Making a good first impression at work | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 10, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 10, 2020

Making a good first impression at work

Starting your career with your best foot forward

Joining a new job can be stressful; we’re often unsure of what to do and how to fit in. The first few weeks at work are very important because it creates a lasting impression and here are a few steps to make one that can impress your peers and supervisors.

A positive attitude

Even though it sounds clichéd, having a positive attitude is one of the best ways to create a lasting good impression. Sometimes work pressure gets the best of us, especially in a new environment, but having a positive outlook when dealing with work shows that you are adaptable and can deal with difficult situations well. As Tasmia Tasbih Nova, HR business partner at Unilever Bangladesh puts it, “To me, an employee starting out can create a good first impression by firstly embracing change, whether it’s the change a fresh graduate encounters during their sudden shift from academia to the corporate world or the change that an experienced professional tackles on joining a new organisation as a mid-career move. Having an overall positive outlook towards change and displaying a sense of adaptability and hunger for learning new things, are key to creating a good initial impression.”

Workplace etiquette

Proper etiquette is one small thing that can make you look more professional. Research your workplace’s code of conduct, such as the policy on the use of social media during office hours, etc. Other details like proper email etiquette and dressing appropriately are things that can leave a lasting impression. Whatever you’re doing, remember it’s important to be on your best behaviour.

Showing up on time

Your boss is no stranger to Dhaka traffic, and while coming late once or twice due to unavoidable issues is acceptable, being late on a regular basis draws some red flags and makes you come across as someone irresponsible. A good strategy is to know exactly how long it takes you to reach work and to have a good few minutes of extra buffer time to avoid any problems.

Being approachable

It’s important to be approachable to make it easier for team members to talk to you and collaborate on work. Coming off as rude and arrogant can really ruin a good impression. If you’re someone who’s naturally shy and reserved, having a smile and positive attitude generally does the trick.

Understanding office dynamics

Starting out at a new workplace means you’ll need to assess office dynamics and understand where to fit in, while simultaneously making a good impression with your colleagues. A good place to start is by observing and adapting to your work environment, looking at how others conduct themselves around work and getting to know them.

Being respectful and nice is the way to go while interacting at work and on this Rawnak Zaheen Wasi, Marketing HR executive at BATB, says, “Go out there and introduce yourself to the people around. Albeit their serious expressions with eyes fixated on the screen, most people are really friendly. Be inquisitive and be open to embarking on new learning opportunities. Be unafraid to state your own opinions and explore new surroundings, and overall, just be yourself.”

Establishing credibility

When you’re starting out and aren’t really known at the office, it’s important to establish yourself as a hardworking and diligent employee, so people can learn to rely on you and trust the quality of your work. Of course you shouldn’t go to extreme lengths and take on too much work, but being driven and exhibiting good work ethic makes a lasting impression. Proactive approaches such as finding new projects after being done with current work and helping others, go a long way to solidify someone’s impression as a solid dependable employee. It’s also a great way to meet others at work, but care should be taken to ensure that this doesn’t impact your main tasks.

Own up to errors

It’s very common to make mistakes, especially when you’re just starting out, but what makes a lasting impression about somebody is how they handle their mistakes. Instead of shifting blame, it’s better to take responsibility for it and find ways to address it. Your manager will see that even if you made an error or things went wrong because of reasons beyond your control, you responded in the right way when trying to fix it.

Ask for feedback, but not too much

By asking for feedback, you’ll learn more about your new job, the things you’re doing right and the aspects that need more work. This will ensure that you’re fitting into your new workplace expectations, and give you an idea about what adjustments you should make if you aren’t. Moreover, it’ll also show your supervisor that you care about your work quality and are also willing to improve. However don’t ask too many questions, because then you might come off as indecisive. Striking a balance is key.

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