Congratulations, you’ve got a brand-new job, and it comes complete with a better salary, a shiny new office and the chance to really make your mark. Naturally, you’re excited, and if you’re honest, a tad apprehensive too. It’s perfectly fine to have first-day nerves, after all, this is your chance to make a great first impression on your new colleagues and superiors. So, let’s find out the best way to navigate your first day on a new job.
Find Your Way
Don’t leave your commute to chance, running late on your first day will leave you feeling stressed and embarrassed. It’s wise to map out your journey in advance, find the most convenient route and figure out how long it’s going to take you to get to work. Ideally, do a test-run before the big day (this will allow you to see how busy it is during your commute). Leave home early on the first few days, allowing yourself a little extra time will calm your nerves and give you breathing space. If you’re early you can always grab a coffee!
Look the Part
Don’t leave it until the night before to figure out what to wear on your first day. There will be enough to think about without the added commotion of trying to sponge a curry stain off the black jacket you really wanted to wear. Make sure everything is ready so you can sashay out of the shower and throw together a professional, coherent look that says “Here I am!”
If you’re not sure what to wear try and get an idea of what your co-workers dress in. You could look at the company handbook, check out the company website, or even hang around near the exit and take a sneaky peek (watch out for the last one though – you don’t want colleagues to think you’re odd)! If in any doubt at all go for formal on your first day, it’s better to be slightly overdressed than to look like you can’t really be bothered.
Put Names to Faces
You are going to meet a lot of people, so there will be a lot of names and faces to remember (a little word association could come in handy here).
If you have a moment discreetly jot down the names of your colleagues and a brief description, just so you can refer to it as you establish who’s who. You could even go a step further and scribble down a seating plan, just to jog your memory as to who sits where (and who does what)!
Figure Out Who’s Who
Some colleagues will have more impact on your job than others. If possible, ascertain who you will be working with on a regular basis – these are the employees you need to forge a bond with. The rest still deserve your time and attention (never underestimate the power of a smile and a friendly hello), but focus more on those you will be dealing with in your day to day role. Show an interest in who they are and what they do (don’t be afraid to ask questions). It’s important to get to grips with how their role ties in with yours, after all, you don’t want to tread on colleagues’ toes.
Be Yourself – But Don’t Try Too Hard!
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. - Oscar Wilde
Mr Wilde had a valid point, try not to alter your personality to please others. Trying to be someone you’re not could land you in hot water. That’s not to say you shouldn’t project the best version of yourself – the one that’s friendly, warm, and confident. But, there’s no need to plaster a fake smile on and be over-the-top in your approach, aim for calm and amicable.
Get Ready to Answer Questions
On your first day colleagues are going to be naturally curious about who you are, where you’re from and what you’re there to do. Avoid getting tongue-tied by rehearsing a brief blurb about yourself. This is your first real opportunity to network, so make the most of it. Showcase your personality, and wow your associates from day one.
Do Your Homework
A gold star for you if you carried out research on your new company in preparation for your interview. Now you need to build on that prior to your first day at work. Make it your business to find out the latest company news, explore current projects that are in the pipeline, and check if there are any recent successes to celebrate. If the opportunity arises find out about key personnel too.
Switch on Your Listening Ears
There will be a lot of information coming your way when you start at your new place. Keep your ears open and take note of any crucial and interesting material. Yes, you will be need to know where the toilet is, and where to get a coffee (both essential), but it’s also a good time to find out more about company goals, witness departmental dynamics, and discover how things are going with new projects. Listen, soak it all up, and take notes if you need to. Don’t be afraid to ask questions – but keep in mind that your first day isn’t the best time to share all of your wonderful plans and strong opinions.
Your first day should fill you with excitement, not dread. Preparation is key, so put all of that nervous energy to good use, plan, plan, plan (and plan some more). Here’s a quick checklist to help you on your way:
Plot and practise your commute to work.
Decide what to wear and equip yourself (notebook and pen is a must)!
Find out more about your new company.
Rehearse a brief blurb about yourself.
Get ready to meet and greet a whole host of new people.
Believe in yourself and never underestimate the power of a smile.
Good luck, and give it your best!