8 Ways to Put Your Best Foot Forward in Your New Job

By Chelsea Babin

Whether it’s been a long time since you last started a new job or you’re about to start your first job in the IT industry, it can be a little intimidating. You want to impress them from the get-go, pay attention and learn their ways, and put your best foot forward with coworkers, clients, and anyone else you have to interact with now on a regular basis. How do you do it all at once? Use these 8 steps to put your best foot forward in your new job.

1. Speak Up: It’s hard to make a good impression if you rarely speak. It’s hard to learn anything if you’re afraid to ask questions. It’s hard to prove your value if you’re not willing to speak up and share your ideas. Speaking up is an important part of every job from day one. Make sure you’re making your presence known, asking what you need to in order to learn, and contributing your ideas and opinions.

2. Show Up: From simply being prompt and showing up for work on time (which really means early) to doing the things you say you will on schedule, showing up is the main requirement of any job. If you don’t show up and do the work you won’t impress your new bosses or coworkers. Make sure you show up on time and that your completed work shows up on or before each set deadline.

3. Ask and Absorb: While you certainly want to speak up, you don’t want to speak out of turn or from an uneducated position. That’s why asking enough questions and taking the time to absorb all of the information thrown your way is crucial when you start a new job. From taking notes to practicing procedures, there are many extra ways you can absorb information but simply listening and asking questions is often one of the best.

4. Steer Clear of Gossip: Chances are, when you first arrive, a lot of your conversations with your new coworkers will be about your company, what it’s like to work there, and what your other coworkers and bosses are like. These conversations can be incredibly helpful and informative but you may notice some of them turning sour. If and when your conversations with your new coworkers turn to gossip, do your best to stay out of it. This may give you a biased opinion of a coworker or boss you haven’t met yet, it may make you look unprofessional, and it could even make you dislike your brand new job before you’ve even given it a fair chance. Stay out of the gossip, form your own opinions and, once you do, try to keep the gossipy opinions to yourself.

5. Dress Like Your Best Version of Yourself: Everyone stresses that you should dress to impress or that you should dress for the job you want and not the job you have. And while you should always adhere to your company’s dress code, the best thing you can do early on is to dress like the best version of yourself. This means that you’re dressing appropriately and well but also infusing your personality and preferred wardrobe into your workday attire. This way you can feel more comfortable and confident at work without coming in one day in a suit and the next day in sweats. Also, people will often identify you by the things you tend to wear and if you suddenly change that up it may be jarring and distracting

6. Balance Formal and Casual Communication: You want to be a professional but you also want to let your coworkers see an authentic version of yourself so that you appear genuine instead of insincere. While the exact balance depends on the company culture and your personal preferences, it’s best to try not to be too casual with your bosses. It’s also a good idea not to be too formal with your coworkers, particularly when you’re out for lunch with them or out for drinks after work. Find a balance you’re comfortable with that lets you be a professional, an authentic person, and one of the gang.

7. Take Initiative: In the first few days or weeks on your job you may be so busy learning procedures and your responsibilities that you won’t have time to go the extra mile. But, after you’ve become more accustomed to your new job, you need to make sure you take initiative. Instead of getting too comfortable doing exactly what your job requires, take initiative to go the extra mile early on and establish yourself as the kind of person who is responsible and looking to learn. Taking on extra tasks or projects outside of your job description will set you up for promotions and raises to come.

8. See Something, Say Something: Although you’re just learning this company’s specific technology and procedures, if you see a bug or an error don’t be afraid to speak up and mention it. Be confident enough in your technical abilities that, when you notice something has a bug, error, or inefficiency, you can say something and offer a solution. Whether or not they’re already aware of the error they’ll be incredibly grateful and notice that you’re the kind of person who won’t let a project launch with bugs.

You’re excited about your bright, shiny new job but you’re also nervous because you want to make the best first impression you can. These 8 steps will help you put your best foot forward in a less-than-intimidating way as soon as you walk in the door at your new job!