also stressed the importance of staying out of office gossip. Instead, she recommended making a conscious effort to meet as many people as possible and form impressions for yourself.
11. Be On Time
This might sound obvious, but almost every single article on making a good impression sites this as their number one piece of advice. Showing up on time, or even a little early, shows that you're taking your new job seriously and broadcasts the message that you're dependable. It's one of the easiest ways to make a positive impression.
Making a good first impression at a new job is important, but don't psyche yourself out! Just keep the above tips in mind, and remember that they hired you for a reason!
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