Career Advice

6 Steps to Put Your Best Foot Forward at Work

Paul Brown
21.11.2018 Published: 21.11.18, Modified: 21.11.2018 14:11:28

Landing your first job after university can bring on both excitement and fear. Although you are over-the-moon about this big, bright new position, you will want to ensure you find your footing quickly to start adding value to the business and prove yourself. Fortunately, you have already made a great first impression, as you secured the job offer. Now all you need to do is follow through and demonstrate that you’re ready for the responsibilities and challenges the job may throw your way. Here are six steps to ensure you hit the ground running.

Dress to impress

First impressions are crucial, so it is important that you show up at work looking your best. If your company has a dress code, be sure to follow it. You will get a better idea of acceptable attire by observing what others wear at your office. The clothing you select should showcase your best self and help to project self-confidence. Whatever you choose to wear, make sure you feel completely comfortable in your own skin.

Take notes

At the beginning stages of any new job, we gather information—about the company, culture and clients. The trick here is to come to work prepared by conducting research beforehand. Once you have absorbed some base knowledge you will be more equipped to ask the right questions and gain a deeper understanding of your role within the organisation. Be sure to learn as much as you can about company policies, procedures and decision-making processes. Taking notes is a great way to keep track of all this new information and avoid feeling overwhelmed.


Think of your company as your client: you work within that organisation, but you also work in service to that organisation and its people. Building positive working relationships with colleagues will help you collaborate and feel comfortable in the office. By opening up lines of communication with others you will more easily integrate yourself into the community, learn from other departments and locate resources available to you. Of course, it is important to strike a balance between formal and casual conversation. When in doubt, consider maintaining formalities.


With so much going on during your first few weeks of work, it is easy to become distracted. When planning your day, be sure to prioritise and create periods of uninterrupted concentration time that will allow you to work on a project continuously. By doing so, you will see immediate results and feel good about your accomplishments.

TIP: If it is noisy near your desk, try to find a meeting room to catch up on emails or finish writing that last line of code. Finding the right balance between working alone and as part of a team can be essential in producing your best work in a timely manner.

Share your ideas

Your employer hired you because they are confident that you will add value to the organisation. One way that new employees can make an impact is by sharing new ideas. While this does not mean you should show up on day one and demand organisational change, you would be wise to look for unique growth opportunities within your department. Highlight your creativity by showing how you can solve old problems in new ways.

Take care of yourself

When starting your first job it is important to develop healthy habits early on to boost the longevity of your career. Prioritising your health and happiness will make you a better employee and help keep you engaged at work. This could mean carving out time on Sunday to meal-prep, joining a new gym or scheduling weekly catch-ups with friends. Use the time outside of work to recharge so that you can return to work energised and ready to take on anything!

FDM is a leading graduate employer of IT and business professionals. Launch your career today in one of our technical and business specialities including Software Development, IT Service Management, Quality Engineering and Data Science.

Featured image credit: Photo by Jonathan Francisca on Unsplash