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Step-by-Step Guide to Making the Best First Impression

You only get one chance to make a first impression, so the importance of making a good impression during your first day at a new job is paramount. It can make or break how the onboarding process continues and how people address or conduct work conversations with you moving forward.

So, how exactly can you go about it? Start with these 5 steps.

Step 1 – Dress for the Culture

If you’re not given specific guidance on the company dress code, ask. One over-arching theme to remember is to dress neatly and professionally, regardless. This would even apply to the fitness industry. Showing up in ripped or stained clothes communicates that your level of preparation or care for day one is close to zero. When you get in-house, pay attention to what your colleagues and boss wear as you plan future work outfits. Don’t forget about remote attire too. Want to wear sweatpants? Fine, just make sure they aren’t visible.

Step 2 – Show Up Promptly

How do you think it looks if you show up late on your first day of work? Awful is a word that comes to mind. Research your commute and give yourself more than plenty of time to get ready and travel to work on your first day. Before you shift your hours to fit what might’ve been discussed throughout the interview process, at least for the first day, consider staying a little later and not taking very long lunches or breaks. Once you get a better idea of the company culture and workday format, you might be able to arrive and leave at times that fall in your preference.

Step 3 – Make Eye Contact with Each Introduction

When you make eye contact with someone, it shows you are focused on the conversation and allows you to read the person’s facial expressions. Eye contact is one of the best ways to remember what someone just said to you in conversation. Think of how many discussions you’ll have on the first day of a new job and how many people you’ll speak with. Eye contact is one of the best ways to keep the conversations straight and start developing co-working relationships.

Step 4 – Stash Phone and Actually Listen

Be present. We all know how much of a distraction our phones are. Don’t allow it to be and put it away. When you’re speaking with people and going through the onboarding process, think about it as attending a class in school. Take notes and listen more than you talk. Regardless of your industry, the company you work for, or the role you’re in, you should follow the thought process of a salesperson on a call during the first day.  Speak only 20% of the time and actively listen to what someone says 80% of the time. Learn more than you divulge.

Step 5 – Avoid Gossip and Office Drama

There’s a fine line between being friendly and developing relationships and listening or participating when it comes to gossip and drama at work. Be strong enough in your morality to step away, especially as the rookie in the office. Many professionals are guilty of checking their personal emails or scrolling through their social media accounts at work. However, do yourself a favor and keep your personal business on the company’s dime to a minimum if you want to stay at your job.

Based on your experience, what practices have you implemented to make the best first impression during day one of work? Join the conversation on LinkedIn and check out 4 Ways to Establish Boundaries at Work.