You’ve finally done it, landed the job that you were after! All the hard work and preparation in getting the resumé and interview right have paid off. You are excited to start work and impress your new employer, and get off on the right foot with your new coworkers. The first week of work can be exciting, but also quite stressful. You’re not quite sure how to dress and act so that you make a great first impression with your new boss and coworkers. You have been told to just relax and be yourself, but wonder if there are certain things you should be focused on during this crucial first week. 

5 Things to keep in mind for your first week of a new job: 

Arrive Early, Stay Late and Dress for Success 

This will show enthusiasm for your job and leaves a good impression for you to arrive before everyone else does. It’s possible that your boss starts earlier than everyone else, but you should make a point that your coworkers see you there when they arrive at work. It’s also a good idea to stay until others have gone home. Even though your workday may ends at 5:30p.m., it would not look good for you to be seen heading out the door at that time while your colleagues are still at their desks. While schedules, time spent at work may be very flexible and times arriving or leaving not a big deal, you want to play it safe in your first week. When it comes to dress, it is always better to overdress at the beginning. It shows self-respect and a positive attitude towards your new workplace. As you settle in to your job, you will gain a sense of how people dress you so can adapt accordingly to what is most comfortable for you.  

Take Initiative and Introduce Yourself 

Many workplaces will take you on a tour to introduce you to your colleagues on the first day or shortly after you start your job.   If that doesn’t happen, it is important for you to step up and go around and introduce yourself.  Even if some of the employees have come around to introduce themselves to you, don’t wait for everyone to do so. This indicates that you are someone who takes initiative and doesn’t wait for others to come to them. 

Prepare Good Questions Ask 

You want to appear eager to learn and start contributing as soon as possible. One way to show interest is to prepare thoughtful questions to ask your boss and colleagues. Writing the answers down in a notebook or pad is a good way to show that you are serious about learning and not feigning an interest to make a good impression.  

Prepare to Answer Questions About Yourself and Your New Job 

Think about how you will answer questions concerning your previous work so that you can talk about your past work history in a succinct and positive light.  Even if your past job was not ideal, don’t complain or make negative comments.  Let your boss and colleagues know you are excited about your new job and want to contribute as soon as possible. It is possible that some of your colleagues will not be familiar with your new role in the organization, so think of how you will answer this question.  

Smile, Relax and Offer to Help Whenever Possible 

A simple smile goes a long way towards making a good first impression. It is good advice to relax and be yourself. However, becoming too relaxed in your first week is not always the best thing to do. Leaning on the water cooler with your coffee mug while sharing jokes with your coworkers for extended periods, is not something you should get caught up in the first week on the job. Offer to help whenever the opportunity arises. Be careful to offer help to your colleagues as well as your new boss as you want to avoid being seen as someone whose only interest is rising up in the organization as soon as possible. Don’t try so hard, however, that you come across as desperate to curry favour with your new


  • Harvey Deutschendorf is an emotional intelligence expert, internationally published author and speaker.  To take the EI Quiz go to  His book THE OTHER KIND OF SMART, Simple Ways to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence for Greater Personal Effectiveness and Success has been published in 4 languages. Harvey writes for FAST COMPANY and has a monthly column with HRPROFESSIONALS MAGAZINE. You can follow him on Twitter @theeiguy.