Career Advice - A Community Blog

Erik Larson writes about the job market, resume improvement, and career advice

How to Stand Out at a New Job

Written by Erik Larson, Community Blogger | Dec 9, 2014 9:34 PM

Landing a new job can be incredibly exciting, but daunting too. You want to come into an organization in a way that stands out and gives your new coworkers and supervisor a positive impression. In fact, in the business world, the current trend is for a new hire to begin contributing in a meaningful way within the first ninety days after joining the organization. That means you don't have time to coast - you need to show your best stuff almost as soon as you walk through the door.

Measuring Success

Industries vary in terms of where they place their importance and how they measure achievement and accomplishment, whether someone is a new hire or a lifer. Some companies want new clients, boosted sales figures, streamlined processes, or product development and launch. Others want to see rising stock prices, successful PR campaigns, and better consumer feedback. One-size fits all may not exist in charting success. However, some ways to get noticed will work across a variety of settings and industries, including these:

Look the Part

You look out your office window and see Manhattan. You look down at your feet and you see flip-flops or crocs. Something is probably wrong with this juxtaposition. You do not want to stand out as the newbie who doesn't get the unofficial corporate dress code. Instead, you want to look like someone who walked in the door with a purpose and an upward trajectory in the organization.

The best way to do this will require time and money, depending on what's in your wardrobe. While no one is suggesting tailored suits and designer wear, if you want to stand out, your clothing should be free of stains or wrinkles, smell fresh, and fit your body appropriately. Many resources are available to help you find the right fit or style for your body type. If you are uncertain about the way to dress, consider calling Human Resources. They are often very accommodating.

Engage with Coworkers

The people around you are often the keys to your own success. In the beginning, you may feel like an outsider, but trying to connect and engage with those around you goes a long way toward making the best possible impression. Not everyone is a natural conversationalist, but it is imperative that you spend time getting to know your coworkers. After all, you will likely spend more time with them than your friends or family.

The easiest first step is to learn and remember names and job titles. People will remember you if you remember them. Projecting self-confidence will help you stand out too. You can do this in many ways, but two of the simplest is to maintain good posture and to make eye contact during conversations. Some industries place a higher level of importance on these social or soft skills than others, but everyone appreciates confidence and a good listener.


You should put yourself forward to work on special projects or on committees as soon as you have a grasp on your regular workload. These are great networking opportunities, in addition to being an excellent way to show off some of your most valuable skills. If you're fortunate, you may also find early leadership opportunities here too. Plus a successful project always looks good on an end-of-year review or later resume for an even better position.

Of course, volunteering for extra projects or additional commitments can also cause burn-out or over-extension, if you aren't careful. If this seems like a risk, consider volunteering to assist coworkers who might have bitten off more than they can chew. This is a great way to build rapport, and there's nothing wrong with standing out as a good person and team-player.

These are a good beginning for a new hire like you who is determined to attract the right kind of attention from those in charge. At the end of the day, you will know that you did your best and hopefully, soon see rewards for all the hard work.

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