How To Make A Good Impression Your First Week On The Job
Starting a new job is the adult version of the first day of school. You’re often nervous with anticipation going into your first day. But unlike starting a new school as a kid, starting a new job has much higher stakes.
You are wondering if you are going to do well, if you will be accepted, if you will impress your new teammates, etc. Instead of spending the first few days nervous about the “what ifs” and “will I’s”, focus on behaviors which will ensure you make a great first impression right out of the gate.
Be On Time
Whatever you do, DO NOT be late to the first day of your new job! You set the tone by how you act in the first few minutes of the day. For the first few weeks, follow the mantra that “5 minutes early is on time, on time is late, and late is unacceptable”.
Instead of just being there 5 minutes early, make sure you’re settled and at your desk at least 10-15 minutes early. This will show your new boss and co-workers that they can count on you to be there.
Extend your mantra to meetings as well. The first week at a new job is often filled with various team meetings and introductory meetings.
Make sure your schedule allows you enough time between meetings to ensure you’re never late for the next. This way, you’re showing people you respect their time by being on time.
Don’t Be A Know-It-All
If you find yourself starting a sentence by saying “I usually do it this way”, stop. Just because you did something one way with your last employer, doesn’t mean it’s how your current employer wants it done. You need to be open to new ideas, new methods, and new ways of completing your work.
You’re just getting to know your co-workers so interrupting someone while they’re speaking to correct them or give your opinion isn’t appropriate.
If someone says something that you think may be incorrect or confusing, speak to them in private and ask them if they can provide additional explanations. You’re doing yourself no favors by coming off as the wise guy your first week on the job.
You can’t assume you’ll know everything there is to know on the first day or even in the first week of your new job. If you’re confused, ask a question.
Show your co-workers and new employer that you want to learn and do things right. Asking questions doesn’t mean you can’t do the job, it just means that you understand they can help you do the job right.
It’s also important not to overwhelm your new boss or teammates with too many questions. Before you go asking around, make sure the answer hasn’t already been provided to you or that you’re asking the right person. You don’t want to overwhelm your new co-workers with dozens of questions unrelated to their job or that they can’t answer.
Invite Yourself To Lunch
If you’re not a particularly extroverted person, lunch at work can be a little awkward. It’s not unlike finding your friends in the lunch room during that first day of school. Instead of wandering around a break room or being a loner and sitting at your desk, ask some new teammates what their lunch plans are.
You may find that it’s company culture to just stay at one’s desk and eat. In that case, no need to worry about appearing anti-social. If not, asking to join your co-workers will be a great opportunity to talk to them a little more informally about their job roles and their experience in the company.
If you don’t feel comfortable directly asking your new colleagues to join, ask if anyone has any lunch recommendations in the area. You may find that they’ll invite you instead of the other way around!
Stay Away From Gossip
Stay far, far away from office gossip. While you may meet that co-worker who thinks it’s helpful for you to be informed of all the former relationships, the office politics, and the “who doesn’t like who this week” drama, it’s absolutely not.
Not only do you want to avoid tarnishing your reputation by being immediately labeled a gossip, you don’t want one person’s opinions or unfounded information clouding how you see certain colleagues.
Gossip doesn’t have any place in the office but it happens all the time. Your best option is to politely excuse yourself from the conversation or try to redirect it to more professional topics.
Being able to make a great first impression on your new boss and colleagues will go a long way in determining the success you have in your new role.
Make sure you thank your new co-workers for their time when they answer questions for you, provide useful information, invite you to lunch, etc. Show them you appreciate their helpfulness and encouragement!