Fidgety-Fred and Anxious-Annie – it’s time to nix those first-day fears and prepare yourself for a fierce first impression at your new job!
Making a positive impression on your first day of work is critical to your ongoing success at your new organization.
Realize that the first 7 seconds of a person’s impression of you will hold precedence of their image of you in that same context (i.e. the workplace) unless you take multiple corrective measures to shift it.
In other words, if you come across as a plain potato or a messy bowl of noodles on your first day, people are not going to be ordering from your menu anytime soon.
Make a tasteful first impression and show off your talents with these 5 first day tips:
Get Your Outfit Ready the Day Before
You might not consider yourself to be a fashion force to be reckoned with. Perhaps you even explicitly reject societal notions of proper attire. But your first day is not the time to rock that “Rage Against the Machine” t-shirt or other forms of anti-establishment couture.
Whether you want to believe it or not, people form meaningful representations of your personality-profile based on your appearance, so you want to dress and look the part to make a solid first impression.
Here are some tips for planning your first-day outfit:
Creative Firm: In this case, “le freak c’est chic” may be applied to your wardrobe selection if you have scored a job at a very creative agency or firm that embraces individuality and expressiveness. Let the patterns spill from the canvas and onto your clothing. Add a polka-dot bowtie. A pop of coloured footwear. Show your unique side.
Startup Company: If you’ve found yourself in a start-up company, you’ll likely find a much more casual approach to dressing (i.e. hoodies and pants). You should still dress it up a touch for your first day, though. Perhaps, don a knitted, button-up “swacket” (sweater jacket) and some khaki pants. Sort of that upscale-understated, mais, non? Mais, oui!
Corporate Climate: No fun ideas for you, my friend. Stick to the simple but time-tested office slacks (or knee-length skirt) and a button-up shirt. Tie it together with a sharp blazer, and you’re off to corporate success!
Remote: Time to roll out of bed and…into the shower. You still may have a Skype meeting on your first day to introduce yourself, so put yourself together in a business casual ensemble and let your remote team know that you mean business.
Pep-Talk Yourself Up
There’s the old adage “fake it til’ you make it” and no other time does ever-so-slightly phony get you in good graces with others than when trying to impress people on your first day at the job.
That said, for at least a week before your first day get in front of your mirror and tell yourself, “I am a star. I am a champ. I am a winner. I am making the best impression on my first day and everyone loves me!”
Okay…maybe that’s a little too much.
But in all seriousness, positive affirmations have been shown to improve performance. So, set your expectations high for yourself, remind yourself of your capabilities with positive “I am” statements and come across with fervor on your first day.
Get Pitch Perfect
Once you get your self-pep-talk game strong, create a short elevator pitch explaining who you are, what you’ll be doing, and how you’ll be helping your new company’s goals.
Make it short, sweet and self-assured. Also, remember your body language when doing your meet and greets — a warm “duchenne” smile, a firm handshake and eye contact will do wonders to up the success of your introductions.
Keep in mind, that while you want to come across as confident, you do not want to project an air of arrogance at all. Be gracious in your manner, and considerate of the new environment that you’ve just entered.
Here’s a quick example of what to say:
“Hello! Great to meet you Kelso. I’m Fred and I’m a new Software Developer here at Xylophonics Corp – Jill brought me aboard to help you guys out with the XXX project. I’ve got some chops on [various programming languages] and have had success with [a similar project you worked on]. I’m super psyched to be a part of this team; everyone seems great. I’m excited to learn more about how you guys do things around here and how I can help.”
Don’t Be a Know-It-All (But Do Know A Few Things)
No one likes a self-important know-it-all (unless your name is Sheldon Cooper).
That said, you’ll seem out-of-line and uncalled for if you’re blazoning on about the next great move the company’s making under your new direction (especially when you’ve just been hired as a junior developer).
While you don’t want to go overboard à-la Sheldon Cooper and know everything, it’s important to have some knowledge of your company’s culture and current projects. Get your facts together and then lead the conversation with questions about what you already know. It’ll let your new coworkers talk all about everybody’s favourite topic to discuss, themselves, and what they’ve been up to.
A few more job tips: Go through the company’s blog to see what they’ve been up to recently, see if you can find mention of them in any recent news publications and start thinking about some leading questions you’d like to ask your new coworkers based on your findings. Also, take a peek at their company directory so you’re aware of who’s who so you can make a plan to network with some key people.
Here’s an example of how to lead with questions:
Annie: Wow – that’s great you guys completed X,Y,Z this quarter – what’s your biggest goal for the upcoming 3 months?
New Coworker: Well, with the upcoming economical changes we foresee a large growth spurt in our industry and thus have begun the major Project A.
Annie: Oh interesting – so are you exploring B to help you accomplish A’s goals?
New Coworker: I thought you’d never ask! You must have read our blog. Yes, B will help with our efficiencies and synergies to expedite project A. We will also use B to mitigate the effects of Q, a real quandary we’ve been facing.
Annie: Ya – I read about Q in the Wall Street Journal..Sounds like a real pain. But looks like you have a great plan to fix it – I hope it turns out well! Let me know if there’s anything my skills in [insert here] can help you with. Great meeting you.
New Coworker: Great meeting you too, Annie – you know, after talking with you, I can see why Anwar was so excited to bring you on the team – you really have some stellar ideas!
Winning in spades with your new coworkers! People might not remember what you say, but they remember how you made them feel…And if you make them feel important with the right leading questions, you’re going to look especially great and talented to them.
Go for Lunch With Your New Crew
Don’t shy away from some lunch and table talk with your new coworkers. You’re the new kid on the block and your desk neighbours are going to want to get to know you a little better. Open up about your interests and hobbies outside of work, noting to keep things professional and keep personal matters out of the conversation. You want them to have a greater understanding of what makes you who you are, and why you’re someone they will enjoy working alongside.
If you put yourself together, get your mind in power-mode, prepare your questions and make some good small talk, you will be a king of the concrete jungle on your first day at work.
P.S. If you’re new role doesn’t seem like a fit, we have plenty of great job opportunities within the tech field! Get in touch with us and we’ll help you find your dream position.