MAKE THE FIRST WEEK COUNT
Updated: Apr 23, 2021
By Danielle Truen, Client Service Specialist
Congratulations! You’ve landed a new job and what an exciting time it is… as long as you don’t let the first week scaries ruin it.
No matter what point of your career you’re in – whether you’re a new grad or someone with 20 years experience – the first week at any new job can be intimidating. It's easy to think of all the negative possibilities of being the new person and, as the saying goes, you can be your own worst enemy.
Instead of wondering if they’ll like you or if you’ll be as good as the person who came before you, it’s time to ask yourself how to make your first week count so you can make this job your own.
When it comes to that first impression you want to be your authentic, professional yourself, and there are some things to consider that can help give your new employers and colleagues a positive vibe.
One of the most important things I can think of when making a good first impression is having good body language. When you meet your new team for the first time, you want them to know that your excited to be there perhaps without shouting it from the rooftops.
An easy way to do this is communicating with them through nonverbal cues. These non-verbal cues could consist of having a strong handshake, nodding affirmatively as they speak, by making good eye contact, or even having good posture to show you’re alert and paying attention.
Making good eye contact and nodding as they speak shows the speaker you are listening to them and that they are important. According to Jodi Schulz a good rule to follow is 50/70, “you should maintain eye contact for 50 percent of the time while speaking and 70% of the time while listening” (Shultz,J. 2018). These simple cues will show your enthusiasm for the new opportunity and leave your new coworkers and your new employer feeling like they made the right choice by hiring you.
Dress the Part
Another important thing is to dress the part. Even if you think you know the dress code, it’s always good to be overprepared than not prepared at all. Before that first day, be sure to ask about the dress code and even make a mental note of what type of clothing people are wearing in the workplace during the interview. Spend some time the night before you go to work to prepare your outfit so you’re not scrambling for something work-worthy. You don’t need designer clothes to look neat, tidy and in-step with the organization.
When it comes to doing work, it always looks good when you’re being proactive. Don’t just go in and expect to carry out the same duties that the person before you did. Take charge. Employers will be happy to see you take initiative and will be excited about the ideas you bring to the table.
With every job comes challenges, so don’t be afraid to take them on. No one can predict what each day will bring and cultivating an attitude that encourages and embraces change will show you are adaptable and ready to take on whatever the day throws at you. It’s important to remember no one will expect you to have all the answers in your first week on the job and it’s OK to ask for help at any point in your career.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I know it can feel daunting to be asking questions all the time, but any good employer will tell you asking questions shows your willingness to learn and they enjoy being able to help you succeed.
A negative attitude won’t endear you to your new team members or your new boss.
Go into your new job with an open mind and take the time to build connections and get to know your colleagues. It’s important to recognize each team member has their own challenges and a little positivity and a pleasant demeanor helps to make those hard workdays more bearable.
This could be one of the most important points. It’s OK to feel a little unsure of yourself, especially in that first week on the job. Take the time to recognize you’re doing your best and that alone will help boost your confidence day by day.