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Your First Days on the Job: 10 Tips

By Kate Lorenz, Editor

Now that the excitement of landing that coveted job has tempered a bit, you may be feeling some anxiety anticipating those first days. It's only normal. After all, you're jumping headfirst into new surroundings, meeting all new people and facing many new challenges.

Follow these 10 tips and you'll lay the groundwork for success at your new job:

1. Show up on time. Don't think because you are new you will just blend into the woodwork and no one will notice if you're a little tardy. Nothing says, "I'm a slacker," like arriving late for your first days on a new job. If you can, even show your face a little early.

2. Dress appropriately. First impressions can be lasting. Just because you're not wowing them in the interview anymore, it doesn't mean you shouldn't dress to impress. Rather than have to work twice as hard to erase the image of the rumpled or dirty shirts you wore your first week, knock 'em dead with a clean, polished look.

3. Meet your co-workers. Make an effort to remember names. Nothing is more inviting than being greeted personally. Try to learn the names of your colleagues, including support staff, and you'll make friends fast.

4. Listen. One of the best ways to learn is to listen. Consider yourself a blank slate and take note not only of information you hear in formal meetings, but pay attention to the little nuggets shared during casual breaks or in the lunchroom.

5. Ask questions. Not only does asking questions give you visibility at meetings and involve you in discussions, it's a great way to learn and demonstrate your industry knowledge.

6. Get involved. Even if it's just organizing a lunch meeting or a happy hour, head up a project to get your name out there and to meet some of your co-workers.

7. Communicate. Communication is very important not only in your first few days, but everyday. Just about every company has 'unwritten rules' so don't be afraid to ask your co-workers for advice. And make sure you keep your boss apprised of your current projects and let her know if there is a particular project on which you'd like to work. You can't expect people to read your mind.

8. Avoid gossip Don't get sucked into the rumor mill. Because you're new and still relatively unknown, some colleagues may feel more comfortable venting to you. Don't respond or give unspoken credence to the barbs by laughing, nodding or displaying exaggerated facial expressions.

9. Stay past 5. Even though you may not have a lot of work to do yet, it couldn't hurt to stay a few minutes after the whistle blows. Don't shut down your computer at 4:59; rather stay 10 to 15 minutes after quitting time to show your commitment.

10. Be upbeat. These first days can be awkward, confusing and full of doubt. But don't let it get you down. Begin and end each day with a smile and a cheerful greeting. Your positive attitude will brighten the office.

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