first impression, body language, new job, communication, listening skills, soft skills, small talk
WORKPLACE SUCCESS / 14 December 2016
10 Secrets to Making a Great First Impression at Work
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Kelly Nguyen

The famous quote, “you never get a second chance at making a first impression” is very important and is still very relevant – especially in today’s workplace environment. Why? Scientists believe that it only takes a few seconds for someone to form an opinion of you. In those few seconds, you’re being judged based on your words, actions, body language, and mannerisms. And once you’ve made an impression, it can be incredibly hard to start over again. In other words, the way you portray yourself on your first day will set the tone for the rest of your time at your job.


Starting a new job can be difficult, so why not start it off on the right foot? Here are 10 secrets on how to make a great first impression at work

  1. Confidence is key. It’s your first day and you should be proud. Body language and posture are crucial when it comes to projecting confidence. By being confident, you’ll have an easier time meeting new people and will make others feel more comfortable around you. Conversations will flow easier and you’ll feel a lot more at ease with yourself. So don’t be nervous! You’ve already shown that you’re just as qualified as everyone else to be there.
  2. Good hygiene is important. Personal hygiene is definitely something your new coworkers will notice. Brush your teeth. Take a shower. Comb your hair. Wear deodorant. You don’t want to show up to work with bad breath and unruly hair. Put some effort into your appearance. Your coworkers will appreciate it.
  3. Dress to impress. You always want to dress to impress, especially on your first day. Your coworkers will definitely base their first impression of you on the way you dress. You want to look professional and well put together. Keep in mind that it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed, especially in a professional setting. However, if you’re not sure about the dress code – ask! If you need ideas on what to wear, check out this post!
  4. Smile. You should always show up to work with a smile on your face. It’ll make you appear friendlier and more approachable to your coworkers. Be sure to smile with your eyes, too.
  5. Give them a firm handshake. No one likes a limp or sweaty handshake. It’s just bad etiquette. Just remember Ron Swanson’s advice for a good handshake: dry, firm, solid, and 3 seconds.
  6. Greet them and learn their names. It’s important to greet your workmates and make an effort to learn their names. Why? Because it shows that you care. Your coworkers will definitely appreciate the fact that you took the time to learn their names.
  7. Be an attentive listener. When someone is talking to you, you want to show him or her that you’re listening and paying attention.  Focus on the other person. Try to maintain eye contact as they’re speaking and try not to get distracted. Listening is important to establishing and maintaining relationships.
  8. Be respectful. This goes hand-in-hand with being an attentive listener. Let them finish their sentence. Ask questions but don’t interrupt them while they’re speaking. Be careful not to say or do anything that may offend the other person. However, if the other person says something to offend you, be calm and focus on the positives. Remember that their words are a reflection of themselves – not you.
  9. Pay attention to your posture and body language. This also goes with #8 and #9. Body posture is so important for a good first impression. Don’t cross your arms or roll your eyes when someone is speaking. It may come off in a negative way. Instead, try to nod and smile as the other person is talking. Make eye contact and try to be relaxed. Positive body language will help your coworkers feel much more comfortable around you.
  10. Use small talk to your advantage. Forget about the weather. Talk to your coworkers about things like your favorite hobbies, sports, news, or your family instead. This way, you can find some common ground for more things to talk about. Try to avoid controversial topics like religion or politics, though. They may not be the best things to discuss.


Most importantly, be yourself!

It sounds cliche, but it’s the truth. A great first impression is important, but don’t forget to just be yourself. Be confident, put on a smile, and show them your best self. No one else does it better than you.

For more help on job success, check out our other posts!