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In the most difficult of cases, a job search can take a year or more. The process is grueling and emotionally exhausting. We spend many days and lots of money perfecting our look, networking with new people, and trying to find just the right fit.

Once we finally find the perfect job, it would be easy to think that things should be smooth sailing. We went through the difficult part during the interview, right? Things should be easy now.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. In fact, in the worse scenario, we can mess up a good thing with just a few wrong moves. When that happens, we’re back to square one – wondering if we should find a new job, again.

To start off on the right foot, the first thing to work on is our perception of our coworkers and our boss. Arrive to work early and stay late. Dress as if you belong at company. In other words, don’t be too casual or too dressy. It can be hard to imagine, but visual cues like these can make a world of difference.

You should also take initiative and avoid office politics. Offer to help your coworkers when they need it. And, when they help you in return, be sure to say thank you often. Avoid those who seem to dwell on the negative or talk badly about one another. Be humble, and don’t attempt to stand out from the crowd (at least not in the beginning).

Take the time to get to know your coworkers. Socialize with them outside of the office. Consider going to lunch with them, or to drinks after work. But, be sure to check your personal life at the door. There may come a time that deep personal sharing makes sense, but that’s not the case when you first start.

It’s also important to learn about your new company. Look up how the company was started and any key facts that may impact the business today. Your boss and coworkers will have respect for the time you’ve taken to learn about the company.

As strange as it may seem, take the time to read the company handbook. When you start out, human resources typically gives you a book of information about the policies at work. If you don’t review it, you may assume that your new company has similar policies as your last workplace. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. For example, some companies allow you to post your personal views publically on social media, while others will terminate you for it. This is a big difference!

As you can see, first impressions are often based on things like how likeable you are – or how much of a team player you’re perceived to be. Fortunately, these are things that are easy to do as long as you are aware of expectations. Following these straight forward guidelines will help to make sure you start off on the right foot – and will cement your future success.

Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

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