First Impression

Make a Good First Impression in a New Job

Ask The Expert

By Barbara Mitchell

Q: I’ve landed a great new job, and I want to create a good first impression. What are some steps I can take to ensure I get off to a strong start?

A: It’s good that you’re already thinking about how to get off on the right foot at your new job. Too many people focus on getting the job—obviously a critical step—but fail to consider how they’ll approach their new role once they start. How you prepare for your new job will make a huge difference, both for you and for your new organization.

It’s all right to be a little nervous on your first day, but do your best to smile and shake hands confidently with all the new people you’ll meet.

Here are some ways to spend time productively before you start and in your first few days on the job:

  • Complete any paperwork before your first day so it’s out of the way. Many organizations send you benefits enrollment information or other documents ahead of time so that you can avoid spending your first day doing paperwork. This will help your onboarding process go more smoothly and make you productive more quickly.
  • Clarify the details that will help you get comfortable. Confirm your start time and where to park, if applicable. You should be clear about their dress code from your interview, but plan what you will wear on day one to remove a potential source of stress that morning.
  • Approach your first day with a positive attitude. It’s all right to be a little nervous on your first day, but do your best to smile and shake hands confidently with all the new people you’ll meet.
  • Keep a list of who you’ve met. It can be overwhelming to keep track of everyone you meet on your first day. One trick for making this easier is to ask HR or your manager for an organizational chart. As you meet new people, take a minute to jot a quick note about them in your chart to help you keep everyone straight. This also will help you identify the people you haven’t met yet, and by the end of your first week, you can try to reach out and introduce yourself.
  • Ask questions. Asking insightful questions as you tour the office will reflect well on you, and you’ll learn valuable new information that you can apply as you get settled into your role.
  • Don’t keep bringing up your old organization. Remember: You don’t work there anymore. It’s important to focus on what you can bring to your new organization instead.

Barbara Mitchell is a human resources and management consultant and author of The Big Book of HR, The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook and the latest book—The Conflict Resolution Phrase Book. Do you have a question you’d like her to answer in “Ask the Expert”? Send it to [email protected].

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