Woody Allen once said that 80 per cent of success is just showing up. While there is some truth to that (being consistent and determined will always get you far), to really succeed at a new job, you need to make a good impression right from the get-go. That impression can have a strong influence on your relationships with managers and co-workers, and the perception of your work.

“You cannot underestimate the importance of a good first impression, because you only have one shot at it,” said Minda Miloff, a Montreal-based career coach known as Coach Minda. “People will judge you whether they realize it or not. It’s up to you to portray the right image and do so confidently, but not arrogantly. By carefully preparing for your first appearance on the job, you can control what kind of an impression you’ll make.”

Here are four ways you can make a good impression during your first week on the job.

Know the dress code

It may sound shallow, but what you wear in the first week on the job can go a long way towards making an impression – one way or the other. And this is for good reason: every workplace has its own dress code and culture. The trick is finding out what that is. You’ve probably been to this office at least once, which means you’ll have a sense of how people dress. Follow their lead, and play it safe, at least to start.

“What you can wear to an office job today is flexible, but don’t treat that as an opportunity to wear whatever you want,” said Coach Minda. “Dress conservatively, but always lean towards dressing up, because you can always dress down later if it’s appropriate.”

One other thing to think twice about is fragrance.

“It’s best to avoid wearing perfume or cologne to the workplace,” says Coach Minda. “Many people have sensitivities to fragrances, and triggering that for someone can lead to a very bad impression.”

Put away your phone

It’s easy to use your phone as a security blanket during silences, or as something to fidget with when you’re not sure what to do. But you need to have the willpower to avoid using your phone, because it will only affect your image negatively.

“Phone usage has a huge negative impact on a new employee’s image,” says Coach Minda. “It sends a message that you’re not giving your full attention to the job, or to those around you. As a new employee, your phone should be put away, and it shouldn’t be seen on your desk, or on the table at a meeting. In fact, to make an even better impression, try to become known as the person who doesn’t use their phone. That will make you stand out as a disciplined, focused employee.”

If the thought of putting your phone away gives you anxiety, use that nervous energy to get to know your new co-workers. If that makes you nervous, click here for some communication tips on the job.

Respect the time of your bosses and colleagues

There is nothing wrong with having questions. There will naturally be things that you’re not familiar with, or that you need clarification about. However, you can unintentionally come across as disrespectful by approaching your supervisor and asking them questions at times when they’re busy.

“Your boss wants you to succeed, so it’s not like they don’t want to answer your questions. However, it’s your responsibility to establish how and when they prefer to be asked questions. This will not only get you better responses, but it will make you seem respectful, proactive, and thoughtful – all of which contributes to a good impression,” said Coach Minda.

Don’t forget the work

It might seem obvious, but it’s worth emphasizing: focus on doing quality work. If the quality of your work stands out, it will help you stand out, and can counter any of your initial shortcomings.

“Doing good work is where all of the other advice comes full circle,” said Coach Minda. “Present yourself well, and people will take you seriously. Don’t use your phone, and you’ll be more focused. Respect the time of others, and they’ll respect you for it. All of these things are conducive to doing better work. These strategies combined with a good work ethic will give you great output – and that is how you make the best impression.”

Starting that new job can be equal parts exciting and scary. You may be worried that people might not like you, or that you won’t be a good fit for the company’s culture. But just remember that they wouldn’t have hired you on if they didn’t think you were a good fit. Go in prepared, positive, and ready to work – and you’ll have no trouble making getting things started on the right foot.


See also:

4 ways to get yourself out of any slump

5 career lessons we can learn from Roger Federer’s comeback

What Auston Matthews can teach you about starting a new job

Career advice from Canada’s hottest chef



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