Preparing for your first day on a new job can be more than a little intimidating; you are stepping into an environment with many unknowns—variables that are next to impossible to get before you step into the office.
It can be frightening, but is also one of the most exciting moments in your life. Although you think you are prepared, it couldn’t hurt for have a few tips to make things easier.
Ten ways to succeed on the first day on the job; think of them as a last-minute preparation checklist:
- Be well rested.
The body and mind perform at its peak when rested. Before you start your new job, especially if it has been a few weeks (or months) since your last job, catch up on some sleep. This lets your body prepare for the sudden burst of energy you will surely feel. Soon, you will fall into a routine, and feeling refreshed will make the transition to a new schedule much easier.
- Do not be late.
Know what time you are supposed to start, and do everything you can to arrive on time (or even a few minutes early). The first day is often filled with paperwork and other administrative functions. Give yourself enough time to take care of these responsibilities, as well as making a good impression.
- Take notes, lots of them.
You will probably be subjected to a barrage of information, some you will understand, others may go right over your head. Take a little time to list of all your most pressing questions before you arrive, and carry a notepad as you go about on your first day. Do your homework and remain focused, proving you are interested in doing the best job possible.
- “Practice run” the road to work.
To be thought of as a professional, punctuality is everything. One of the worst impressions is being late on your first day. Go on a dry run the day before; practicing your commute and be aware of any possible delays—anticipate problems and plan alternatives.
- Dress properly.
A big misstep on the first day is being over (or under) dressed. It could be expected, but doesn’t have to be. Give your employer a call before you begin; ask them about the dress code. Standing out on the job is good, just not for the wrong reasons.
- Introduce yourself.
Introduce yourself to coworkers and people you will be in contact with regularly. Make a point to learn their names—this is when your notepad becomes an invaluable tool. Try to commit names to memory; a convenient way is to repeat their name while shaking their hand.
- Ask questions.
You may be a little shy on your first day, but asking questions is part of the process. If more information is needed—don’t wait, ask! Everyone has questions—if not at first, then during the day. Make lots of notes; at the right time, go to your boss or co-workers with your list. Don’t be stressed, everyone starts somewhere. It is clearly preferable to ask questions early on, than possibly missing out on vital information.
- Listen carefully and learn.
Soak up everything you can. The first day (or two) should be solely devoted to becoming familiar with the job. Easy tasks can be tackled directly; nevertheless, always be receptive to input from coworkers.
- Don’t be overbearing.
Everyone wants to make a strong first impression, but being involved in every conversation, or forcing yourself as everyone’s “new best friend” can be a little overbearing. Take your time and be patient. Let relationships grow organically; they will be more useful in the long run.
- Don’t leave early.
You made it through your first day intact—even with a few minutes on your hands. Great! After all, at this point you probably do not know everything you need to do the job. Don’t just finish up early and go home triumphant, even if your boss suggests it. Stay through your scheduled time—or even a little later. It will indicate to them that you consider learning the ropes seriously.
The first day at work is an exciting achievement in your career. Be prepared and stay alert; this could be the start of something wonderful.