After weeks of cinema-worthy suspense and dramatic nail-biting, you can do your happy dance and call your mom with the good news. You got the new job. You made it in, and you feel excited to get started. Hold onto that feeling. You’ve likely started up a new round of worrying because now you need to start thinking about how your first few days will go. You want to do the job right, your boss to like you and your coworkers to find you useful. As overwhelming as all of this seems, try not to worry—well, you can worry a little—and test out some of this advice to make the best first impression at your new job as you can.
Here’s how to impress your boss on your first day at your new job.
1. Become an expert about the company
Eat sleep and breathe the company. Be the company. What exactly does the company do? What makes your company different from others in the industry? What sets it apart and makes it the company that you wanted to join? Knowing everything about who employs you will show your boss you aren’t just some spoiled punk fresh out of college. Follow the company’s social media and eat up every piece of literature you can get your hands on about it. Take time to read the company handbook and really understand how it works. Get yourself up to speed on its policies. Learn about its competitors. Figure out what makes it better than or different from the others. As someone who now holds a position within a large company, you should make it a point to align your goals with the company’s goals. This will help you understand the best way you can contribute to the business.
2. Who’s the boss?
You may have a standing so low in the company that no one knows your name, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn others’ names. Familiarize yourself with heavy-hitters at your new job. Have you figured out the name of the CEO? Do you know any of the board members’ names? Who runs HR or manages operations? “Get to know your supervisors and boss. There’s always someone watching and you don’t want to be caught saying or doing something unprofessional,” said recent Florida State University graduate Jazmine Goodman. If you ever run into one of the people that hold the reigns of the company, it would only benefit you to know their positions and expectations for you and your coworkers.
3. Understand the industry
No one likes a know-it-all new hire that doesn’t really know anything. “One common mistake seen in new hires is being arrogant and thinking they know everything when chances are they probably actually know very little compared to their coworkers who have been there longer and could teach them things. Many industries are in constant change and staying on top of trends and learning new ways of doing things can be a very important aspect to their job,” said President of CCH Marketing Cristina Calvet-Harold. If you want others to help you when the time comes, having thorough knowledge about the company and the industry will show that you haven’t just come into the business without trying to learn about how it works. Plus, who doesn’t love looking smart?
4. Look right, be right
We hear it all the time that appearances don’t matter, but we can all agree on the fact that people judge. That first look does make an impression. “In my opinion, to make a good impression on the first few days on a new job is to always show up on time and dress professional or in the required uniform. Clean, ironed, smelling nice,” said University of Central Florida junior Moniqe Robb. In that first once-over they give you, your boss and coworkers may decide a lot about you without even realizing it. Jeans, sneakers and a T-shirt? What feels comfortable and logical to you may translate as careless and inappropriate to others. Oh, and for the sake of everyone around you, take a shower.
5. Talk to your coworkers
Put yourself out there and make a real effort to get to know the people you work with. Learn how they work and about their roles in the company. You should look for people with your same job description, but if you happen to meet people with a job description different from your own, talk to them too. Figure out how their job relates to yours and how your roles affect each other. Be proactive and introduce yourself to people in an unassuming and non-distracting way. Ask them about an appropriate time to meet and speak about how you can assist them. In turn, they’ll prove more likely to help you if you come across a task you don’t yet understand. Teamwork makes the dream work.
6. See the extra fine print
You’ve memorized all the rules and the technical ins and outs of the workplace and could probably quote the company’s terms and conditions (hopefully). But what about the feel of the company? Pay attention to employee interactions and gain an understanding of the culture of the workplace. Watch and listen to how people in the office work with one other. As a newcomer, you should do everything by the book. Paying attention to your coworkers’ interactions will teach you how to should approach them in the future. When in doubt, however, just remain as perfectly professional as possible.
7. Get some shut-eye
As much as eating, sleeping and breathing the company benefits you, not taking the proper time to rest only brings down the quality of your work. Exhaustion does not a productive worker make. If you’ve managed to check off every other piece of advice on this list as well as execute them each day while working, you can safely shut your eyes and get some much needed sleep—at least until your next scheduled workday.
8. Stay away from the water cooler
Snitches get stitches; gossips get fired. No one likes a gossip. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you’ve entered a workplace and should act accordingly. “A good coworker is positive and driven in their work. Don’t get distracted by anything that has nothing to do with your job,” said Florida State University junior Michnikov Saide. Though you should talk to and get to know your coworkers, it only reflects badly on you when someone hears you speaking of any matter better left outside the workplace.
9. When in need…
Should you say, “how may I take your order?” Or, “hOw mAy I yOuR oRdER MA’am?” You’ve checked the guidebook five times. You want to ask your new coworker next to you, but she just looks so busy. You thought you understood perfectly what was expected of you, but something just doesn’t make sense. Ask questions if you don’t know what to do. No matter how much research and reading you’ve done, you will come to something you haven’t encountered before. You don’t want others to consider you a nuisance, but the reality remains that you’ve only just started in this workplace and you’ll need some help from time to time. Ask for the specifics of how to do something before you barrel through the task and finish it incorrectly. If you do make a mistake, use it as a learning experience. “Not being accountable has to be one of the most red flag raisers I’ve seen. Mistakes can and will be made–don’t get me wrong. But when a mistake happens on your part, own it, learn from it and challenge yourself to do better the next time,” said Battalion Chief at Orange County Fire Rescue Keith Watts.
10. Don’t worry, be happy
A wise and slightly forgetful creature once said, “Just keep swimming.” Don’t lose enthusiasm for the job in the middle of all this worry. “Be respectful and confident. The best people to work with are ones that do everything willingly and cheerfully—even if they’re not,” said Tallahassee Community College sophomore Matt Brigmon. And as supervisor at Optum, Kole Riley said, “Positivity and morale play such an important role in success. Something as small as saying good morning to your teammates every day lets me know that you are here to participate and engage.” Eagerly approach every task and execute it with a smile. Instead of complaining about the work set out for you, try to volunteer for more tasks when possible, as long as they don’t interfere with what you already have on your plate. And take arriving on time a bit further—come early, more than ready to get to work. Then leave late and show that you don’t shy away from the extra bit of effort it takes to get the job done right. After all, you care about this company.