Your Second Chance to Make a First Impression

This marks my first day “on the job” for the Student Branding Blog. It’s both an exciting and nerve-wracking moment. Soon, I won’t be alone in those first-day jitters. New summer interns and college graduates will be starting their new gigs. They’ll be well on their way to creating lasting impressions at work.

If this is you, it’s time to get prepared for those first days and weeks in your new role. You’re now beyond the first impression. You made that during your interview, and clearly, if you got the position, you made a good one. Making a good working impression on your co-workers, however, may prove to be even more important than it was in your interview.

Watch Your Mouth

Nerves can impact people in different ways. Some people get nervous and talk non-stop. Others freeze up and turn instantly shy. Try to relax and strike a healthy balance between these two opposites. First of all, this is a time to get to know your co-workers. If you talk too much, it might indicate that you’re a poor listener, or it could lead them to believe you don’t care about others.

On the flip side, it is important to talk. Talk about school, your professional aspirations, and your interests. Speak up. Ask questions. Share a little bit about who you are, but…

Keep Your Personal Life to Yourself

There is such a thing as over-sharing. Talking about your G-rated interests is one thing. Going into detail about a wild Saturday night out with your friends might be too much. At some point, you may develop friendships with co-workers and share more about your personal life with them. But during the first few weeks and months, sharing inappropriately could jeopardize both the professional and personal relationships you’re developing at work.

Work Is Not Home

You will have your own space at work: an office, a cubicle, or a station in a shared workspace. While you will spend a lot of time at work and your space there could feel like a home away from home, it’s not home. Be mindful of how your space appears to others. Incorporate a few personal items, like pictures, but don’t clutter the space. Keeping your workspace professional is sure to help your new co-workers see you in that light.

As your time at work goes along, these guidelines become flexible. But when you are a newcomer to a workplace, people are just getting to know you, a process that takes time. Help it go smoothly by keeping things simple and following these tips.



Laura serves as Internship Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the office of Career & Leadership Development.  In this role, Laura advises students who are pursuing internships, assists employers with intern recruitment, and supports university faculty who oversee academic internships.  She also provides students with job search readiness assistance through presentations, individual counseling, and social media.  Laura earned her bachelors degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she majored in French and Political Science, and she received her masters degree in Counseling from UW-Whitewater.  To learn more about Laura, read her blog, follow her on Twitter, or connect on LinkedIn.

Related posts:

  1. 15 Seconds to Make a First Impression
  2. The Impression That I Get
  3. Make 2012 the Year of Career Preparation

2 Responses to “Your Second Chance to Make a First Impression”

  1. avatar Lew Sauder says:

    Welcome Laura. Good advice for new college hires (or anyone in a new job). It’s key to get a sense of what is acceptable in the company’s culture. (Do they regularly share personal information or is it mostly business?) I would also recommend a focus on professional email skills. They should avoid using texting abbreviations, incorrect grammar and spelling or just unprofessional terminology. This may be even more important because it is recorded and potentially forwarded on to decision makers.
    I’ve worked with new consultants who need to be especially careful with these skills in front of clients.
    Lew Sauder, Author, Consulting 101: 101 Tips For Success in Consulting (

  2. avatar Janet Morrow says:

    Great article Laura . . . I’m very proud of you.

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