IT Employment

Five ways to make a good impression in your new job


You're starting a new job, and you're understandably eager to make a good impression on your boss and your colleagues. Since first impressions are so important - for right or wrong that first impression can determine how you're perceived for the rest of your days with the company - take it easy and don't try too hard. Here are some tips for easing into your new job without alienating yourself.

1. Don't try to fit in too quickly.

There's an episode of The Andy Griffith Show in which a stranger arrives in town. No one knows him but he knows everything about everyone else. His familiarity toward people freaks everyone out and they turn against him. In the end, everyone learns that he knew all about Mayberry because he had read their town paper while he was in the service and he fell in love with the town. He wanted to belong but went about it the wrong way.

The moral of the story is to take your time getting to know your colleagues. Absorb the culture for a while before you start assimilating yourself.

2. Don't come in with all your guns blazing.

I don't mean that literally, although literally it's not a bad tip either. What I mean is don't come into your new job with the attitude that you know all the answers. You may have lots of experience but you run the risk of suggesting things that have already been done. It's an indirect way of insulting your new employer's intelligence. Also, no matter how much people age, every group harbors a little of that middle school mentality---there's little tolerance for show-offs. And there's no such thing as instant credibility.

3. Avoid gossiping

When I first started out in the working world, I encountered some office environments where you were treated with suspicion if you didn't indulge in gossip. The bottom line is, gossiping can lead to big problems. First, it's really risky to gossip when you don't even know all the players yet. Second, if you're good at it, you could get a reputation that is not easy to shake off in the eyes of those who make the promoting decisions.

4. Be a quick study

Take lots of notes when folks are instructing you. Although the temptation is powerful to act like you absorb information instantly, in the long run people don't want you coming back and asking the same questions over and over.

5. Take the initiative

Many companies have clearly outlined training strategies in which they schedule you in blocks of time. If you find you have time between appointments, don't just sit around and drink coffee. Use the time to ask questions about what you've already learned, or do online research.

Ultimately, the best advice you can take is to use the first weeks to absorb information about your new company and its processes. You don't have to make a big splash your first day.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

20 comments
highlander718
highlander718

I am really sorry, but it's just another one of those articles that keep amazing me. Why would anyone need such common sense, obvious advises ? - don't go to an interview in cut-off jeans - don't eat during the interview - don't slap your boss - don't just sit around and drink cofee ... - don't forget to breathe

dkss4all
dkss4all

gr8.. advice.. thats to keep in mind.. & to work on this in interview...

erpone2000
erpone2000

Nature of job determines the right strategy, but it is always wise to observe and analyse the variables before active participation.

jpima
jpima

This is OKAY. Also, you need to be neutral to any conflict arising at early days. This can help you advice the two parties accordingly. John Pima

jkbh92
jkbh92

When ever I join something, I always try to keep my head low and ears up, so as to avoid people asking me questions, and to show that I don't have as much knowledge as the rest, and to listen to whats going on, find out more about people's personality, ask questions about things I don't understand, and most importantly, show that I know that I'm only new and will NOT talk over them and act as if I know more then them (even if I do)

Sumjay
Sumjay

Thanks Toni, You have resurrected my old University of Geneva's Management Accounting Professor's theory - K.I.S.S. Keep it Simple Silly! Nice guidelines for people at work.

narvash_red
narvash_red

i disagree with several of these always go in guns blazing never stop short unless you want to do every thing half-assed always give your best and show you can go the extra mile

ganesh
ganesh

Great!!! these are nice suggestions...

rjpadilla
rjpadilla

Pretty much common sense, but then some employees lack common sense. We have two eyes and one mouth, it's better to watch twice as much as we talk.

patclem
patclem

The worst thing is to be chomping at the bit, and they've only hired you to fill an open chair to keep from losing it to the bureacracy! You sit around for days or even weeks waiting for something to do. Ugh. Surf the Internet, get coffee (which only drives up the caffeine level making it worse.)

mkhizess
mkhizess

I have learn something from your point they are helpful more expecial to young emplyees

SPTubby
SPTubby

Very interesting - has anybody got similar for a new Senior Manager appointment. For instance, avoiding change for changes sake in order to make an impression with Board, taking time to win trust of (potentially threatened) staff, setting a marker for open management whilst expecting extarnal support at least and so forth. PS On my first placement (some years back!!) I resolved to remember names (a weakness) and read a book on associations (Dale Carnegie I thinK) and listed my new colleagues names alongside the animals to whom they could be likened. My tip is - do not leave the list on the desk :-)

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

"I encountered some office environments where you were treated with suspicion if you didn???t indulge in gossip." Me too. But usually you aren't expected to contribute. Most of the time you can just get along by listening.

iccent2
iccent2

i think these tips are really nice and will be helpful!

Tkirkpatrick
Tkirkpatrick

Superb. I have passed these on to my adult kids. AIWS - Pricesless clarity. More Toni please.

mhorlandi
mhorlandi

I believe that it is simple, first of all you need to know the people, culture and so on (opening your ears and eyes) before approach them. Not all companies are the same.

OKNightOwl
OKNightOwl

I agree. Being a Contractor/Consultant is a difficult balance, between learning and providing a service, and just seemingly sitting in the corner. Use what time you have so if and when the occasion arises, you can show off your stuff and get ahead. Just be prepared.

mdhealy
mdhealy

> listed my new colleagues names alongside > the animals to whom they could be likened. > My tip is - do not leave the list on the desk If they were trees, what kind of trees would they have been?

trimac06
trimac06

I totally agree. You need to thread cautiously, as everyone is watching. I recently started a new job and am slowly learning the culture of the organization and how to fit in properly. This article has helped me to slow down and be more cognizant of what is occurring around me.

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