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The tricky thing about making a good first impression is
that industries and workplaces have different cultures
Most of the time, it won't matter too much what kind of first
impression you make on others. But when it's the first day of an
apprenticeship or a new job, it can matter a great deal. If your
workmates or boss jump to the conclusion that you're lazy,
unintelligent or arrogant, it could significantly affect the way they
interact with you.
Adapt appropriately to your environment
The tricky thing about making
a good first impression is that industries and workplaces have
different cultures. Turning up to your first day of work with green
hair might be no big deal if you're manning the till at a record
store, but it's not likely to go down well if you're a teller at a bank.
Being loud and extroverted is not going to be held against you in an
office full of salespeople, but it might not be appreciated at the
local library. Do some research, including visiting your new workplace
before you start there if possible, to get a sense of what's expected
when it comes to hairstyles, clothes, jewellery, personal grooming,
levels of formality and acceptable behaviour.
Err on the side of caution
As a newbie, you'll be on a steep learning curve. If you're ever
confused about what's appropriate – and you will be – take the safe
option. If you're unsure of what to wear to a work event, opt for
something more rather than less formal; if you're not sure if a risqué
joke will go down well, don't tell it, and if you're not sure whether
to bother double-checking something, go ahead and triple-check it. As
a general rule, be polite and professional towards everyone you come
in contact with.
Keep up the good work
Important as first impressions are, you'll ultimately be judged by
how you perform over the long term, so don't fall into the trap of
being on your best behaviour for a few weeks then thinking you can
slack off. Whether it's positive or negative, the first impression
you've made on colleagues and supervisors will sooner or later be
replaced by a more realistic assessment.