We all know first impressions count, so what should you do to impress in your first week?
You might be surprised at how much you already know about how to impress in your first week at work. It’s basically an “on steroids” version of how to impress at your job interview (without the actual steroids, of course). Starting your job remotely? Read our tips for setting yourself up for success here.
Here are 7 things to keep in mind if you want to leave a favourable impression:
Research the Company
Spend the weekend (or longer) before your first day, doing some additional research on the company. What is their raison d’etre? Go online to see if there’s any news about recent successes of the business itself or the senior staff. If you find negative news online or anywhere else, don’t let this throw you off, every company has its (hopefully, temporary) failures. Instead, let this insight inspire you to think about how you can add value to the organisation.
Arrive Early to Work
Forget whatever official time you’ve been told you’re supposed to report to work. Tell yourself you’re to be there half an hour earlier than that. This may seem excessive but it really isn’t. Do I really need to remind you of the traffic situation driving past virtually any school on island, downtown on cruise ship days, rainy days, days when there are vehicular accidents minor or major (basically every day)? If you’re lucky and there’s no delay of any kind on the way in, and you actually do arrive half-hour early, stop at the nearby coffee shop and get yourself, and the person you’ve been assigned to shadow, a cup of tea or coffee. No, you’re not sucking up. A little bit of goodwill goes a long way.
Keep your work area organised and work appropriate. You’ll have done your best to dress the part for the job interview and, no doubt, you’re following the dress code now that you’ve been hired. Your work area is, more or less, an extension of the way you comport yourself (an old fashioned, but still relevant, concept). It doesn’t matter if you’re not customer-facing if your boss passes by and your desk has fast-food wrappers, stuffed animals, and random Post It notes all over the place, it’s not a good look.
You may not have been assigned a ton of work to do on Day 1, but rather than sitting there scrolling through your cell phone, ask your supervisor specifically what priorities you should be focussing on and, at the very least, start to strategise on your computer or notepad. Depending on your level of experience, you may already know how to get started on the project/assignment but, even if you’re fairly new to the field, you can begin to make a plan for getting the task done; list what you understand about the objectives, resources needed, timeline, costs, and so forth. It’s fine if you have to revise once you get a better understanding of what’s expected of you.
Show Your Enthusiasm
You should feel free to show your enthusiasm for the work the company does. If there’s a disgruntled colleague with a different point of view, avoid being drawn into criticising your former or current employer, or former or current colleagues. Instead, try to ease yourself out of the conversation in a non-judgemental way and get busy on your assignments. Discretion is always the name of the game in such situations.
Take Notes and Ask Questions
Regarding those assignments, take notes as you’re being told what’s required, listen carefully and ask for clarification if you’re not certain about something, but also be prepared to independently come up with solutions to challenges once you get started. An employee who’s ready with well thought out suggestions for the way forward usually leaves a good impression.
Remember Why You’re There
Getting back to that expression “adding value”, mentioned earlier, you’re there to bring something to the organisation that they need. Whether you have a little or a lot of experience, they hired you because they need something you have to offer, don’t forget that. The boss may not tell you every day how well you’re doing, but if you’ve put your talent and energies to good use, been thorough in your work and met or beaten deadlines, he/she will notice and you’ll feel a valuable sense of achievement.