How to Make a Good First Impression at Work

First impressions are crucial in most situations, but especially in a professional setting. You only get one shot at a first impression, and if it’s a bad one, it can cause damage that’s difficult or impossible to undo. Someone’s first impression of you can set the tone for your professional relationship from that moment forward, so you’ll want to be sure it’s positive.

Of course, how to make a good first impression at work starts with the interview, but it doesn’t end there. Making a good impression with the people you interview with is essential for getting the job. You may meet several people throughout a round of interviews before you’re offered a position, but once you’ve accepted a role and you report for your first day on the job, you’ll meet many more people within the organization. From managers and team leaders to fellow co-workers, you’ll want to be sure that your positive attitude leaves a lasting, good impression.

Maintain a Professional Appearance

You may already expect that you’re supposed to dress professionally during the interview, but what happens after you’ve landed the job? It’s important to still maintain a professional appearance, even well beyond the interview and initially starting your job. When it comes to first impressions, one of the first things that people will notice about you is your appearance. A professional appearance is the best way to show that you take your job seriously, and if people at work see that you’re dressed professionally, that is the vibe they will initially get when they meet you. 

Remember, the people you met during the interview are likely just a small fraction of all the people you’ll meet during your first days on the job. You’ll want to make a great first impression at work with a professional appearance with the other people you’ll be meeting when you begin. When it comes to maintaining a professional appearance, you’ll want to find out about your office’s dress code and go from there. Some dress codes are strictly professional and you’ll want to dress accordingly. Even if the dress code is more casual and laid back, you don’t want to be too casual when you’re still trying to make a good first impression. 

A Positive Attitude Is a Great Way for How to Make a Good First Impression at Work

Be friendly and smile, without being too over the top. Even if you are wearing a mask as part of COVID-19 precautions, your facial expressions can show a lot about your demeanor, and people will still be able to tell if you’re smiling or constantly have a solemn expression. One of the best ways to make a positive first impression is to have a positive, upbeat attitude. 

How to Make a Good First Impression at Work — Politeness Goes a Long Way

Lack of basic manners can be the fastest way to make a poor first impression. Regardless of whether the person you are interacting with at work, always be polite and have good manners. This is a sign of respect and consideration for others, which is an easy way to make a good first impression at work. 

Take an Interest in Others

As a new team member, it’s likely that people will ask you a lot of questions as they’re getting to know you. While it’s perfectly fine to share your story with others, keep in mind that these are people you are also meeting for the first time: they aren’t just meeting you. You can make a good first impression by taking an interest in their lives as well, showing that you’re friendly by asking them questions, and expressing genuine interest in getting to know them. If you talk about yourself too much, especially when you are just getting to know people at work, it can give off the impression that you are too self-focused.  

Be Punctual

You likely weren’t late for your interview, so it’s crucial not to be late for work, either. This goes beyond just the first day: ensuring you arrive on time for work each and every day shows that you value people’s time and that you take your job seriously. If you’re showing up late, this can quickly put you in a negative light. Some companies have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to tardiness, so it’s best to play it safe and even try to arrive early. 

Eye Contact

It may seem insignificant, and while the importance of maintaining eye contact can easily be overlooked, it shouldn’t be. Looking away from someone when you’re speaking with them can make it seem like you aren’t interested in what they have to say, that you’re distracted, or that you’re insincere. If you got the job, it’s likely that you were good at making eye contact during your interview, as this is an important thing to do when you are trying to make a good first impression. Make sure you keep up with this habit as you start out with your new job. 

Be Aware of Your Body Language

This is another thing that is frequently overlooked, but it shouldn’t be. Body language can tell a lot about what a person is thinking or feeling, and the wrong body language can send a negative message and make a poor first impression. For example, slouching can signify that you are bored or uninterested — not a good way of how to make a good first impression at work! It can be hard to notice your own body language, so try to practice being aware of it more often when you’re not in the office and make note of how you can improve it. 

How to Make a Good First Impression at Work When Working Remotely

Today, the normal workspace looks a bit different for many people, with a significant percentage of individuals now working from home. If you’re just starting a new remote job, making a good first impression can be somewhat more challenging because you don’t have that face-to-face interaction. You don’t want to simply be forgotten about because you never really had a chance to make any kind of impression, one way or another. 

Certain things may be impossible to do with a fully remote position, such as maintaining eye contact. However, there are still other ways you can facilitate good professional relationships with your colleagues and make a good first impression. If the company you’re working for hasn’t done so already, ask about setting up a video call that enables you to introduce yourself to the team and get to know everyone. Use some of the same principles that you would normally implement in a face-to-face working environment in order to make a lasting first impression — be genuinely interested in getting to know people, be aware of your body language while on camera, and always have a pleasant demeanor

Further, with a remote job, some people can easily fall behind on projects and assignments if they are not disciplined. Prove to your team members that you are organized and hardworking by performing well and submitting assignments on time. Always be punctual for online meetings and phone calls, and even though you’re working from a home office, take the time to look professional for all video meetings.

Be Proactive About Communication

Solid communication amongst team members is crucial for how to make a good first impression at work. It ensures that everyone is aware of what’s happening and that everyone is on the same page. It can also clear up any potential misunderstandings and it is essential for team-building. If you’ve noticed that your team isn’t the best at communicating, make it a point to be proactive about it. This is especially important if everyone is working from home, as it can be easy for effective communication to take a backseat. As a new employee, this is a good way to show that you’re passionate about your job and that you care about the success of the company.

Free Resources to Boost Your Career

At Simplilearn, we want to see you grow and be successful in your career. From essential on-the-job techniques to learning new skills that can elevate your career, Simplilearn is happy to offer a collection of free resources through our SkillUp Program. These resources include free courses across many disciplines to give you the opportunity to explore many new career options, which can help you during this exciting new stage of your life. Having a strong skill set is a great way of how to make a good first impression at work, after all!

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