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5 Expert Tips to Making a Great First Impression at a New Job | Undergrad Success
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5 Expert Tips to Making a Great First Impression at a New Job

5 Expert Tips to Making a Great First Impression at a New Job

Starting a new job is exciting!

But — you still may be experiencing some anxiety. 

It takes a while to adapt to a new boss, co-workers, and getting used to a new position. And those are just a few changes you’ll experience! 

However, instead of feeling nervous, there are ways to focus your energy to make a first great impression. 

Have a few tricks up your sleeve to make the process go smoothly. From day one, you can show them why they hired you in the first place. 

So shake it off and focus on these 5 expert tips so you can make a killer impression at work. 

1. Create a 30-60-90 plan

Wondering what a 30-60-90 plan is? 

Hold on, because this plan is a game-changer for new employees like yourself. 

During your job interview, the hiring manager may have asked about your 30-60-90 day plan.

If not, and you got the job anyway, don’t sweat it. 

As a new employee, consider strategizing that plan!

Here’s how to do it:

Write down what you’d like to accomplish at the end of 30, 60, and finally, 90 days.

Under each 30-day mark have set goals you’d like to achieve and have answers to the following: 

  • What you’d like to learn (be a sponge!)
  • How you plan to perform
  • Which personal goals you’d like to make

If you want to impress the socks off your new boss, the goals in your plan should include ways to perform above your potential.

Raise the bar during every stage and blow your original goals out of the water! 

As you know,  90 days is typically the standard trial orientation and evaluation period for new employees. 

So during your first 90 days, you should have a plan that will act as a compass to exceptional job performance. 

There are different types of plans. Generally, an excellent place to start is by writing down a summary of your job, what you hope to achieve, and how to meet your goals. 

And get this: 

Researchers from Dominican University found that people who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them. 

See? That’s why developing a 30-60-90 work plan is a good idea!

In other words, a plan will set the foundation for career advancement.

2. Set work-life boundaries 

Since you’re still new at the job, setting work-life boundaries may take some time.

You’ll want to make a good impression, but still have enough time after work to unwind, go hiking, or read a good book. 

Here are a few ways, in particular, to start working on your work-life boundaries:

Mix up your email response times 

It’s nice having a smartphone that connects you to work 24/7. But, the convenience of technology makes it difficult to set concrete boundaries. 

To create boundaries, try switching up when you respond to your boss on the weekends. By making your email response time unpredictable, your boss won’t expect you to be at their beck and call. 

So, as opposed to getting back to every email right away, sometimes wait a few hours and at other times respond the next day. By keeping them on their toes, they won’t have unrealistic expectations as to when you’ll get back to them. 

However, by taking the time to respond on the weekends, you’ll make a good impression. They should recognize that you’re excellent at communicating, regardless of whether you respond right away or within a few hours. 

Make a good impression during the first six months 

It may take some time to learn what your work-life balance looks like, and that’s a good thing. While you’re busy discovering what your work-life balance is, you should put your head down and focus on doing well at your job.

The halo effect tells us that first impressions matter. Since making a positive impression matters, when you first start working, put your best foot forward. 

By excelling at your job during the first six months or so, you’ll make a good impression on your manager. Going forward hopefully they’ll see you as a reliable employee. 

As time goes on, continue to do your best to find a balance but realize there isn’t such a thing as finding the perfect balance. It’s all about figuring out a way to effectively navigate through life and do the best that you can. 

3. Be a nice person at work 

This tip goes without saying, but we promise there’s a point to this. 

First off, here are a few ways you can show kindness at your new place of employment: 

  • Be an active listener
  • Participate in team-building activities 
  • Treat everyone with respect 
  • Celebrate co-workers’ successes with them

We also want to point out that being kind is one thing, but don’t allow co-workers or a boss take advantage of you.

How so? 

Well, it’s essential to take note that you may have a harder time advancing in your career if you have a hard time saying “no”. If you’re afraid to hurt a co-worker’s feelings, for example, don’t be. 

If there’s ever a point where you’re taking too much on, and it’s taking away from the company’s growth, you must figure out a solution. 

Figuring out a solution means being upfront and talking to your boss or co-workers, depending on the situation. If this is the case, your boss should be understanding, especially if you explain why you feel this way. 

One way to approach the conversation positively is by explaining how both you and your co-workers can grow from this by dividing up the tasks more. 

If the decision is up to you, perhaps you can give another co-worker control over a project or task. If they’re excelling at a joint project but didn’t want to step on your toes, hand off the task.

But back to us discussing how being nice at work is a good thing — within reason, of course. 

Being friendly at work has many benefits, in addition to making a great impression. 

Here are a few: 

  • While working with you, company employees feel happy because happiness is contagious!
  • You are sharing knowledge with co-workers (and maybe even your boss) and vise versa.
  • You have inward feelings of happiness knowing you’re a nice person.
  • You will experience an improved work environment and a boost in work morale. 
  • Kindness lowers people’s stress and thus, improves mental health.

There’s another surprising advantage of being happy at the workplace:

University of Iowa experts reveal that by staying happy at work, you’ll sleep better! 

So, if you want to make a good impression at work and get a good night’s rest, among other things, keep a smile on your face and be kind. 

4.  Dress to impress

Are you dressing the part for your new job? 

It turns out that how you dress at work makes a big impression.

You may have a lot of color in your wardrobe. Despite that, don’t think you can dress like Rainbow Brite, especially when you first start working. 

Depending on your work’s dress code, you should still err on the side of caution. 

Dressing the part makes a huge impression on your boss and co-workers. 

Don’t believe us? 

Just wait until you hear about the results of this study: 

Beth Winfrey Freeburg and Sally E. Arnett did a study on the impact of appearance in the workplace. 

In the Journal of Career and Technical Education, they outlined their findings. They found that an employee’s appearance has a significant effect on people in life, and more specifically, relates to job performance.

In addition to an employee’s job performance, employers relate how you dress at work to how committed you are to your job. 

Here are a few examples of what the Journal of Career and Technical Education cites as various dress codes:

  • Casual attire includes shorts, jeans, and sweatpants.
  • Business casual is in-between informal and casual, and you can wear clothing such as khakis and nice shirts (button-down, for example).
  • Professional dress means wearing suits, dress pants, skirts, slacks, and ties.

Yes, keep in mind this will vary depending on your job.

Based on this study, to make a good impression, dress the part and you’re more likely to get a positive reception in the workplace. 

5. Develop good time management skills

It’s imperative to establish reasonable time management right off the bat at a new job.

While getting used to your job, it’s easy for projects to pile up and not know how to prioritize them. 

Experts say you should come up with some time management techniques to help tackle current projects.

In a study by International International Journal of Academic Research in Economics and Management Sciences, researchers explain how time management can benefit you at work. 

However, they state that as opposed to thinking of “time management” as controlling how you use your time, you must control yourself.

In other words, you call the shots when it comes to time management. Manage your time in a manner that makes the most sense to you. 

Once you’ve gotten a handle on your time, here are a few examples on how you can get more tasks done: 

  • Writing out lists of your most important to-dos
  • Scheduling blocks of time to get specific jobs done
  • Deciding which projects are most important. 

Setting up a routine is essential if you want to get things done on time. After all, you don’t want to deliver a project late!

Do yourself a favor and come up with positive skills that’ll help you make a good impression now and in the future.  

It’s exciting starting a new job, especially one that could potentially launch your career! 

Now that you’re getting down to business, we hope these five expert tips we discussed above will help you along the way. 

Not only are the first couple of days in your new position pivotal to making a good impression, but the days to come will be just as important. 

The beginning stages of a new job are what matters most, so it’s up to you to perform at your absolute best. 

Apply these expert tips, and you’ll undoubtedly enhance your craft and gain more experience at your new job. 

Now put your head down and get to work! 

Kelley Stack is the business manager at Sawyer Place. With over ten years of experience in Manhattan managing luxury properties, she begins and ends each day loving what she does.


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