Your first day at work is always going to be nerve-wracking. It’s a new job and you want to make a great first impression.
Your mind can easily go blank at what you need to do. That’s ok, we all go through it.
Here are some great tips to help make sure your first day goes as smoothly as possible.
Plan your route
This may seem obvious, however, people overlook this all the time. You need to leave a good amount of time to arrive about 10 minutes early to your office.
Consider the travel time and any potential delays (like the school rush). It might have taken you 15 minutes to get there for your interview, but what about during the school rush? That could easily turn into 30 minutes.
Also double-check where you are going. Sometimes where you interviewed isn’t the place you will end up working.
Wrapping up check and plan out where you need to go, its distance, and how you are going to get there (a car may not always be the best option).
Dress to impress
To make a good first impression, part of it is making sure you are a snappy dresser.
Take a good look at what your colleagues are wearing and try and match it in its professionalism.
If everyone is suited and booted, then it’s a suit for you.
If it’s more of a ‘smart-casual’, err on the side of caution and dress slightly smarter than slightly casual.
If you have any doubts, then don’t be afraid to ask.
If there is a uniform you have to wear, make sure it looks good and is ready to go for the day.
It may be a cliché but laying out your clothes the night before really is helpful.
That way you’re not having to run about trying to find that missing shirt or ironing your trousers in the madness of the morning rush (don’t lie, we’ve all been there).
The first few weeks or months are often called the ‘onboarding phase’. Some businesses will have a dedicated onboarding process or manual.
If this has been sent to you then make sure you have read it and understand it. If you need to ask questions then make sure you have written them down so a. you won’t forget them and b. proves you have read the document.
You should also leave space so that you can write down the answers to any questions you might have.
Tell me about yourself
You will likely be asked to introduce yourself to your team, to other managers, etc. This may come in the form of an ‘elevator pitch’.
If this is the case then make sure you have prepared your elevator pitch in advance and have practised it ready to answer. Remember this is really common therefore you definitely are going to want to prepare your answers in advance so that you don’t trip over your tongue.
SWITCH YOUR PHONE OFF!
This is important.
Unless you desperately need your phone for an urgent situation, keep it switched off (or at the very least on silent) during those first few weeks. You are going to be learning the ropes of the new office, new systems, and you’ll be making new friends. The worst thing you can do is be glued to your phone.
Keep it off, get settled and learn what you need to do first. This is good practice in general but is vital throughout those first few weeks.
Note-taking is a lost art. However, if you take notes you are proven to remember more as well as you’ll be able to ensure you are not forgetting anything important.
You’re going to remember what has been said or mentioned and any tasks that you need to do. This will develop a great habit that will stand you in good stead throughout your career.
Ask Lots of Questions
This is a simple one. Ask questions. Lots of them.
You want to make a good impression and also hit the ground running when it comes to your work. The best way to get over those obstacles is to ask questions.
This will not only give you a good first impression as enthusiastic but also your willingness to learn the systems and internal workings of your new job will impress colleagues and higher-ups.
It will also prevent early mistakes and hiccoughs. It will also demystify what you need to do in those first few weeks.
Meet & Greet
Saying hello and introducing yourself is the most basic of things. Yet so many of us overlook this in our nervousness of the first day.
Go and meet people, talk to your team, get to know them, strike up a conversation, and even have lunch with them if possible. That way you will establish a good working relationship with the people you are going to be spending a lot of time with.
But don’t just leave this at the greeting stage always say goodbye at the end of the day. These small niceties can often be overlooked but it is all worth it.
Seriously. No matter if you left on poor terms with your previous employer or if you had a manager you didn’t like, keep things positive.
You are likely to be on probation for the first few months to a whole year and badmouthing previous managers or employers will be a bad mark against your name.
This also applies to your general speech throughout the day. Try not to be negative about anything as this can come across as ungrateful for the opportunity you have in this new role.
Keep things positive and focus on getting the best out of this new beginning.
One of the best things you can do is relax. You’ve got the job. No need to stress. Take the time to get your bearings, listen, observe, and get the pulse of the workplace.
You don’t have to try too hard (a common issue with people-pleasing) and you definitely should be yourself.
When you are relaxed and feeling free and loose, you naturally smile more, your body language is much more positive, and you radiate a calm but energetic presence.
This will eventually bleed over into your work, often performing a lot better than when you’re not relaxed.
After all that, enjoy!
If you’ve got to this last paragraph, then you are probably nervous about your first day. There’s no need to be. You have already done the hard part and got the job. It’s now down to you to show up, do your work, be positive, relax and ENJOY YOURSELF!
The statistic that’s often thrown around is that we spend a third of our lives at the workplace. With that, you’re going to want to enjoy your work and your co-workers. It won’t always be the case but it will cover the majority of your time.
Take your time to settle in and get used to your new surroundings and workload. Your first day is your chance to set yourself up for success professionally and personally. Take the chance and good luck.