New Job – Making a Great First Impression

While landing the new job may have seemed difficult, the smooth transition into a new position presents its own challenges.  Like any major life event, you should approach a job transition with forethought and planning.

To begin with, make sure you understand the organizational structure of your new employer.  Who do you report to?  Are there other dotted lines or people with whom you will be working closely? Who do you oversee? Do you have direct reports? Make sure you have a clear understanding of where you fit within the company or firm structure.  It is perfectly ok, and often a good idea, to seek further clarification of these details after you have accepted an offer and before your start date.  You may want to do some additional research on the people you will be working with closely.

Second, it is important that you make a good impression on your first day of work.  While this seems pretty obvious, what does it really mean?

  • Show up on time.  While you should never be late, it also isn’t a good idea to arrive too early.  Your new boss, colleagues or HR team will be planning for your arrival so give them the courtesy of arriving at the time you both agreed on.
  • Dress appropriately. You don’t need to wear interview attire if that is not the culture of your new employer.  However, this is not the day to wear flip flops, neon anything, or any other clothing item that you even have to stop and think about.
  • Don’t make lunch plans with your friends on that first day – leave yourself open for training, or for socializing with your new colleagues. If no one asks you to lunch the first day, it is ok to initiate – don’t be shy.

Third, ask questions and take notes.  Be open to learning.  Focusing on substance is important, but also study your colleagues and the environment and try to pick up on the culture and norms.

Lastly, be friendly and get to know everyone.  Don’t limit your contact to just immediate colleagues.  Spread your wings and make connections with people in different divisions and practice areas.  If you want to feel like part of the team, you need to get to know the entire team.

It may take six months before you feel integrated into your new job.  That is ok.  Transitions take time and effort.  Make sure you put in both at the outset and you will feel like part of the team before you know it.


Contact Denise Schwartz or Eynav Epstein at EpsteinSchwartz Legal Search to learn more, to discuss the legal market or to hear about current opportunities.

EpsteinSchwartz Legal Search is a Chicago-based boutique legal recruiting firm. EpsteinSchwartz does not discriminate on the basis of age, race, sex, sexual orientation or any other protected characteristic. All inquiries will be kept strictly confidential.