Starting a New Job

Jobs are not easy to find in this tough economy.  If you can find any job at all, you are pretty lucky.  Currently, there are many new college graduates working to find their first office job.  In some cases, some new graduates are looking to find any job at all.  If you find a new job, you certainly want to make a winning first impression.  It is important to make a great first impression right in the beginning so your co-workers will respect you.   Here are some tips to keep in mind for your new job.

Smile and Greet Everyone

You never know who you will end up working with while at your new job or who might want to promote you to their department.  This is why it is a good idea to be kind and friendly to everyone.  You don't want to make a bad first impression with anyone, especially if that person might speak to your boss about you.  For all you know, that person may become your boss one day.

When you are first introduced to everyone at the office, offer your hand to shake their hand, especially if it looks as if they are approaching to shake your hand.  Make sure to give them a firm hand shake, but don't squeeze their hand in a way to make them lose blood circulation.  As silly as it sounds, you may want to practice with a friend or family member if you are not certain about this.  A firm hand shake shows confidence.  A hand shake with a death grip is just too much.

Make sure to make eye contact and smile.  Small talk about weather and current events is a great way to chat with new co-workers.  Don't pick topics that are too contraversial for your current events.  If you think the president is doing a crummy job, now is not the time to express that opinion.  If you appear confident and friendly, co-workers will automatically feel more comfortable around you.

Wearing the Right Outfit

When you interviewed for the position, you should have seen how others were dressed and you should try to imitate that.  If everyone was pretty casual, don't get too carried away with casual attire the first week.  It is always better to overdress rather than underdress.  Keep in mind, you may have interviewed on a "casual day" but not everyday is like that.  When in doubt, ask whoever is hiring you what the dress code is for the company.

Enthusiasm is Important

When starting your new job, make sure to show up on time everyday.  Also, do not take long lunch breaks.  If you get an hour lunch break, go to great lengths to get back after just one hour.  Some jobs are pretty relaxed as far as lunches go, but you are new and the rules do not apply to you yet.  You are better safe than sorry.  Always get to work a little early and come back from lunch breaks a little early.

If a co-worker is training you on a project, make sure to listen carefully to his or her instructions.  If that person asks if you have any questions, by all means, ask questions if you are lost.  Don't sit there and seem disinterested in anything you are being taught.  Even if you are disinterested, fake you way through it.  That person is being kind enough to help you and you need to appreciate it.

It never hurts to offer your help.  If you see a co-worker needs some help, offer your assistance.  If you are asked if you feel comfortable trying a new task, give it a try.  Again, confidence is the key to making a great first impression with any new job.  If you don't seem eager to learn or eager to help, it will count against you.

Some Things are Better Left Unsaid

Some topics are just awkward for the office.  Keep in mind, you are not hanging out with your friends at home.  When you are working at a new job, you need to keep as professional as possible.  Here are some examples of things you just shouldn't say:

  • When asked what you have been doing before coming to that job, don't say, "Being lazy," or "Nothing," or "Sitting around," or anything along those lines.  Tell them you were taking classes or looking for employment for a while.  Even if you were being lazy, don't say it.
  • Don't mention you hate working.  Sure, it is true, but once again, it is best to keep that one to yourself.
  • Don't say you took the job because you had no other choice.  Yeah, we are all in that boat now.  There aren't too many jobs out there and many of us are lowering our standards.  No one is going to appreciate that comment. 
  • When asked what you've learned so far or what you think of the job so far, come up with something positive to say.  Don't say you don't like the job or you don't like the company.  You might want to say something like, "I am grateful for this opportunity," or "I am getting to know everyone and it seems interesting here." 

Just remember, it is in your best interest to remain confident, friendly, and eager to learn when you are first starting a job.  Even if you don't like it, you never know who will be able to help you in the future.  There could be plenty of future job references working all around you and you don't even realize it yet.  So good luck to you!