Congratulations on your new job! Whether you have already started the job, your start date is looming close ahead, or you are planning out how to act when (not if!) you do land a job, we can help.
Many people don’t even realize they are leaving a bad impression when they meet their new bosses or coworkers. But first impressions matter! Show you are a hard worker and dedicated early on, and rising throughout the company to reach your career goals will be a lot easier than working against a bad reputation.
Make Eye Contact
Make eye contact, with everyone. Avoid looking at your phone, your watch, or others who are not talking. If you’re in a group, make eye contact with the person speaking. If you’re speaking in a group, move your eyes around to engage every person listening.
Eye contact shows you are paying attention and focused in the moment. The only exceptions to this rule are if you need to write down what they are telling you, or you both are looking at a screen or tool to use on the job. Otherwise, there is no excuse. Showing you are a good listener early on will help you in the long run!
Keep a small notebook in your pocket with a pen. Take notes when someone is correcting your actions, telling you how to do something, or talking about the company structure.
Taking notes is going to show superiors and coworkers that you take this job, and your role in the company seriously. It will also help you! The first few weeks at a job can be overwhelming, and a lot of times you are on informational overload. Having easy reference to something will impress your bosses and keep you from bugging them about procedures or rules you have already learned.
Be Early, Consistently!
You want to show up at least 10 minutes early for your first week of work. This shows you value the companies time, and you aren’t here to screw around.
The best advice for doing this is to dry-run your commute. It may look clear and easy on Google Maps, but at 7:45 a huge merger screws up traffic and you’re backed up for miles. If you had driven this once before during rush hour, you would know this was common!
Also, don’t underestimate the time it takes you to get ready. Maybe you can be dressed, put together, and out the door 10 minutes after your alarm goes off… the first week on the job is not the time to test this theory. Give yourself plenty of time! The first impression is worth a lot more than 10 extra minutes of sleep.
Stay Extra Professional
Keep your phone on silent, in your pocket. Don’t text unless it’s vitally important, and do it in the bathroom. Keep your words clean and your radical opinions to yourself. (Maybe lab-grown burgers are the future, but you don’t know your officemate is vegetarian yet, so keep your mouth shut)
Keep this uber-professional outlook for at least a week, or until you’ve gotten to know the company culture and vibe. Maybe everyone uses company internet to chat with friends or family and regularly does their personal shopping… but don’t you do it until you know for sure.
Don’t Be The First One Out
Finally, this should also seem like obvious advice – but so many people don’t follow it. Don’t be the first one to leave the office! Even if you know the workday ends at 5, finish up any paperwork, make sure you have everything organized and ready for tomorrow, and add some finishing notes or a to-do list to your notebook for the next day.
You’ll look better not being afraid to stay a few extra minutes, and your employer will remember that you value the companies time as much as your own.