You’ve landed a coveted new position and you’re ready to step into your new spotlight — congratulations. This is not only great for your resume but also a fantastic time to learn from the lessons of the past and ease into your new position gracefully. Here are a few tried-and-true ways to impress your new company from day one.
1. | Think about the tone, expectations, and boundaries you’re setting from day one.
Don’t allow first-day butterflies to distract you from the reality that you’re being sized-up by your boss, clients, and the new team you’re managing. A little forethought allows you to have a decent amount of control over the first impression you make, but without consistency, you’ll look insecure, or worse, fake. Spend some time before your first day thinking about the kind of image you want to convey in your new position and then set that tone from day one.
Dress well (and appropriate for the company culture), arrive on time (or five minutes early), stay friendly but professional, think about the ways you will bond with others, and assert any power you may have been given. Create a list of personal guidelines for yourself, make sure they are aligned with your new environment, and then use them to build a reputation that supports you in your new role.
2 | Don’t rush it, don’t personalize it.
Building trust takes time and there will be inevitable miscommunications and setbacks as you get to know the people in your new company (and they get to know you). Instead of jumping to conclusions and/or allowing new processes and procedures to exasperate you, stay still, give people the benefit-of-the-doubt, and ask for clarification when you need it.
3 | Watch and listen.
The day before I entered high school, I was given the following piece of advice; “The biggest mistake you can make in a new environment is to walk in unprepared. Take some time to get to know people and choose your friends wisely. Don’t sit there allowing just anyone to choose you.” At the time, I found these words to be rather negative, ominous even. But over time, I realized that great people take time to get to know and minding one’s tribe is an essential part of living a happy and healthy life and building a productive and positive career.
Whilst you don’t need to walk around in a paranoid state, don’t assume that person cozying up to you over coffee, spilling secrets on day three just feels a “friendly connection.” Stay neutral and get to know people before you move past initial pleasantries. Very few people can hide who they truly are for 30 days and there’s a good chance your first impressions of people might a be a bit off. Take some time to watch the ways the team interacts with one another, the personality types in the office, and what roles they play before you dive in.
4 | Speak about your last job like your ex.
When you speak of your last job, say positive things initially and then bring it up infrequently, or never. Saying “in my last job, we did it this way” to your new boss is like telling a new partner the things that worked better in your old relationship. Not a good move.