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First Impressions Matter When Starting a New Job

By Marshall Loeb

You made it past the multiple rounds of interviews, background checks and countless hoops. Congratulations -- you got the job! So now what?

Many employees forget that the real hard work begins after they start a new job, not in the steps it took to get it. Yes, you've sufficiently wowed your future employers so that they have decided to hire you. But it's important to make a solid first impression on the job and assure them that they did not make a mistake.

Martin Yate, professional development counselor and author of "Knock 'Em Dead: The Ultimate Job Seeker's Guide," says there are several things to keep in mind when starting off at a new company.

Learn your environment. Your first goal should be to understand how your new office works. How and why do things get done the way they do? Learn how the company operates and the people who run it.

Don't start re-inventing the company. Focus on learning, not doing at this point. If you suggest grand changes from the start, your co-workers may see you as arrogant or be offended by your ideas.

Be a team player. Always be ready to take on any task and help colleagues willingly during this period. During the probationary period (typically the first 90 days), your colleagues will be watching and evaluating you to see how you fit in.

Ask for advice from your peers. They will feel flattered, you'll get some insider information and you'll probably bond along the way.

Save your big ideas for when you are more firmly entrenched in the company culture. "Smaller ideas are easier to sell and help you build a foundation of credibility," says Yate. "And, god forbid should something go wrong, it's no big deal."

Article from CareerJournal Online May 2007