What to Do On the “First Day”

It’s your first day at a new job. You’re nervous. Just remember, we’ve all been there. You want to keep building on the initial impression from the interview and make sure they’re happy with their decision to hire you. The first day is the time to hit the ground running, so here are some tips to help you adjust to your new job.

Prepare the Night Before

Remember when you were younger and you prepared for your first day of school the night before by putting out your clothes, packing your lunch, and organizing your backpack? Treat your first day of work just like that.

Pick Out Your Outfit

You should definitely pick out your clothes the night before, so you can spend time determining the best outfit to wear. You need to dress appropriately. Take the conservative route if you’re unsure of what to wear and be as professional as you were in the interview.

(Don’t) Pack Your Lunch

It would be easier to pack your lunch the night before, but for the first day, we advise not packing a lunch at all. Treat your lunch break as a socializing opportunity. Go out to lunch with your new coworkers. Sometimes your manager will even take you out to lunch.

Mentally Prepare

The first day can be a bit overwhelming. You’ll be meeting new people and introducing yourself A LOT. Prepare your elevator pitch when introducing yourself, including where you were before you took this job and if it’s big company, what you were hired to do there. When making conversation with your new coworkers, it might get a little awkward, so you should think of some questions or topics for small talk. Lastly, don’t forget the reason(s) why you took the job. Make sure you write down the reasons you accepted the job offer, so when things get tough on the first day, you can remind yourself.

Get Enough Sleep

You don’t want to be a zombie on the first day at your new job. The night before the first day should be as important as the night before the job interview. You need to get enough sleep, so you are well-rested for the day.

Arrive Early (Not on Time)

Punctuality is important for the interview, but it is especially important during the first few weeks of your new job. When figuring out your commute to work, you should aim to be in the parking lot 15-30 minutes before your start time. This way, you can give yourself some time to unwind in the car, grab a cup of coffee at the coffee shop nearby, and be able to walk through the door 5-10 minutes before your scheduled shift. This helps maintain the first impression you gave your boss during the interview process and shows them that you are likely to go above and beyond for the job.

Listen & Observe

One of the best ways for you to navigate the social environment is by keeping your eyes open and paying attention to how everyone interacts with one another. Figuring out the social landscape will help you determine who you can go to with questions. Every workplace has their cliques and some tend to mesh better with the company’s leadership, so if you associate with those individuals, you’ll have a better time moving up the ranks. It’s also important to watch how decisions are made because it’s imperative you get along with your peers.

Talk to Your Peers

When you’re introduced to someone, make sure you use their name in conversation. This is an important technique in remembering someone’s name. Don’t talk about your old job. Especially, don’t tell your manager what your “old manager” did. Unless you are specifically asked about your previous job, your new boss and co-workers don’t need to know how things were done at your last job.

Put Your Cellphone on Silent

Unless there’s an emergency, it’s not important for you to answer your cellphone. Your phone can only be seen as a distraction in this instance and will deter people from socializing with you if you are using it. It can also be seen as unprofessional if your ringtone goes off while others are working.

Don’t be a Know-It-All or Complain

Just because you know what your new boss or colleague is talking about doesn’t mean you won’t learn something new from what they have to say. Be willing to learn new things and pay attention to what your new boss and co-workers have to say. Nobody likes a complainer. You may have an uncomfortable chair or the schedule isn’t your favorite. Keep the complaining to a minimum. You’ll get through the adjustment period.

Take Initiative

On your first day, take some initiative to jump into your position head on. As the new employee, you’re still establishing your reputation and if you get a head start on your work, it will give you a positive reputation. If you get an offer to work on a project outside of your job description, try it. This will show your boss that you are versatile and willing to learn, which are impressive qualities.

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