British author Andrew Grant once wrote: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. He was right. First impressions matter, especially at work. How can you make sure you get off to a good start at work? Here are the most common mistakes to avoid making.
Mistake 1: showing too much character
You are entitled to have a personality, and to be yourself. However, when you arrive at your new workplace, remember that first impressions can last forever. What your colleagues think of you should not be too pronounced in the first place. You will have to compromise at work during the first months in order to fit in.
Mistake 2: ignoring people’s advice
This one is more than a mistake: it is a misstep. There are people who have been working for your new company for years, even decades. They possess knowledge and expertise in your field. You have to show respect to these colleagues, to listen to what they say about your company, and to seek advice from them. Their advice is priceless! Besides, if you don’t listen to your seasoned colleagues, if you never ask them any question, you will be perceived as arrogant.
Mistake 3: displaying a lack of interest
At work, asking questions is not a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it shows curiosity and open-mindedness. When you are given a task, don’t hesitate to ask questions. Make sure you understand what is expected from you. Sometimes, showing your flaws makes you look stronger. Ask questions about the company, about its story, its functioning and its goals. You will be seen as a strong worker who cares about his job and is not afraid to say: “I don’t know”. It will prove that you are a fast learner, and therefore somebody who can evolve in the company.
Mistake 4: being overtly lazy
Some people are well-organized. They can accomplish many things in one day at work and still take a 2-hour lunchbreak and go home at 5. If you are one of these people, you are very lucky. But during your first months in this new company, you should rather base your working rhythm on that of your colleagues. Observe their working habits and emulate them. Even if you feel you have been more productive than your more seasoned colleagues today, don’t leave work before they do. If people see you as a lazy worker, they will not include you in the most interesting projects.
Mistake 5: pretending everything is easy for you
You probably know the saying: “Don’t let them see you sweat”. Forget about this saying during your first months at work! Your colleagues and your boss need to see you strive to overcome your lack of experience. During your first months, you have to learn more, listen more and take more notes if you want to be efficient. On the contrary, if you pretend that the job is easy for you, your colleagues will think that you are looking down on their experience.
Mistake 6: boasting about your degrees and your professional experiences
You were chosen for this new position in this company. For your colleagues, it means you have the right amount of degrees or professional experience to tackle the job. Therefore, you don’t have to explain to them why you are here and what makes you the right person for the job. If your colleagues ask questions, answer in a factual way. Don’t boast about your past achievements. Managers show much more interest in employees who focus on the future rather than the past.
Mistake 7: having your head in the clouds
In the workplace, the notion of trust is crucial. Your working relationship with your colleagues will be built on trust. You have to be very careful not to be a scatterbrain. Check your spelling in your emails, don’t leave a messy workstation behind you, and always remember what people ask you to do. That way, your colleagues will know that they can count on you, and that you are going to be a great asset to the company.
Ultimately, making a good start at work is all about finding the right balance between being yourself, and being able to compromise. All these efforts deserve to be made: in the long term, you will be rewarded with credibility and a fulfilling professional life.