Work-Tips: How to make a good first impression

First published in January 2012


Last week the latest batch of PR interns joined us at the Taylor Bennett Foundation. On Monday morning they arrived bright and breezy and ready for ten weeks of work-based training.

The first day of our internship programmes are always intense and there’s a lot of information for them to take in, but it’s also a really great opportunity for us to form our first impressions of them. Each group of interns we take is different, and it’s a very steep learning curve for those who have very little work experience.

So, for those of you about to embark on your first day in a new job, here’s our five top tips on making a good first impression on an employer.

1. Turn up on time. If you’re not sure where you’re meant to be going, then do a trial run the day before to make sure you know where the building is. Being late is never a good start. Similarly, don’t turn up ages in advance. It may be that your colleagues and manager have planned to do other things before your arrival so by being early you’re putting pressure on them to stop what they’re doing and concentrate on you. If you turn up early, go and have a coffee somewhere nearby.

2. Wear a smile. Even if you are incredibly nervous, and let’s face it you probably will be, seeming cheerful and friendly will go a long way to making you approachable. Being shy can make you seem aloof and cold and that’s not how you want people to think of you on your first day is it?

3. Be helpful. If you can see someone is struggling with a task, ask if you can help. Offer to make a round of teas and coffees – everyone likes someone who will pitch in.

4. Ask questions. If you don’t ask when you don’t understand something, you’ll make a mistake. Better to clarify anything you’re not clear on to start with to avoid any embarrassing errors.

5. Be interested. Being keen is not just for interviews, once you’ve got the job you’ve got to keep it up. Take an interest in your colleagues, make sure you read relevant publications and join in when asked for suggestions.