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Adedoyin Owotomo: 6 Ways For Fresh Graduates To Make a Great Impression at Work



It’s your first day at your dream job. You are wearing your new suit; you’ve donned a new hairdo, feeling like a million bucks with a spring in your step and excited about what this new chapter has in store.

The first thing to remember when starting a new job, especially if it’s your first one, is that first impressions are everything. In the workplace, the opinions of your boss and colleagues about you, formed by these first impressions of you, are made over the first few weeks or months of beginning of the job. So it is highly important as a fresh graduate starting out in your career to set a positive track for your career progression by making a great first impression. Here are some tips on how to do so.

Dress appropriately
Dress codes in the Nigerian professional setting are very important. As the saying goes, “Dress the way you want to be addressed.” The way you dress is the first thing people use to create an impression about you and can influence how people interact with you in the workplace. Although some companies have a specific dress code for their staff, it is best to dress modestly, even if your company does not have one. Big fashion earrings, mini skirts, flip flops or bathroom slippers, to name a few, are a big no-no for office dressing.

Practice proper office manners
Everyone, especially your boss and colleagues, appreciates the display of good office etiquette. There are standard practices the world over that guide how you should interact in a professional environment. Some proper office manners a new recruit should develop includes always arriving to work and official functions such as meetings on time, limiting how often you take and time spent on personal calls during work hours and even making sure your email correspondence is professional to mention a few. Being polite and cordial to all employees is also very essential, because you can never be too sure of how influential people may be to your career success.

Take initiative and apply yourself
As a new recruit, learning how to effectively and efficiently get the job is done is essential to creating a good impression in the workplace. One of the best ways to do this is by observing and learning how things are done. You should listen and understand the office culture and standard practices and procedures practiced at the office. Secondly, you should note down steps you will take to add value to the company and make your boss’ job easier. The key here is to consistently apply yourself positively. Making your mark early on at a new job is very important and it is one of the easiest ways to fast track your career.

Be a team player
Being a great team member is one of the quickest ways to create a great impression at work. To be a great team member, you have to be proactive, take initiative (when necessary and/or required) and adapt quickly to situations. In addition, you must be very reliable – to get the job done. Meeting deadlines, and consistently providing quality work will get you in the good books of your bosses. In due time, your credibility, value and worth will be immeasurable.

Ask for help
You can never go wrong if you ask for help when you need it. Asking for help here means asking relevant questions about what is required to do your job better. However, you need to make sure you are directing the right questions to the right people and via the proper channels. If you do not understand a particular task or you are having problems resolving an issue, make sure you ask your boss for clarification. It is absolutely important that you ask questions early and to ensure you have tried all possible options available within reasonable time. This eliminates the accumulation of issues that may create a negative impression of you on the job.

Take responsibility for your mistakes
Everybody makes mistakes and I mean EVERYBODY – from office assistants, to senior managers and even managing directors. There are three things that are important when it comes to handling mistakes – admission, correction, and learnings. When you make a mistake at a new job, admit it. Do not pass blame to others or just be silent about it wishing the mistake will go away or resolve itself. It is necessary for you to acknowledge your responsibility in the blunder, come up with solutions on how to correct it and put plans in place to ensure that you do not repeat those mistakes again.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Adedoyin is the founder of the Greenhorn Career Network (, a career platform that aims at providing young Nigerians with positive and practical approaches to educate them on taking ownership of their future, setting and achieving their career and life goals early in life and most importantly, developing a positive mindset to help them navigate the real world. She is very passionate about seeing young Nigerians succeed in their chosen career fields and living their dream life. You can connect with Greenhorn is on Instagram: @greenhorncareernetwork; Facebook:


  1. evelyn

    November 28, 2017 at 12:13 am

    some of us haven’t given chance to prove ourselves…..

    • Ozyy

      November 28, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      It will come. In the mean time keep investing in yourself and also pray for grace to excel when the time comes.

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