How to Make a Good First Impression at Work: 3 Ways to Shine on Day 1

August 31, 2023

6 min read

How to Make a Good First Impression at Work - 3 Ways to Shine on Day 1

You impressed them in the interview. You landed the job. Now it’s time to make a good first impression at work on Day 1.

Let’s look at how to impress with your appearance, your promptness, and your attitude. We’ll go over three ways to make a good impression whether you’re at a formal workplace or working from home.

#1: Impress With Your Appearance

Your appearance makes your first impression at work. Others see you before they talk with you or work with you. That doesn’t mean that you should wear a tux—unless you’re a maître d’ at a swanky establishment. That’s the key: Dress and groom appropriately for your job and workplace.

Before you start your first day at work, find out what the expectation is for your appearance. Is the workplace “business casual”? Does the job require a uniform? Regardless of the dress code, make sure you don’t look sloppy. Take pride in your appearance, and show respect to your coworkers and clients.

You’re likely to meet a lot of new people on your first day of work. So, learn what you need to know about the expectations, and then prepare to impress.

If You Work From Home …

Just because you work from home, it doesn’t mean that your appearance doesn’t matter. Be ready for video chats and meetings. That includes not only your personal appearance but the appearance of everything in your camera’s view. Your teammates, boss, and clients don’t want to see a pile of Snickers wrappers, empty wine bottles, and a sticky fly strip hanging from the lampshade. Put some thought into—and take pride in—your appearance and the appearance of your workspace.

This doesn’t just make a good first impression at work. Dressing and grooming in a way that’s deliberate and respectful will also make you feel more professional and motivated to get work done. A clean, uncluttered, and appropriately-designed workspace is conducive to creativity and productivity.

#2: Impress With Your Promptness

You don’t want your first impression at work to be the fact that you’re not there when you’re supposed to be. Since this is a new job, it’s likely that finding its location is new to you. The commute is new to you. Figuring out where you’re supposed to report to work is new to you.

So, before your first day, do a practice run. Make sure you know where you’re going, how to get there, and what to expect with the commute at that time of day. The night before, plan what you’re going to wear, and make sure it’s ready, along with anything you plan to take with you.

Make a plan for what time you’re going to leave home, and add a cushion so you have extra time. Plan to arrive early. The best way to be on time is to arrive early. The best way to arrive early is to prepare and give yourself more time than you think you need.

Also, make sure you have the phone number of the person you’re reporting to when you arrive. That way, if you’re going to be late for some reason, you can let them know.

If You Work From Home …

Just because you’re not showing up for your new job somewhere across town does not mean that you don’t have a workplace where you should be at the start of the workday. You have a workplace; it just happens to be in your home. Be there promptly at the agreed-upon time. Clock in however you’re supposed to clock in. Be available to your boss, coworkers, and clients—and get to work.

Put in the time that’s expected of you. Don’t make people have to track you down. When promptness is part of your first impression at work, it sets the tone and lets others know they can count on you starting now.

#3: Impress With Your Attitude

Showing up early and looking sharp are a couple of ways you communicate your attitude toward your new job and colleagues. These behaviors indicate that you’re eager and respectful. As you go through your first day on the new job, and as you deliver the first product of your work, do what you can to express an attitude that will win over your teammates, supervisor, and clients. To make a great first impression at work with your attitude, help others see the following qualities in you right from the start:

  • Enthusiasm: As we’ve already discussed, you want to make it clear that you’re excited to have this job, be part of this team, and contribute to this organization’s mission. Smile, take initiative, and go the extra mile.
  • Respect: We’ve looked at how you can show respect through your appearance and promptness. You also can express respect by your interest in the other standards and expectations of your organization and doing what you can to meet or exceed them. Do your job to the best of your ability, and let others also shine by supporting them and giving them credit where it’s due.
  • Gratitude: It’s likely that other people applied for this job and didn’t get it. You did. This organization made you part of the team, and that’s a gift you should always be thankful for. Think about some ways you can express that gratitude. Just be careful to act sincerely and not in a way that smacks of self-seeking sycophancy. Because everyone hates self-seeking sycophancy.
  • Teamwork: Regardless of your position, you’re likely to be part of a team. From Day 1, show that you’re a team player who wants the organization and the team to succeed. You’re not in this for you. You’re committing to pull your weight and celebrate when others succeed.

If You Work From Home …

The principles above also apply if you work from home. But, since you’re not around others as much as you would be in an organizational workspace, you need to place an emphasis on one thing: communication. Don’t make your colleagues wonder whether you’re on the job. Don’t allow a chance for them to doubt if you’re meeting deadlines.

You can make a positive first impression at work on Day 1 by establishing an effective communication process. Find out how your boss, coworkers, and clients like to communicate. Do they prefer email or a phone call? Does the team use a particular app? Then, in the early days on the job, figure out the frequency and nature of communication that people want. Also, make sure you’re reachable when you should be.

Always err on the side of overcommunication. Again—don’t make people wonder or have to track you down. Be available, and take the initiative. It’s better to have them tell you that you don’t need to communicate so often than to have to hound you for updates and answers.

What Impression Do You Make When You Communicate?

Even if you don’t work from home, you can benefit from applying the tips in the previous section. Communication is crucial, regardless of your work situation. What kind of impression do you make when you communicate? You might be surprised. Yoodli’s free desktop app gives you real-time (and private) feedback on how you come across.

You can use the app during online meetings, interviews, presentations, and more. And, no one else knows that you’re using it (even if you share your screen)—although they enjoy the benefits! It notifies you when you’re monopolizing a conversation, interrupting others, or using noninclusive language that might make some people feel left out.

Not only does the live feedback help you course correct at the moment, but the app helps you identify your communication habits so you can improve your skills over time. You find out whether you tend to talk too fast or too much. You learn whether you have a habit of saying “um” or “so.” Most of the time, we’re not aware of our speaking habits. Yoodli gives you those valuable insights and helps you make a great impression.

Wrapping Up

While a first impression is extremely important, it’s not the only impression you make. Keep showing up, continue to work hard, and never stop being a team player who takes pride in the organization’s mission. That’s the only way to leave a lasting impression that others admire.


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