11 Tips for Making a Great First Impression at Your New Job

Starting a new job can be nerve-wracking. You want to make a good impression, but you don’t want to seem too eager or desperate. So as you navigate the first few days at your new job, here are 10 tips for making a great first impression and not miss out on important information!

  1. Be on time. This one should be a no-brainer, but it’s important to show up on time (or even early) for your first day at work. Arriving late will only give your new boss and colleagues the impression that you’re not reliable or punctual.  It may seem overkill, but many people will take the route to their new job before the first day to ensure they know the way.  Also, some tech tools like Google maps will let you see if the route is busy during the day when you will be driving there.  Plan ahead and you will arrive with plenty of time to spare.  
  2. Dress the part. Again, this is an important one. You want to dress appropriately for the job you’re doing. If you’re not sure what the dress code is, err on the side of caution and dress up rather than down.  Another possibility is to reach out to the hiring manager, HR, or your key contact.  Ask them the dress code for the first day.  In some cases, you will be meeting the higher-level leadership through orientation and will want to make sure that you align your dress with company expectations.  
  3. Be friendly and introduce yourself. Smiling and being friendly go a long way in making a good first impression. Be sure to introduce yourself to your new boss and colleagues, and make an effort to get to know them.  If your company has name badges, make sure to wear yours throughout the orientation days.  Also, your school might provide a list of key people within the organization during orientation, including principals, office staff, accountants, and important parents.  When meeting people try to make a mental connection with that list.  If your organization does not give you a list, make your own.  Write down names and refer to them throughout the day to remember them.  Remember that spaced practice significantly increases memory retention (Brown, 2014).  
  4. Be positive. No one wants to work with a Negative Nancy. Be positive and upbeat, and people will be more likely to want to work with you.  Having a can-do attitude about your new school, colleagues, and students will speak volumes about your character.  Try to mention the positives about the organization that drew you to the school.  Was there a favorable quote from a teacher that resonated with you?  Maybe some aspect of the mission or vision excited you as a potential hire.  Above all, be sincere.
  5. Don’t gossip. It’s important to avoid gossiping about your new company, boss, or colleagues. Not only is it unprofessional, but it can also make you look bad if someone finds out.  There are countless stories about new teachers that spend their entire first days complaining about their previous workplaces or being overly critical of the new school.  Even during discreet times with new colleagues, it is best to stay professional.  When asked about a previous work experience, try to think of some positives and leave it at that.  People will respect your professionalism and see that you are a person that can be trusted.  
  6. Be a good listener. Listening is just as important as talking, if not more so. Show that you’re interested in what others have to say by being a good listener.  This is one area that should be the easiest to implement, but often causes challenges.  If you want to make a good first impression and find out about your new job, just ask, “What are some of the best parts about working here?”  Sit back and listen.  People might provide some interesting insights into the school that you had not considered before.  Additionally, it is important to take notes during orientation.  There is no way that you will remember every fact, direction, insight, or procedure that they share with you.  Taking a few quick notes will help you to synthesize information and aid with your processing.  
  7. Be proactive. Don’t wait for someone to tell you what to do. Show that you’re proactive and take the initiative.  If someone is prepping snacks or coffee, pitch in and start a conversation.  After breaks, be sure to clean up your area and thank any custodial staff around.  These new colleagues will be invaluable to your success, so let them know that you are on the same team!
  8. Be willing to learn. No one knows everything, so be willing to learn new things. This will show your boss and colleagues that you’re open to new ideas and willing to work hard.  It is tempting to start by saying, “at my old school, we did it like this…”  Although your insights in the end might be helpful, you will want to hear out the new school on what they are doing and, more importantly, why they are doing it that way.  Adding some thoughts along the way is encouraged as long as it is positive.  Remember that you are hired to enhance the mission and vision of the school, so your expertise is vital!
  9. Ask questions. If you’re unsure about something, don’t be afraid to ask questions. This will show that you’re interested and want to do things right.  Let’s be honest, there will be lots of questions, so be bold.  
  10. Take responsibility for your mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes, but it’s important to take responsibility for them. Own up to your mistakes and learn from them.  One clear example is forgetting people’s names.  Although your new job might have name tags on the first day, you will most likely not remember the avalanche of names that come at you.  Clarifying a name discreetly is much better than calling a colleague by the wrong name for the first six months!  A simple, “I’m sorry, we just met yesterday, but I can’t recall your name” will suffice. 
  11. The final bit of advice is to find ways to be yourself.  Do you like a certain TV show, book series, sport, or hobby?  Take time to bring it up during break times to see if you have some fellow fans in the midst.  

1 thought on “11 Tips for Making a Great First Impression at Your New Job”

  1. Hi there friends, its impressive piece of writing concerning educationand entirely defined,
    keep it up all the time.

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