First Impressions - What Matters

This presidential election and beginning of President Trump’s term in office is a perfect example of the significance of first impressions. Our brains are wired to make snap judgments within seconds of seeing or hearing someone for the first time, and changing those judgments can be nearly impossible.

Take, for example, women’s rights groups or those who support immigration. No matter what President Trump does for the next four years, these people will forever think of President Trump as the man who is stripping the rights of women and immigrants away as quickly and permanently as possible. Similarly, those who oppose the Affordable Care Act and guns rights activists will always see President Trump as the man who will protect their rights and fix the things they disagree with that were supported by President Obama and his administration.

With first impressions, there is no middle ground and little room for changing opinions. They are nearly as permanent as our fingerprints.

One of the most crucial times to focus on first impressions is when starting a new job.

In an article on LiveCareer.com, an online employment solutions website, business and communications instructors Randall Hansen, Ph.D. and Katharine Hansen, Ph.D., share tips for making a great first impression at your new job.

  1. Have a positive attitude. Concentrate on demonstrating your excitement for this new opportunity.
  2. Dress professionally. Dressing professionally gives the impression of being efficient and reliable.
  3. Show your team spirit. Show loyalty to your coworkers and always give credit where credit is due to gain the trust of your coworkers.
  4. Learn coworkers’ names quickly. Make it a priority to learn the names of every member of your team to show respect.
  5. Ask questions, and ask for help. Nobody expects you to know everything. Asking for clarification shows you're committed to getting the job done right the first time.
  6. Take notes, and go to orientation. Not only will you learn the job faster, but you'll also show your commitment to the organization.
  7. Take initiative. As you become more comfortable in your new position, ask for more assignments to show you're a self-starter and team player.
  8. Arrive early. Leave late. Demonstrate your commitment to your position, the team and the organization by being willing to put in more hours than most employees.
  9. Establish a good attendance record. There is nothing that can affect your reputation faster than routinely missing work or showing up late in your first few weeks at a new job.
  10.  Keep personal business on company time to a minimum. Stay focused on work as much as possible when at work. If you need to take care of personal business, step away from your desk, and use a personal device.
  11. Take advantage of after-hours activities. These are great opportunities to bond with your coworkers.
  12. Listen more than talk.
  13. Get and stay organized. Missing a key deadline or important meeting will leave a negative impression.
  14. Set goals.
  15. Communicate with your boss often. It’s important to keep your boss informed about what you are doing. This will help you stay on track with assignments and deadlines, but will also help establish rapport with your boss.

Making a good first impressions can seem overwhelming. Remember your goal in the first few months at a new organization is to prove that your boss made a good choice in deciding to hire you. Demonstrate early on that you're worth the investment, and you will be a positive addition to the team.
 

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