Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

First impressions count

People often forget they should treat the first day in a new job as if it were still part of the interview. That means planning carefully and remembering that early impressions can have a big impact on how things go in the weeks ahead.

The detailed preparation should start two or three days beforehand. It includes deciding which outfit to wear during the initial week or so, opting for a more conservative look until you're sure what is and isn't appropriate. Then plan your route carefully and have an alternative as backup. This might sound overcautious, but there's nothing worse than showing up late on the first morning with an excuse about bad traffic or not being able to find a taxi.

On arriving, breathe deeply and greet everyone with your head held high, a smile on your face and steady eye contact. For introductions, be quick to give your name, new department and, if necessary, a couple of details on who you report to or what you'll be doing. Seeming uncertain doesn't look good.

Also, when in doubt about anything, ask someone. Most people are more than willing to help a new colleague - it makes them feel good. And this is the best way to mingle with and get to know co-workers. Conversely, not asking for advice or assistance can make you seem standoffish, a "know-it-all", or not a team player.

Article contributed by Lancy Chui, managing director of Manpower Hong Kong, Macau and Vietnam Operations