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There’s a lot of truth in the old adage that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. After all the hard work you put into scoring your new job, you want to be sure that you start off on the right foot. Beginning a new job is thrilling, but it can be stressful. Luckily, a little preparation can ease your nerves. If you prepare to make a great first impression, your transition will be easier. The good news is that you don’t have to figure out how to do this by yourself. There are tried and true methods that experts recommend, regardless of which field you work in.
Most of us want to make a great first impression, but we’re not confident in our own personalities. What if we say the wrong thing? What if we completely mess up? Because of that fear, we try to act like a “perfect” professional person that we’re not, and it rarely works out well.
The truth is, if you try to put on an imaginary persona, you’ll come across as phoney. You can’t keep it up all the time because it’s not natural. Eventually, you’ll end up getting caught, and you’ll lose the trust of those around you. At the end of the day, you are the one who is going to work in that company, so it's important to show off your true self.
There are dozens of versions of the saying: “The clothes make the man.” “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” The gist of these sayings is that your clothing has a big effect on how people perceive you. You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg on your wardrobe. But you should choose your outfits carefully, especially during the early days of your new job. Show people that you care about your hygiene and overall appearance. Make sure that your clothes are free of wrinkles, stains, and lint. And tuck your shirt in, too! Obviously, you should follow the dress code of your workplace. But even if the dress code is flexible, don’t wear sweatpants on the first day. To make a good impression, make sure your outfit looks professional and put-together, even if you are wearing a t-shirt.
Unless you exaggerated on your resume, no one will expect you to walk in and know exactly what you’re doing. But your boss and co-workers will expect you to be eager to learn about your new position. You may be tempted to stand back and let everyone else do the work while you watch and learn. But the quickest way to learn is through doing, so you should volunteer to jump right in. The best thing that you say is, “I’m new, so I’m not sure how to do it, but I’m willing to learn!” Depending on the job, it may be difficult to do this during working hours. As customers come in and the phone rings off the hook, your co-workers may be too busy to walk you through every step of the job. Just be patient, pay attention, and volunteer to help whenever possible. Let your boss know that you’re willing to do what it takes to excel in your new role. Offer to stay late or come in early while you get acclimated. Honesty, humility, and willingness to work go a long way in making a great first impression.
No one is asking you to be Mary Poppins, but you shouldn’t be the Grinch, either. Smile and introduce yourself to your new co-workers. And above all, use your manners. Other employees may share gossip or encourage you to tell them your life story before you even get to know them. Do not make negative comments about the job, yourself, or others. You don’t know what can be misconstrued and used against you. And what if you are a Mary Poppins type? There is nothing wrong with being persistently peppy and positive. However, you may have to tamper down your excitement on the first day. It can come out later, but as an initial impression, you want to be professionally positive.
Showing up late may be the worst thing you can do on your first day of work. Tardiness is a pet peeve of almost every employer. Short of being in an accident or natural disaster, there should be no reason for you to be late during your first week. Time management skills are crucial for making a good impression. Show up early and leave late. Demonstrate that you take pride in your work and want to do your job well. Make sure to always meet and exceed deadlines. And if you do encounter a delay, let your supervisor know as soon as you can. Hard skills, like your knowledge of computer programs or the company’s product, probably got you hired. But it’s your soft skills, such as interpersonal abilities and time management, that will propel you through your career. The fact that you’re reading this means that you’re already on the track to success. It’s a good sign that you’re willing to research how to make a good first impression at work. With these five tips and your dedication and perseverance, you have what it takes to knock the socks off of your new team. Good luck with your new job!
Author bio: Angus Flynn is the Property Manager for 837 Harvard. With more than five years of experience in the high-end apartment industry, he delivers white-glove service to all of his residents and prospects.
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