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How to make a good impression at your new job

Getting a new job is a fantastic feeling, but starting out in a new office or worksite can be intimidating. You don’t know the ground rules, you haven’t met your colleagues and you’re not sure what your boss will be expecting of you. So, how can you put first week nerves aside and make a stellar impression at your new job?

Here, Gavin Walker, Manager of Graduate Recruitment Services at Deakin University – who helps graduates move from university study into a fulfilling career – shares five top tips on making a good impression in a new position.

1. Keep an open mind

It’s easy to go into a new role armed with assumptions about what to expect. As Walker explains, it’s important to try not to let those thoughts creep in. ‘My first bit of advice is to make sure you don’t go in with preconceived ideas about the job, the organisation, or your manager.’ It’s also important to manage your expectations. For example, ‘if you aren’t too sure of the details of your role, don’t go in thinking you’ll get clients straightaway.’ On the other hand, don’t assume you’ll just be stuck in the mailroom either.

2. Do some groundwork

It’s not just your interview that you need to prep for; it’s important that you do a bit of research before you head to your first day of work. ‘Have a look at their annual report, check out their website, LinkedIn profile, do a Google search to see what comes up,’ Walker says. ‘Make sure you know what you’re going into.’ Doing a bit of prep is a great way to find mutual talking points with managers or colleagues, and to gather a more holistic overview of the company. ‘It’s almost like a personal induction,’ he adds.

3. Talk to everyone

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when first starting a new position is not getting to know their co-workers from the get-go. Many people focus on getting their initial tasks right, or impressing their manager – but, as Walker explains, without the support of co-workers, ‘you can become isolated very quickly.’ He suggests making a plan to meet everyone in your team, organisation or on your floor; ‘shake hands, have a chat, tell them something small about yourself.’ After all, they’ll be the people who’ll help to get you settled in and feeling comfortable in your new role.

4. Ask questions

Asking questions when you need to may sound like a simple tip, but it’s easy to get caught up with nerves when you start a new job. ‘If you don’t know something, ask.’ Walker suggests writing things down as you learn new information, as you’ll often need to retain a lot of facts and processes. ‘Make sure you ask your manager or team leader how they prefer to communicate, and set up regular one-on-ones.’ Your manager will appreciate you taking the initiative, and a regular meeting is a great way to ensure you’re both kept up-to-date and expectations are met on both sides.

5. Strike the right balance

‘Don’t be aloof, arrogant, or too quiet.’ Being open, positive and friendly are the keys to making it through your first month in a new organisation, Walker explains. ‘You haven’t been hired because you need to prove yourself, you’re there to help and people will want to help you in return.’ It’s important to ask questions and discuss concerns when needed, but your first few weeks should be about getting the lay of the land and meeting your new colleagues.

Take your job to the next level – read: How to thrive at work or Understanding the importance of workplace wellbeing.

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Gavin Walker
Gavin Walker

Manager of Graduate Recruitment Services, Deakin University

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