How to Put your Best Foot Forward in your New Job

So, you had the interview, followed our top tips and you got the job – great!

You obviously made a good first impression with your interviewer, now it’s time to work your magic on your new colleagues and manager.

We all know that first impressions count, but they are particularly important when you start a new job. They may be fleeting, but they last; first impressions lead to long-term perceptions of you and the type of person you are.

In the early days with a new company, your mission is to build your colleagues’ confidence in you. This is because how you are viewed as a professional, and as an individual, by your peers can have a direct effect on your success.

For example, if within your first few weeks you have issues with lateness or absence, people will remember. If you cause any conflict or come across as confrontational, people will remember. If you don’t show willing, you guessed it – people will remember!

Here’s our advice on how to put your best foot forward in a new role:

Prepare for your first day

It’s natural to feel a little nervous on your first day, so it’s best to make the experience as smooth and calm as you possibly can. Get yourself ready in advance:

  • Get everything you need together: your laptop, charger, pens, a notepad, your lunch, your documentation. Whatever it is you need to take with you, make sure these are all ready to go so that you don’t have the chance to forget and you don’t need to worry about doing this before you leave for work.
  • Pick the right outfit: You need to wear something that looks the part. However, as tempting as it is to buy a new outfit for your first day, you run the risk of being uncomfortable throughout the day (that shirt collar may be tighter than you think). Choose something familiar to wear, you’ll have enough new things to deal with anyway!
  • Be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed: Get an early night, make sure you set an alarm and give yourself plenty of time to get ready. Don’t forget breakfast, you’ll need lots of energy for the day ahead.
  • Don’t be on time… Be early!: This shows your new employer that you’re keen and on the ball. It also allows time for any delays you may encounter on your way.

Have a look at Lifehack’s guide for surviving your first day.

Show that you mean business

The last thing you want is to stick out like a sore thumb, especially for all the wrong reasons. You need to show that you are the right fit for the company and that you’re meant to be there:

  • Look the part: If there is a business dress code, make sure that you adhere to it and dress smartly (no creased trousers or scuffed shoes!). In an office with a more casual dress code, still try to look your best and observe how your colleagues dress so you can dress in line with them.
  • Be on your best behaviour: Remember your ‘Ps and Qs’, watch what you say and be careful with humour – you’ve not had chance to establish boundaries yet, just because you think something is funny doesn’t mean other people will. For now, it’s best to stick to safe topics.
  • Don’t show your nerves: Speak confidently and clearly. Try not to be hesitant, get stuck in.
  • Arrive early, leave late: Getting in early gives you the opportunity to really prepare for your day, and looks great in your employer’s eyes. As soon as your day is over, don’t rush off, stay until you have completed your tasks. If you’re all done, or everyone else has made a mad dash for the door, double check with your trainer/manager to see if there’s anything else to be done before you leave. This looks more proactive and shows more commitment than rushing out as soon as the clock strikes home-time.
  • Take the initiative: Try not to just do the bare minimum, take the initiative to exceed expectations. Finished what you’ve been asked to do? Don’t just sit and wait for further instruction, ask if there’s anything else you can be getting on with.
  • Ask questions: This isn’t a weakness, this is a strength and a great way to learn. It’s much better to ask for help if you’re unsure than to do something wrong. You’ll remember next time the issue arises, especially if you make a note of the solution. Just try not to pester people too much!

Be positive

  • Show your enthusiasm: Show that you’re excited about being part of the team, your positivity can be contagious. Your colleagues are more likely to warm to you quickly if they see that you’re eager to be part of the gang. (But don’t come on too strong!)
  • Leave personal issues at home: When you have things on your mind, they can undoubtedly creep into your thoughts, even at work. However, try to keep things separate; no one wants to listen to someone moan! Unless you want to be seen as the ‘office whiner’ then hold it in at least until you’ve established yourself at work. Don’t forget the importance of positivity, open body language, expressions and SMILING.
  • Be receptive to guidance and criticism: As a new a starter, you’re not in the best position to question how things are done. Try to welcome new ways of working and avoid phrases like “Well, in my old job we used to…”, that might come across as closed-minded, confrontational or arrogant.
  • Make small talk: Show an interest in people and let them see that you want to get to know them. Ask about their lives and tell them about yours so that you can find some common ground.

Smells like team spirit

  • Learn names: This is a nice personal touch that shows you’ve been paying attention. Plus, it’s only polite! If you struggle to remember names, try using memory aids. If you forget someone’s name, apologise and ask them again, keeping it light-hearted so it’s not too awkward.
  • Go to lunch with different people.
  • Involve yourself: Getting involved with social events goes a long way – you can really get to know your colleagues, and it gives you something to talk to them about in the office. Don’t underestimate little things like making drinks or bringing snacks in for you team.
  • Avoid office politics: This is simple, steer clear. You never know what will come around to bite you and you don’t want to earn a bad reputation for getting involved in rumours and gossip.
  • Show your appreciation and say thank you to those who help/train you.
  • Share the success: Credit your achievements to the team, don’t be a glory hog. Also, if you make mistakes, own up to them – this will demonstrate honesty and ensure that no one else gets blamed for something you did.

Looking for a job is not the easiest thing on the planet, but when you get your foot in the door of a new company, that’s when the real hard work begins. However, if you bear these tips in mind, you should knock their socks off!

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