Making a fantastic first impression, along with learning the basics of your new occupation and the layout of a brand new company can certainly cause your first day at a new job to be quite stressful, to say the least.
However, with the right preparation and perspective, you can not only make your first day of work less nerve-racking, but a complete victory.
It’s more likely that you were hired because you demonstrated knowledge and insight during your interview, than because of your physical appearance. However, a neat and appropriate exterior can certainly support an already bright demeanor. You’re bound to impress if you can make some intelligent remarks on demand, but looking the part certainly makes a difference, since human nature dictates that initial character judgments are made upon first glance of an individual.
Pay attention to what the other workers in a similar position to yours were wearing. You want to dress just as well, if not slightly more professionally, than they are.
Remember that dressing appropriately means looking as if you’re ready to get to work, but not in an overly ostentatious way. Male or female, however, restrict to a maximum of three pieces of jewelry. That includes watches, bracelets, rings, earrings, necklaces, etc.
Nevertheless, don’t completely rely on the exterior. After a while, your coworkers and superiors want to know that they can work with you, and while your appearance does indicate a portion of your ability to fit within a corporate culture, it’s not the whole story.
Presumably, you have done a practice-run of the route to your new place of employment. If you’re driving, you should have checked out morning rush hour, in much the way someone using public transit will have found the best route to get to their destination.
Certainly, the last thing you want to do is arrive late! Not only is it adding unnecessary stress to your day, it looks appallingly bad to your employer. Generally speaking, it’s best to arrive somewhat early, and stay until the last person leaves. You can also learn a great deal about the social dynamics of the office that way.
The best way to meet and greet your new coworkers is with a smile. Be congenial, and feel free to initiate introducing yourself; this implies confidence which is always impressive. Make eye contact, shake hands, if appropriate, but don’t offer to shake hands with someone who has got their arms full of paperwork; instead you might offer a hand to help them. Generally speaking, using your basic knowledge of common social skills should suffice.
We all know it’s inevitable, so accept graciously when you are presented with your administrative paperwork which needs to be filled out before day’s end. A good tip is to always bring a copy of your resume with you; that will help you greatly in completing and making sure your details are consistent.
Listen and learn
A basic concept that will work wonders on your first day is to listen first before adding your opinions, questions, etc.
Chances are, someone has been appointed to train you, whether it’s your superior or a coworker. This person has anticipated the fact that there are certain facts and procedures of which they must inform you. Let them make their points first, before you jump in. Of course you will have questions, but allow first for the complete initial explanations. Remember, if you enter a conversation, and by the end the other person is satisfied that they’ve made the point they had originally intended, then they’re going to be equally pleased with you for having listened to them make those points. Sometimes listening is just as impressive as speaking.
After the Fact
As we’ve learned, a little bit of courtesy goes a very long way. From the receptionist who made sure you had the right paperwork to the person in the next cubical who directed you to the men’s or ladies’ room, to even the person in the neighboring department who showed you how to operate the tricky coffee machine; each one of these individuals should be on your list of people who deserve your good manners and consideration.
What list are we referring to? Consider sending a brief “thank you” email, expressing your genuine appreciation for helping you out and making your day a little easier. Not only does it make them feel appreciated, but it opens the door to them being willing to help you again and may even lead to positive future collaborations.
To your credit, it is likely that you made a great impression before you were hired; the proof being the fact that you were hired in the first place. So carry on being polite, decent, and considerate to everyone around you, and pretty soon, you’re going to be one of the office’s favorite people. And that’s a wonderful, if not enviable, position to be in!
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