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Stand Out on Your First Day of Work

Do you remember your first day of high school? Butterflies in the stomach, clumsy introductions and getting lost on the way to homeroom? Starting a new job can sometimes feel like you’re reliving that moment of awkward adolescence. But remember, you’ve grown a lot since then! And if you follow these tips, you’ll be totally prepared to make a great first impression on your first day of work.

Prepare Your Sound Byte

You’re likely going to meet a lot of people your first day – employees from HR and payroll to your department head, and possibly the company CEO (depending on the size of the company). So be prepared to repeat a few key details about yourself over…and over…and over. Think up a 15-30 second “sound byte” that explains key details about yourself, such as:

  • What university/college you attended
  • What your major was
  • What your role in the company will be
  • Your hometown

You don’t have to give the same flat speech each time, but if you have your sound byte clearly in mind, you will be able to introduce yourself with ease. No uncomfortable floundering for something to say!


In the book Effective Immediately, marketing professional Skip Lineberg and leadership trainer Emily Bennington write about the importance of “-ilities,” which are perceptible qualities such as:

  • humility
  • dependability
  • reliability
  • responsibility
  • likeability
  • punctuality
  • accountability

Because your bosses don’t have any other metric for judging you, these are the qualities they will judge you by on your first day. You haven’t had time to show them the high quality of your work, but you can show from the very start you are punctual by showing up early! You can show humility by listening carefully to others and not acting like a know-it-all. And you can prove yourself likeable by being friendly with your new co-workers.

Take Lots of Notes

Whether you are being trained in essential job duties, or meeting new people, it’s good to have a small notebook nearby to take notes. Noting down names and roles can help you learn who’s who, and build rapport with the right people more quickly. If a co-worker lets you in on some “unwritten rule” around the office, note that, too. Study your notes when you get home after your first day. The more you can drill into your head, the easier your transition into office life will be.

If you remember the nerves that came along with the first day of school, you probably also remember the advice your parents gave you – just be yourself. Along with everything we mentioned above, this advice is just as valuable now as it was back then. Be professional, but be yourself. If you can do this, your first day at work will be a great success! For more information, contact us today.

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