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10 tips on how to make a great first impression at work

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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Starting a new job is both exciting and nerve wracking. Your first day of work is your chance to show off your personality and set a positive tone with your leader and new co-workers.

Start your new job off on the right foot with my top 10 tips on how to make a great first impression at work.

How to make a good first impression at work in 10 ways

1. Be prepared.

To make a great impression at work, it's crucial to have a solid understanding of the company you're joining. Doing a little extra research before your first day will show you are prepared. You can:

  • Look at the company’s website and social media channels to understand its mission, values and goals.
  • Connect with the people you talked with during your interview on LinkedIn.
  • Read recent news articles about your company to learn what they’ve been promoting lately.

2. Dress professionally.

What you wear on your first day is very important when it comes to making a good first impression at work. Your professional attire is one of the first things people notice and can greatly influence their perception of you.

Check with your recruiter to learn what the company dress code is. Typically, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed on your first day.

If you’re unsure whether a piece of clothing is appropriate or not, it’s probably best to just not wear it.

3. Arrive early.

Punctuality shows you are serious about your new role and you value the time of your colleagues. It also allows you to start your shift without feeling rushed, which will make you feel calmer on your first day.

Try to arrive at the office 10-15 minutes early. This also gives you time to introduce yourself to the receptionist, if your company has one.

4. Take notes.

Bring a notebook and pen to take notes with during your onboarding sessions. This will show you’re engaged in training. It will also help you stay focused and give you key points to reference later.

You should write down:

  • Scheduled meetings, including the times, locations and participants.
  • Workplace rules and guidelines.
  • Highlights from onboarding documents.
  • Tools, software and systems you’ll be using, along with login information and basic instructions on how to navigate them.

5. Ask questions.

Being engaged in conversations is always important, especially on your first day.

Actively listen to what’s being said and ask follow-up questions when you have them. This not only helps you gather important insights but also shows you're interested in the work that’s being done.

6. Be enthusiastic.

Starting a new job with enthusiasm sets a positive tone for your time at the company. A good attitude shows you are excited to be part of the team and eager to contribute to the company's goals.

7. Network with team members.

Building relationships in the office is important for creating a positive and collaborative work environment.

On your first day, introduce yourself to your new team members. Learn more about their roles and how your job fits in with theirs. Even a simple, “how are you today?” can go a long way in establishing rapport.

Later in the week, you might consider getting to know your teammates more by going out to lunch or grabbing a coffee.

8. Put your phone away.

When you’re in the office (especially when you’re a new employee) it’s best to switch your phone on silent and keep it in a bag or backpack. This will help reduce distractions and keep you fully engaged in your conversations and training.

9. Go outside your comfort zone.

It’s not easy to start a new job. However, it’s important to embrace opportunities to take on new tasks and get involved in social events with your team.

Ask your leader for guidance if you need a little extra push to get outside of your comfort zone. Taking on new challenges is the only way you’ll learn and grow in your new role! Plus, your leader and colleagues will appreciate your positive attitude and proactive approach.

10. Request a one-on-one meeting with your leader.

Before you wrap up your first day at work, sit down with your leader to go over what you learned. This would also be a good time to:

  • Ask any remaining questions you have.
  • Talk about expectations for the rest of the week.
  • Discuss your schedule and who else you’ll be meeting with.

Remember, these initial days are the foundation for your future success and growth within the organization. Try to soak in as much as you can!

Be better prepared for your new job.

There’s a lot to think about before you begin a new chapter in your career. Follow these tips to be more confident on your first day of work. 
About the author
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Lance Kaster is a Corporate Recruiter whose journey with Schneider started back in 2016. He started as a member of the driver recruiting team, where he was responsible for building and managing a candidate pool of prospective company drivers.

He moved to the company's corporate recruiting team in 2021. In his current role, Lance specializes in recruiting candidates for office positions.

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