Making That First Impression at Work

YOU LANDED A NEW JOB BECAUSE of that wonderful first impression you made at an interview. But don’t rest on your laurels. Now you must continue making positive first impressions with your boss, team members, and other colleagues.

You’ll have the opportunity to do so during your first week on the job. So you better hit the street running to prevent it from becoming your last week.

The first week on the job is your most important week. This is the period when your new colleagues and supervisors will form the most lasting impression of you. So you want to keep it positive. For example if you’re late for work during any of the first few days at work, your colleagues will see the word “loser” pasted on your forehead.

But don’t try too hard to knock ‘em dead. You boss understands there’s a learning curve attached to the job. They’ll cut you some slack until you become acclimated to the work.

Here are eight tried and proven techniques for making good first impressions when you start a new position. Follow them and you’re guaranteed to have an awesome first week on your new job:

  1. Get on the same page with your boss. Ask for a brief meeting to review your job description. And talk to others in your department who have held the same job. They can give some wonderful tips that will make you a star performer at work.


  1. Keep your eye out for a mentor. A mentor can help you become acclimated to your job and advance your career within the company. Select someone on a management level above you.

Before I ever heard of the word “mentor,” I learned how to sell each of my company’s products by asking the oldest and most experienced member of the sales team for advice. Bob Somerville showed me how to sell each product. He was flattered that I came to him for advice. And we developed a wonderful business and personal friendship as a result.


  1. Develop office relationships. When it comes to getting to know your new colleagues during the first week at work, beware of sharing intimate secrets. Remember, your co-workers are also your competitors. For example, if a dozen of you are in a training program, only a few may end up getting the super positions.


  1. Learn your co-workers’ names. Do so as soon as possible. People love to be recognized by their names. If you forget a name, apologize and ask the person’s name once more.


  1. Carry a notebook to meetings. Taking notes benefits you in a couple of ways. Note taking enables you to focus and pay attention to what’s said. And the meeting’s leader will consider your note taking as a sign of respect. How’s that? When you take notes, she’ll be flattered that you think her words are worth writing down.

After each meeting, take a few minutes to glance at your notes. Then chat with the person who led the meeting to restate your understanding of whatever action plan was discussed.


  1. Don’t ask too many questions. If you do, people will begin to think you’re either a pain in the butt or not as smart as they thought you were. So only ask questions that you can’t figure out yourself.


  1. Be the first to arrive and among the last to leave. When you leave early—or even worst, come in late and leave early—your reputation will take a nosedive. It’s okay to leave early once you’ve demonstrated your proficiency on the new job.


  1. Take the initiative at work. I’ve saved this tip for last so it’ll make a lasting impression on you. Of all the skills employees bring to the table, taking the initiative is what impresses bosses the most.

You take the initiative when you’ve completed an assignment and volunteer for more. You take the initiative when you’re able to come up with an idea to fill a void in your office.

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RANDY PLACE is a career counselor and author of Your One-Minute Job Finding Coach.

Copyright ©2016 by Ransom (Randy) Place

About the Author

RANDY PLACE IS A JOB-FINDING and executive coach, writer on career topics, broadcaster, and host of For twenty-three years, he helped thousands of employees who had been let go from JPMorgan Chase find jobs. And he coached executives at CBS Television, Pitney Bowes, and major outplacement firms in New York on job-finding techniques, communications skills, and selling strategies. An accomplished seminar leader and speaker, Randy has designed and presented workshops on interviewing, telephoning techniques, job-search writing, and sales training nationwide. Randy's groundbreaking nationally syndicated radio series, Your Career Service, has been heard on over two hundred radio stations across the United States. And his articles on career topics have appeared in the Wall Street Journal's National Business Employment Weekly. A former broadcast journalist in New York, he has also been a commercial spokesperson for an array of national and regional advertisers. In addition, Randy was a sales executive at NBC Radio and the New York City sales manager for syndication at Wolper Productions. He holds a Bachelor's in Sociology and Broadcasting from Syracuse University, and a Master's in Journalism from New York University.