When it comes to your first day at any new job, you should never underestimate the value of a positive first impression. A great first impression can help you put your best foot forward, setting the scene for the road ahead. To make sure you impress, it's important to be aware that your attitude, presentation and performance will inform people's initial impression of you - and you must take care to avoid unfavourable conduct that can lead to negative judgements. After all, the impression you make on your first day can have a lasting influence on how your new colleagues perceive you. With this in mind, we've put together our top tips to help you make the right first impression:
Dress to impress
It might sound cliché, but the way you present yourself on your first day can be vital to making a good first impression. If you look as though you've just rolled out of bed and into the workplace, it can leave the impression that you are disorganised or simply don't care. While you don't have to turn up in Sunday best, ensure that you wear something neat and professional which complies with company dress code. If you're unsure about the dress code – opt for the outfit you wore to your interview as you already know it's a proven success.
If there is one golden rule for the first day of any new job, it's making sure that you arrive ahead of time. After all, the moment of your arrival is the very first impression you will make as an employee, so you don't want to be rushing in five minutes after you're asked to arrive. To avoid being late, be prepared ahead of time by choosing your outfit, making lunch, and checking your train timetable or driving route the day before. If you think you're at risk of sleeping in, set multiple alarms or even invest in a classic clock radio (instead of depending on your phone). You should also plan to arrive at least half an hour before you need to – ensuring that even if you encounter public transport delays or traffic on your commute – you'll still arrive on time.
Have a positive attitude
Having a positive attitude is something that doesn't take much effort, but can have a monumental impact on the impression you make. Ensure that you approach every task you're given with a high level of positivity and enthusiasm – demonstrating your willingness to work hard and contribute to the team. Similarly, show enthusiasm about meeting your new team by taking the time to introduce yourself to each of your new colleagues. If you're invited to lunch or asked about yourself, use the opportunity to engage and build new relationships.
Not only is asking questions the best way to demonstrate your willingness to learn, but it is actually expected of you as a new member of the company. If you don't take time to ask questions in your new role, it can lead to the assumption that you're not interested in learning, or the role. So take advantage of the extra time your team will spend training you to ask all of the questions you like, as you might not have the same opportunity to ask a few months down the track.
Don't focus on personal matters
While employers understand that some situations beyond your control will require you to answer a personal call, do your best on your first day to avoid tending to personal matters while on company time. If you're busy texting, answering personal emails or updating your social media status during work hours, it can be a red flag that you prioritise your own personal business over your job. Unless it's urgent, it can generally wait until your lunch break or after work.
When starting a new job it's important you still take care of your work-life balance. Read our article on how to best strike a balance between work and life here.