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10 ways to make a good first impression

10 ways to make a good first impression

Aisling Gallagher, a manager in our Risk Consulting practice, shares her top 10 tips for making a positive first impression in business


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I joined the tax practice in KPMG as a graduate in September 2011 after graduating with a degree in Accounting & Finance and a Masters in Accounting in DCU. Anyone who works in tax will know that joining at that time of year means you're straight into business so it's the perfect time to prove yourself (or otherwise!). First impressions are everything and it really is the little things that count.

  1. Be professional: It's clichéd but you're joining a professional services firm and looking the part, arriving on time, having a good hand shake and being professional in all communications is essential. Yes, that means no email emoticons (at least in the beginning!)
  2. Remember that all work is good work: As with most things in life, starting out means finding your feet and getting to know the business from the bottom up is what it's all about in the early days. Shed all airs and graces and remember there is room to do a good job on everything. By getting the simple tasks done right you will quickly progress to greater things.
  3. Ask questions and clarify expectations: When you are given work, ask for background and how your task fits into the big picture. Question until you are 100% sure you understand the job, what is required, how long it should take to complete and, most importantly, the deadline. Let your manager know if you are doing work for other people and ask which should take priority.
  4. Be equipped with a notebook and pen: Theres no point asking all the right questions above and then forgetting the answers! Take clear notes when being asked to do a job, on calls or in meetings.
  5. Triple check everything: Attention to detail speaks volumes for first impressions on the quality of your work. Re-read emails for typos and check tots, etc. before sending on for review.
  6. Learn from your mistakes: Everybody makes mistakes but not everyone learns from them. Keep track of managers' preferences or review points they've made before and use them as a checklist going forward.
  7. Seek feedback: Don't be afraid to ask if you have done a good job on something or if there is anything you could have done differently or better. Accept it gracefully and apply going forward.
  8. Keep busy: Make sure you let people know the status of your work and workload. Be proactive and ask for more work when you are finished a job or if there is a lull, lend a helping hand to your peers. Everyone appreciates a team player.
  9. Be social: It really is the people that make the job. Attend social events and make an effort to get to know the people you work with and for, not just your intake. You'll make friends right from the beginning.
  10. Smile: It's likely that you're starting your first real job and a new chapter in life. Embrace it, be enthusiastic, positive and smile!


This article was originally published in Accountancy Ireland Extra in September 2016 and is reproduced here with their kind permission.

© 2020 KPMG, an Irish partnership and a member firm of the KPMG network of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. All rights reserved.

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