The first day of work at any new job can cause a roller-coaster ride of emotions. There are so many things to do and so much self-imposed pressure that you may not be sure where to start. If you are getting ready to start a new job, this article will walk you through the most common aspects of the first day.
Let’s dive in.
Dress for success
Try to find out what the dress code is for the company before your first day. It can be as easy as just dropping the Human Resources rep an email and asking what the dress code at the company is. If you can’t get through to the rep, you should dress up. First impressions stick, so start off on the right foot on your first day of work.
One thing to add here: most of the time if you are from specific segments, you can expect (but not 100%) how to dress. If you work in banking, insurance, etc. you can expect dress to be a bit formal, whereas at a tech startup it might be quite casual.
Plan how to get there
Don’t leave your new morning commute to chance; plan your first day of work commute. What is the best way to get there? Type this info into Waze, Google maps, or another app of your choice and see how to get there and how long it’ll take.
Will you drive or take public transportation? Decide and game plan accordingly. You can’t risk being late on your first day. No Way!
Get there early
Adding to the last point of planning your commute, you should arrive a bit early at work. Getting there 15 minutes early will give you a buffer of time just in case you get lost inside the office, need a quick bathroom visit, or want to grab a coffee.
Silence your cellphone
Have you ever noticed that some people just can’t stand it when someone’s phone goes off when it shouldn’t have? Don’t let this happen to you. You are trying to create a positive first impression on your first day on the job. Silence it. Period.
Write a quick self-presentation elevator pitch
Maybe you have heard an elevator pitch on the Shark Tank or have come across this buzzword elsewhere. In this case, you are not selling a product but quickly recapping a bit about yourself. It is very common for your new colleagues to be curious about your previous experience or just about you in general. Giving prior thought to this will aid you in delivering a good message and in avoiding filler words such as: uhm, you know, like. Focus on what you have been doing before this job.
Check out Linkedin of all people you might be working with
If you are being hired as an analyst in marketing, check out the company’s Linkedin page to see other employees that work there. See who holds the same role as you. What are your peers’ experience? Do some digging. Try to get a feeling of how their experience compares to yours. Also, look at some of their accomplishments; these make for great conversation starters.
Be ready to get down to business
The first day on the job could either be super lax with not much to do (just training), or there might be pressure on you from day one to see how you respond. The second scenario is less typical. Either way, be ready and willing to hit the ground running. Bring your game face.
Be open, approachable, and friendly:
Not too much to add here. You want to appear approachable and friendly, someone with whom colleagues will enjoy working. It is important that right from the start you position yourself like this.
Nobody likes a know-it-all or a disinterested person. Convey your interest in the projects or tasks you’ll be assigned. Even better, discover as much as you can about the company before your first day of work, this will help you chime in on certain conversations with other peers and bosses. Going the extra mile pays off.
Try your best to remember names
It can be difficult to remember each person you meet on the first day, but make sure you try HARD. Business is all about communication. Knowing another person’s name can help facilitate communication and help you grow a business relationship.
Find the right crowd
As you meet people throughout the company, you’ll soon notice that there are cliques and or groups of people that hang out together. Make sure to pick your group accordingly. Being positioned and among the wrong group can actually hurt your chances of growing within the company. As mentioned in the previous topic, business is all about communication, business is also about relationships. Cultivating the right relationships will take you a long way in the business world.
Accept all meetings (if possible)
This is a great opportunity to meet other people throughout the company. It is also a good way to learn about what is going on.
Go out to lunch with others
Never eat alone. Grab lunch with a colleague, boss or other members of the company. Take this time to learn about them and what they do. This is a great way to kick off your first day and get to know more people.
Who are your immediate teammates?
Find out who your possible teammates are. You more than likely will be working with them on a daily basis, so it’s best to know a little bit about who they are and what they do.
Make the effort to meet others:
Even though you are new at the company and you figure that most people should introduce themselves, take the proactive approach and introduce yourself to others. Walk up to the person and say, “Hi, I’m so and so…” Find out what they do. Grab lunch. Grab a coffee. Working in a company is about building relationships and communication.
Listen and observe
As a newly onboarded employee, you will have a lot to learn. As you participate in meetings, be sure to listen and observe as much as possible. Avoid giving your opinion about matters unless specifically asked to do so. Focus first on learning how things are done at the company. After you have been at the company for a few months, you will have gained a better perspective on how things are done there. This makes it easier to give your opinions.
Observe how decisions are made
Every business environment is different. Knowing how decisions are made (and where they come from) can help immensely. In most cases, it is top down, i.e. decisions come from top management. But other times, there are some stakeholders in the company whom we don’t directly see but who influence how decisions are made. Knowing how these decisions are made will help you in your own job; if you need to ask for additional information, you will know where to ask.
Don’t judge anyone too quickly
Have you ever looked at a person and instantly judged him for possibly the style of dress, the way of speaking or something else? Avoid this. You will work with many different people with all sorts of skill sets and from all different backgrounds. Going into a new company with a non-judgmental approach is best.
Beware of your body language
Your body language tells a lot about you. You may be disinterested in a conversation, hiding information, nervous, or even angry because of a situation. Body language clearly tells your story and feeling of the moment. Be in charge of your body language. Self-awareness is your friend here. To get a better notion of the different types of body language, check out this short article on Body Language Do’s and Don’ts. Think about your last meeting or encounter, was your body language giving the right message?
Think of an answer to why you left your past job (if relevant)
There are many occasions where you will be engaged in small talk with colleagues and others throughout the company. Someone may ask you why you decided to leave your past job and join the company. Make sure to have a plausible reason for doing so, and never bash your old company or boss. This is more common than you might think! It is a small world out there, and some business segments are even smaller; so, avoid speaking poorly about your previous company and boss even if the experience was poor.
Think about a solid answer to why you accepted this job
Some people will be curious why you decided to join the company: so once again, do your homework and come up with a plausible answer in case this question comes up in small talk. Was it because of the company mission, its segment, projects it is working on, or other things that motivated you to accept the new challenge?
Prepare and ask questions
Before going into your first day on the new job, it is important that you set some time aside to prepare questions to ask teammates and your immediate managers. These questions could be about on the job training, how things work, how decisions are made, company curiosities, etc. Asking questions demonstrates your interest about the company and will help you get adapted in your new role faster.
Do your homework on the company
Since you have already been hired and are getting ready for your first day, more than likely you already know quite a bit about the company. But don’t stop there. Even though you have already done your pre-work and become acquainted with the company, continue to read their blog and any other information you can find about them. The more you know about the company, the smoother transition you will have.
Relax – It’s your first day of work
This title speaks for itself. Relax. It’s a new job and a new company. You don’t need to know how to do everything. There is an expected learning curve on your new job, so relax. To help you feel more relaxed, continue to prepare questions about the company, read about the company, re-read the job description and read up on trends in that area. Be willing to re-learn things when you get to the new company.
Who said work can’t be fun? It’s a matter of perspective. Go into the new job with a positive attitude and be willing to learn new things!
You don’t have to be someone else going into a new job. Be yourself. Obviously, watch some of your quirks and avoid sharing certain things. But for the most part, be yourself. Be open, and repeating the last one, have fun on the job!
Thank people for their help
There will likely be a lot of people working with you on your first day. They will show you the ropes, train you to do your new tasks, show you the kitchen and places to grab that quick cup of coffee and acquaint you with things that happen throughout a typical workday. Take a moment after each person has helped you to show your gratitude. Thanking someone goes a long way and it’s not that hard to do!
Your first day of work can be a roller coaster of emotions. There is a lot going through your head. You are probably nervous, not exactly sure what to expect. This is totally normal and is expected. I’ve tried to cover some of the main topics above, but there might be some other ones that fell through the cracks. Regardless, show up on time, dress to impress, go in with an open attitude, be outgoing, be interested, actively meet others, push yourself to learn, and you will do just fine!