Dos and don’ts: how to make a good impression in your new job

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If you want to make a good start at a new job, there are some things you should do – and some things you should avoid doing.

Congratulations – you’ve got the job and you start next Monday. Your first few weeks on the job are just like your job interview – a chance to make an impression, good or bad, on your new boss and workmates.

We examine the skills employers look for in good workers and what employees should and shouldn’t do when settling into a new job.

Show you can manage yourself and your time

First impressions count, so give yourself the best possible start to your job.

Do:

Let your employer know they can rely on you by being prepared, turning up on time, wearing the right work clothes, and behaving professionally.

Don’t:

  • be late or take extended breaks
  • dress untidily
  • muck around on the job
  • go on social media or spend time on your smartphone.

Willingness to learn proves your positive attitude

There’s a lot of new information to take in when you start a new job.

Do:

Remember, everyone has to work hard to prove themselves. You won’t be an expert overnight, or even in a month, but if you’re happy to listen, learn and try new things, your positive attitude will help you cope with new situations.

Don’t:

  • turn down opportunities to try new tasks
  • put in a half-hearted effort
  • put pressure on yourself to know everything in one day
  • act as though you know everything.

Good communication is key to success

When you focus on being a good communicator, you help your workplace run effectively.

Do:

Listen carefully to instructions and ask questions when you need to. Let your employer know that you understand their instructions or if you’re confused about something. Get in the habit of talking to your employer as it builds trust. And if you have some free time, ask what else you can do. Even better, show initiative by spotting another task yourself.

Don’t:

  • keep quiet if you don’t understand
  • finish a task and then relax.
Two factory workers sit on a rail

When you finish a task, find out what else needs to be done.

Teamwork builds great workplaces

Getting a job done often takes a team, and teams need players who are reliable and willing to work together. It’s easiest when you know the people on your team.

Do:

Introduce yourself and find out about your workmates. They’ll help you learn more about your job and workplace. You might even find a mentor.

Don’t:

  • forget to say hi to your workmates in the morning
  • pass up tea room invitations – they’re good for team bonding
  • show off, criticise or put others down
  • get involved in workplace dramas
  • eat anyone’s lunch from the fridge.

Resilience helps you keep going

It might take time and practice to learn your job, and sometimes it can feel as if you aren’t making any progress even when you’re trying hard.

Do:

Ask your employer for feedback on how you’re doing, and be open to criticism as well as praise. Use a performance review to help identify skills you’d like to develop and things you can do to improve.

Don’t:

  • give up when you don’t get something right
  • get offended by feedback.

Put your thinking skills to the test

Everyone makes mistakes. If something goes wrong for you, show your employer how you deal with tricky situations.

Do:

Try to stay calm and work out how to fix your mistake. Think of a solution and talk to your manager. If you don’t know what to do, ask for help.

Don’t:

  • panic or blame others
  • try to hide or ignore the problem.

By developing the skills employers are looking for, you’ll learn skills that will help you in whatever job you do.

Updated 21 Jun 2019