You’re about to start your summer internship or job, or maybe your first real gig after graduation. Of course, you want to start off on the right foot, making a positive impression on your new boss and colleagues.
So now is a good time to avoid some all-too-common rookie mistakes, like these:
Don’t Show Up Late
You learned this in first grade, when the teacher began keeping track of tardies…
Being on time matters. Especially at a new gig. In fact, showing up late on the first day (or even in the first few weeks) is guaranteed to make a negative impression. To ensure you’ll be on time, test drive the route to your new job before you start so you’ll know how long it takes to get there. Factor in extra time if there’s traffic, construction, or other reasons to expect a delay.
Don’t Dress Unprofessionally
Before starting your internship or job, talk with the hiring manager or human resources professional to make sure you understand what constitutes acceptable attire for your new workplace. There’s nothing more embarrassing than showing up in a getup that doesn’t fly with your supervisors — and making an unprofessional first impression.
Don’t Blow Off Orientation
Many companies require new employees to go through an orientation or training process (often called “onboarding”) before starting a new position. While it may be tempting to skip these sessions or treat them lightly, don’t do it. Even if your training managers won’t be your direct supervisors, they are watching you. Avoid any behavior that could prompt a training manager to report your behavior back to your boss and team members.
Don’t Expect Hand-holding
No matter where you’re working, there are certain processes, tools, and forms that make up the standard operating procedures of your company. You may have been introduced to these through a very organized, systematic orientation, or you may feel like you’re expected to absorb them by osmosis. If you were formally informed, “consider yourself fortunate,” writes Heather Huhman, Glassdoor career and workplace expert. “If not, don’t feel shortchanged or frustrated. Instead, take initiative and master the basics on your own.”
Don’t Ask Co-workers to Do Your Work
It’s understandable that you may need help or guidance during your first few weeks at a new job, and asking co-workers for assistance or just to answer questions can be perfectly acceptable. But there’s no quicker way to make enemies than to ask or expect your new co-workers to do your job for you. Remember, you were hired because managers believed in your ability to get the job done. Ask for help if you need it, but believe in yourself and prove that you can do the work yourself.
Don’t Take Too Many Personal Calls
The time you spend at work is for, well, work. Your employer isn’t paying you to chat with your girlfriend or even your kids’ babysitter. If friends or family members are prone to call you during working hours, remind them before you start your new job that you will now be working during certain hours and request that they avoid calling you during those hours. Make a personal policy of limiting personal phone calls and texts to your lunch break, except for during emergencies.
Don’t Ask for More Money
Most likely, you and your employer agreed to a certain salary during the hiring process. So don’t change your mind before you even show up at work. If you agreed to the salary offered, be satisfied with that. Don’t expect more money (and don’t ask for more) until you’ve worked long enough to prove your value to the employer.
Don’t Try to Change Things
Of course you want to make a good impression as soon as you arrive at a new job, and show your new employer they made the right choice in hiring you. However, be cautious of suggesting new policies or strategies during your first few weeks, as it may not be the best way to demonstrate you are a team player. Plus, it could prompt some of your new co-workers to think twice about you as the right person for the job. At first, take time to really understand and learn your job, then over time, you can make suggestions and changes as situations arise, and as your input and expertise is called upon.
Don’t Be Dishonest
In a new job, there will always be a learning curve, and effective supervisors understand that. Inevitably, you’ll be asked to do something or expected to know something that you don’t yet know or know how to do. Rather than saying you can complete the task on your own, be honest. “Don’t be afraid to say, ‘I don’t know,’” Huhman writes. “Honesty is a huge differentiator. Simply look people in the eye and say unabashedly and with confidence, “I don’t know. Let me find out and get back to you. Then do it.”
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
You may be so eager to start your new job that you don’t want to stop and ask questions. But by skipping even the most basic questions, you are setting yourself up for failure. Rather than making a mistake that could cost the company time and money, ask questions about everything you need to know, from what your job responsibilities are to who can help you with Internet or phone problems, to how you get paid and much more.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Glassdoor.com!