Congratulations! You received an offer, negotiated salary, and benefits. You’ve got your company badge and the orientation packet. But the real challenge is what comes next - your first week on the job.
Most likely, you’re already aware of how important a first impression is. It takes less than a minute for a coworker to decide how they feel about you and odds are, you’re about to meet many new coworkers. The first impressions you make this week will not only impact your short-term success in this new role but also your long-term professional reputation. No pressure, right? Don’t worry. You’ve got this.
1. Look the Part
In the 30 seconds it takes to make the acquaintance of a new coworker, they will notice your clothes, your body language, and your attitude. They will notice if you smile, if your hands are in your pockets, your limp-noodle of a handshake. Give yourself a fighting chance first by dressing professionally. Even if the general dress code is casual, err on the side of professionalism and take an extra few minutes in the morning to make sure you’re presentable. You can always break out your more casual threads later. Eye contact, a smile, and a firm handshake will take care of the rest.
2. Talk to People
One way to ensure you get off to a great start is simply to talk to people! Remember names, ask questions if you’re unsure, and make small talk with the people you encounter throughout your day. A positive attitude and a friendly demeanor radiate confidence and your approachability will put your coworkers at ease. You will earn major bonus points if you remember everyone’s names, which brings us to…
3. Take Notes
Whether you have a hard time with names or not, TAKE NOTES. Bring a small notepad (not your phone) with you and take notes throughout the day. Write down the names of members on your team along with notes that will help you remember them. Write down directions and tips that you receive whether it be from HR, your boss, or the cubicle beside you. Write down when the boss usually arrives and when she leaves for the day. Write down where the good pizza place is and how the receptionist takes his coffee. You never know what will be valuable moving forward and it’s better to have and not need than need and not have.
4. Leave it at Home
Your dog is sick. Your dad has you planning your mom’s surprise party. Your more-than-a-friend is pressuring you and your neighbor in 4c keeps stealing your newspaper in the morning. Whatever is happening in your personal life - leave it at home. If and when your desk mate becomes your best friend, by all means— dish. But right now, keep those problems to yourself.
5. Common Sense goes a long way
Show up early. Stay late when you can. Ask to join a project you think you could nail. Don’t scroll your Instagram feed or text your Grandma. And above all - be yourself. You earned this job, after all. Don’t set yourself up for failure by “faking it until you make it”. Hopefully, you’ll be with this company for years to come. Don’t give all that credit to someone who doesn’t exist.
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