How to stand out and make a great impression in your first week

Steven Fulop - September 17, 2018

We’ve all heard it before – making a good first impression is crucial!

Here at u&u, candidates often ask “how do I make a great first impression?” We’ve compiled a list of tips on how to make the best first impression during the first week of your new job.

  • Don’t be late. Get a good night’s sleep. Practice your commute during peak hours a couple of times so you have a good understanding of how long it will take to get to work on your first day. Plan to show up at the office a little early – approximately 15-30 minutes – so you can feel relaxed and energised before the start of a new work day.
  • Dress appropriately. It’s always better to overdress than underdress in your first week.
  • Know your company. Understand what they do, their products / services, who their competitors are, and any major news stories relevant to them, and follow their social media channels.
  • Continue to familiarise yourself with the job description. Have a 30/60/90 day plan in mind for how you are going to hit the ground running. Discuss this plan with your manager and have checkpoints that you want to achieve in each time period.
  • Get to know your colleagues. Go and introduce yourself to the team. Learn people’s names and what they do. Remember them!
  • Prepare an elevator pitch. Get ready to give a 30-second run-down of who you are, where you’ve come from, and what you will be doing in your new role. Tell them some fun facts about yourself that are memorable and break down barriers with humour.
  • Avoid office politics and gossip.
  • Judge the feedback and handover from exiting employees with a grain of salt.
  • Take notes. You learn so much about the role, the processes, the team and the business in your first few weeks. You’ll thank yourself in Weeks Three and beyond for writing down key points.
  • Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when necessary; it’s how you grow.
  • Own your mistakes if you make them.
  • Listen! Don’t act like a know-it-all in your first week. Be humble; observe. Say “thank you” when people help you. Hand-written notes are a classy gesture and are often very well-received.
  • Keep your phone on silent or do not disturb. Chatting on your personal mobile is off-limits in your first week. (There is plenty of time to do this before or after work, or at lunch.)
  • Don’t be a clock-watcher. Don’t be the first to leave at COB on the dot. Spend a few minutes after 5pm reviewing your day and preparing yourself for the next.
  • Be conscious of your body language. Keep it and your attitude positive.
  • Sort out your admin. If HR asked you to pre-prepare payroll, tax file number, superannuation forms, etc., then ensure they are completed and given to the representative ASAP.
  • Be proactive. Jump at opportunities that come up. This shows you have the initiative every employer looks for in an employee and that you are eager to contribute.
  • Don’t turn down lunch. If you get offered to go have lunch with your boss or co-workers, go! Try to have lunch with different people in your first week. Save the packed lunches for subsequent weeks.
  • Don’t miss training or on boarding sessions! You don’t want to come across as unreliable or flaky.
  • Keep your personal problems and opinions to yourself.
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