You’ve Got One Chance to Make a Good First Day Impression

Millennials are known as job hoppers, and rightfully so. A recent Gallup poll revealed that 60 percent of Millennials are open to new job opportunities, and another report showed that on average, Millennials will change jobs four times by age 32.

Certainly, with numbers like this, you might expect Millennials to be pros when it comes to making a great first impression on the new job and slaying their first-day jitters.

“Actually that’s not the case,” says Sharon Schweitzer, an Austin, Texas-based business etiquette and cross-cultural trainer and founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. “Some of the most common questions we get are: Is there something I can do to standout on my first day? Should I wear a suit on day one? Should I correct a co-worker or manager if I see a mistake or will I come across as a know-it-all?”

Schweitzer says to make a strong first impression and put nerves at ease, there are five things that all new employees need to focus on.

1 – Do Your Research and Absorb Company Culture

As you would in any new venture, you find out what you’re walking into before you get there. There are certain things you can pick up through the interview process, by asking questions, and through your intuition, but do your own research ahead of time.

“Before you start the first day, read and absorb everything you can find about company culture,” Schweitzer says. “This includes social media postings, websites, employer profiles, any annual reports, and printed material. Study the leadership team and read about your new colleagues and supervisor on LinkedIn. Your purpose is to gain as much insight as possible before you walk through the door.

2 – Arrive Early

Showing up late for work any day is never a good idea, but it sends a critical message on your first day. Regardless of the circumstances, it conveys poor time management skills and hints that you don’t take the job seriously, even if that’s not the case.

“Being on time is especially important on the first day, but arriving a few minutes early sends a clear message that you are motivated and ready to work,” Schweitzer said. “Take this time to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings and get comfortable.”

3 – Dress and Groom for Success

You may be the smartest and best employee in the building, but if you don’t look the part, nobody is going to take you seriously. Pay extra attention to your clothing and grooming.

“Prepare your first-day outfit based on company culture and the job you seek, not the position you were hired to fill,” Schweitzer says. “In addition, have your wardrobe prepared for the entire first week in advance. Polish and repair shoes, and tailor, hem, or repair clothing. Iron, launder, and dry-clean dresses, shirts, and suits. Stock up on missing sundries. This doesn’t require going into thousands of dollars of debt, but a polished first impression will last long after your first day.”

In addition, she recommends a hair trim, clean buffed nails, and clean teeth. A shower goes without saying, and skip the cologne.

4 – Come Prepared

When you were attending school, you showed up to the first day of class with the basics: pens, paper, books, etc. Your first day on the new job is no different.

“Depending on company culture, bring both an electronic and traditional paper tablet in professional business cases,” Schweitzer says. “You may be ushered into training or ameeting immediately upon arrival. Avoid appearing hapless on day one with nothing for note taking. Do you want to send the message that there’s nothing important the company can share with you?”

5 – An Attitude of Gratitude Goes a Long Way

You were the chosen one from what was quite possibly a large pool of qualified candidates, so be grateful for the new role and opportunity.

“Remember that as the newly-hired employee, you have a lot to learn,” Schweitzer says. “Ask questions, listen closely, and be ready to receive constructive criticism. Don’t take anything personally; instead, respond to all critiques with a gracious, ‘Thank you.’”

Speaking of thank you, Schweitzer also advises that you send a quick note of gratitude to those who helped you navigate your first day. It demonstrates that you’re glad to be part of the team.


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