wikiHow to Make a Good Impression at Work

Three Parts:Dressing to ImpressPresenting Yourself WellDemonstrating Your Value

You only have one chance to make a first impression when you start a new job. First impressions often turn into long term perceptions so putting the right foot forward on your first day can have long lasting benefits in your professional life. Make sure that you are showing your new coworkers how valuable you will be as a part of the team by putting some effort into how you present yourself on your first day.

Part 1
Dressing to Impress

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    Choose your outfit based on the job and environment. Many jobs today allow their employees to dress in what is commonly called “business casual” and involves khakis, slacks or skirts and collared shirts or blouses. However, some offices may require a more formal dress code and working on a construction site would likely have very different requirements.[1]
    • Take note of what people are wearing during your interviews. There’s no better way to know what is considered appropriate work attire than to see what employees are currently wearing.
    • Always err on the formal side when starting a new job. It’s better to appear to be overdressed than too casual.
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    Start with a conservative appearance. While the dress code in your new office may be a little relaxed, it's best to begin your first day with a fairly conservative appearance. Once you get to know the environment, you may be able to relax on some facets of office attire and presentation, but wait until you're sure.
    • Stick to relatively conservative hair styles, makeup, and jewelry until you know the office culture.
    • Take cues from your coworkers on what the acceptable limits of office appearances are.
    • Always check the employee handbook for rules about employee appearance.
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    Wear smart shoes. There are many kinds of professional footwear on the market and you should make sure to match your shoes to the work you will be doing. Your shoes should appear professional and in keeping with the style of dress that is expected in the workplace (like wearing dress shoes with a suit or boots with work pants on a construction site).[2]
    • Make sure your shoes are comfortable, especially if you will be on your feet a lot. While the comfort of your shoes won’t directly create an impression, focusing on how bad your feet hurt will make it difficult to focus on other more important things.
    • Check the employee handbook to make sure there are no limitations on things like heel height for women or a requirement to wear non-skid shoes in certain environments.
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    Make sure you are well groomed. Now that your outfit and shoes are perfect, you need to make sure your grooming matches. Personal hygiene can have a dramatic effect on first impressions and no outfit can compensate for bad body odor.[3]
    • Get a fresh haircut before your first day on a new job.
    • Make sure to shower and wear deodorant.
    • Trim your fingernails and ensure you don’t wear makeup or nail polish that is inappropriate for a professional environment.

Part 2
Presenting Yourself Well

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    Use good manners. Having good manners is a great way to make a solid first impression with anyone, and that includes people in your workplace. Having good manners can demonstrate your maturity while endearing you to your new coworkers.[4]
    • Be on time to work and for meetings.
    • Say please and thank you when appropriate.
    • Do not tell off color jokes or make inappropriate comments.
    • Showing common courtesy to others is a great way to begin conversations with new coworkers. Offer a polite greeting or hold open doors for people and you may find you are making friends already.
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    Be mindful of both official and non-official office policies. The human resources department at your new job should provide you with an employee handbook or guidelines about policies and procedures in your new job. Keep those in mind and keep an eye out for unofficial office policies to make sure you follow them as well.[5]
    • Unofficial policies include general office procedures that may not be listed in formal documents. Things like replacing the printer paper if you were the last to use it or taking personal calls outside are examples of policies that may be unofficial but are generally followed by your coworkers.
    • Official policies may include wearing jeans on Fridays or scheduled break times.
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    Get to know your coworkers. You will be spending a great deal of time with your coworkers, so it makes sense to get to know them, but it can also benefit the way your coworkers perceive you. Be friendly and spark up some conversations with your new team.[6]
    • Making an effort to get to know your coworker’s names will make them more apt to remember yours and demonstrates that you are interested in getting to know them.
    • Talking to you coworkers can demonstrate that you are a team player early.
    • Establish relationships with your coworkers, but be mindful of who you spend too much time with. You don’t want to be associated with hanging out with the office gossip or slacker before you have a chance to establish yourself.
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    Listen actively. Active listening is a way to interact with other people that demonstrates that you find what they are saying is important and valuable. It’s a great way to improve mutual understanding as well as establish or solidify professional relationships.[7]
    • Focus your attention on who’s speaking and provide them with non-verbal acknowledgements that you are listening like nodding your head.
    • Make eye contact with the person speaking, but don’t maintain it for too long.
    • Repeat the speaker’s points to them in your own words to demonstrate that you were paying attention and understand what was said.
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    Leave your personal life at home. You may be facing difficulties at home that make it difficult to focus while at work. While it’s understandable that you may struggle with outside issues from time to time, do your best to check your problems at the door and focus on the job and maintaining your professional relationships while you’re on the clock.[8]
    • Discussing your home problems could reveal aspects of yourself to coworkers that doesn’t reflect the caliber of employee you truly are. For instance, you may be worried about your personal debt, but you don’t want your coworkers to think you may not be able to stay within budget on work projects.
    • If something at home is upsetting you, it could affect how you interact with people in the workplace. Try to enter the workplace with a fresh state of mind and positive outlook.
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    Be aware of your body language. A majority of the communication we do throughout the day is actually non-verbal. You are saying things to your new coworkers in the way you walk, stand, and position yourself as you speak, so be sure you’re sending the right messages.[9]
    • Avoid standing with your arms crossed, as it suggests a defensive attitude.[10]
    • Use good posture and a friendly expression to demonstrate your confidence.
    • Smile regularly and nod as you listen to people speak.

Part 3
Demonstrating Your Value

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    Ask for help. No one expects you to immediately understand all the elements of a new job right away, but they may be too busy to realize that you need help. Don’t be embarrassed to ask someone to explain something to you; not only does it demonstrate that you care about the work you are doing, but it might even make the person you ask like you more.[11]
    • It’s better to ask for help than to do something the wrong way. Save you and your coworkers time by asking for clarification and doing things right the first time.
    • Benjamin Franklin famously won over people that didn’t like him by asking for favors. Asking for a favor can pacify someone that sees you as a rival and make them see you in a more positive light.[12]
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    Take initiative. You may find yourself without much to do on your first day at work. After filling out human resources documents and completing orientation there may be time leftover that your supervisor or manager hasn’t accounted for. Don’t let that time, or any time in your new job, go to waste.[13]
    • Volunteer to help others with things so you can learn about the job and get to know your coworkers.
    • Be proactive and complete tasks you know you will be asked to complete later.
    • Be comfortable with the idea of doing things that might make you uncomfortable. Doing new things is the only way to get good at them.
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    Know the company. Demonstrating an understanding of what the company does and how it works on your first day shows that you are well prepared and care about the job. Research the company you will be working for and read about their operations and policies on their website if you can. [14]
    • Look for the company in the news to see if there are any developing or recent stories that involve the company.
    • Peruse press releases the company posts on its website.
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    Share the spotlight. Shining a spotlight on the help others have provided or the hard work they’ve done goes far to demonstrate your confidence and that you are a team player. If someone goes out of their way to assist you, mention it to the group or your supervisor in conversation.[15]
    • Pointing out the achievements of others may strengthen your relationship with them.
    • Demonstrating that you are willing to share the spotlight shows your employers and coworkers that you aren’t selfish.
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    Develop your first impression into a lasting impression. Now that you have established yourself as a valuable new member of your team, it's up to you to live up to the expectations that you've set for yourself. Keep up your good habits to establish a long lasting impression as a team player and asset to the organization.[16]
    • Be a hard worker, but be modest about your successes and achievements.
    • Demonstrate a willingness to help others and be a part of the team.
    • Be honest about mistakes and upbeat about every situation.
    • Be ambitious and action oriented; don't be afraid to try new things.

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Categories: Office Skills | Work World