Navigating a New Job: How to Make the Best Impression

On Saturday, November 10, 2012 NY Creative Interns presented Find & Follow Your Passion in partnership with the Center for Career & Professional Development at Pratt Institute.

During a day of fantastic discussions, author Lilit Marcus moderated the panel “Navigating a New Job: How to Make the Best Impression”. Each panelist was gracious enough to share their personal experiences both as a new employee and as a hiring manager, and gave practical advice about everything from the first interview to your first vacation day on the job. Here are some key takeaways from the discussion.

The panelists included:

Doreen Dardastian, Broadcast Designer // USA Networks
Lettecha Johnson, Web Production Assistant // Sony Corporation of America
Colleen Tucker, Talent Manager // Warby Parker


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Before day one: Acing the interview

Lettecha:  Always research a company before your job interview. Not only will you be prepared, but you will have a better idea of whether or not the company is a good fit for you.

Colleen: At the end of an interview you will always be asked “do you have any questions?” It looks good to possible employers when you do have questions for them. Questions like, What’s your favorite part about working here?  or What makes this company different than any other startup in NYC? demonstrate that you show genuine interest in the company.

Look your best

Lettecha: While visiting the office for the interview, take a visual cue of what people in the office are wearing, particularly the person that interviewed you.

Doreen: Dress codes vary depending on the company and your work environment. For the first three months of her position Doreen wore blouses and nice pants until she felt more settled in and began to wear jeans.

Colleen: If you are worried about your appearance you can always email your supervisor a few days before you start to learn what the official dress code is.

It’s your first day: Be outgoing and observant

Doreen: When just starting it’s really important to be enthusiastic. Always greet coworkers you see in the halls, and make it obvious that you are excited to be there.

Colleen: Say hello and introduce yourself to fellow employees. You’d think that veteran co-workers would come and introduce themselves to you when you start, but that often isn’t the case. Be observant and take notes. You’ll want your employer to see your enthusiasm and how open you are to learn. When in doubt you can ask supervisor about their expectations for you in the position.

Lilit: One successful thing Lilit did at a previous job was make a personal seating chart for herself to learn the names and positions of her coworkers. As a visual learner this helped her remember her coworkers quickly.

Understand company culture

Lettecha: As you start your position you will begin to learn more about  the company culture and values. Does the company give back to charity or celebrate employee birthdays? These are things you can often forget to think about when you begin a job, but it quickly begins to matter when you start to work there.

Lilit: Let your coworkers know how you work best. If your supervisor continually provides verbal suggestions, but you have an easier time focusing on written tasks, don’t be afraid to ask your supervisor to send you an email. Your coworkers should appreciate that you are actively striving to be as productive as possible.

Doreen: A great way to break the ice with coworkers is to grab a group lunch together or meet after work for drinks. Having the ability to talk to someone outside the work environment often helps build a relationship that will continue when the work day resumes.

Maintain a good work/life balance

Lettecha: An important aspect of your company will be the vacation policy.  What are general daily work hours of the company? Are you offered overtime? What is the vacation day policy?

Lilit: She once had a job where the hours were from 10am – 6pm, but at 6pm all the employees were still at their desks. It turned out that everyone was just waiting for another person to leave first. Don’t feel that you need to work extended hours unless there is actually additional work that needs to be done. If you work hard during business hours then you have the right to go home on time at the end of the day.

Doreen: Especially in a first job you can sometimes feel as though you should never take a personal day. Don’t let yourself think this. We all deserve the occasional personal day. Don’t feel sorry or shy if you request one.

Have you recently landed a new job? What have you done to start this role on a high note? Share in the comments below.


About the Author

I love education & technology. Current member of the Community Team at bitly. @juliawilson89

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