You’ve applied, interviewed, and gotten the job. It’s now your first day and you’re nervous yet excited as if you were going on a first date. First impressions last, so you want to make sure this day goes as smoothly as possible. Here are a few tips on how to ace your first day.
First, do everything you can at home to avoid a stressful morning. Make sure you know what the dress code is (if you don’t know, contact HR to find out), and pick out your outfit, iron your shirt, and polish your shoes the night before.
Pack your bag with everything you need to bring. Make sure to bring your driver’s license/passport, social security card, and any other important documents required for paperwork. Bring a pocket notebook and pen to take good notes as you go and prevent you from having to ask as many questions later. While paper and pen may seem out of date, it’s seen as less rude than using an electronic device while being trained.
Set two alarms to wake up to the morning of your first day. One should do the job, but two will decrease your worry of oversleeping and help you get a better night’s rest. In the morning, eat a good breakfast so you are feeling your best and are able to focus on what you’re learning. Do a test drive or look up on Google maps how long it should take for you to get to work, and then leave 10-15 minutes before that. Don’t overdo it and arrive an hour early, but allow yourself a few extra minutes in case you hit traffic or some other obstacle along the way. You want to arrive calm and put together, not running in all sweaty and stressed.
Make a good impression to your coworkers on your first day. You probably won’t be working on big projects the second you walk in the door, so you need to make a good impression through ways like being punctual, wearing appropriate work clothes, and communicating well. Take initiative and introduce yourself to your coworkers. Tell people your name and new position. Memorize names and faces beforehand if available on the company website, so you will be more likely to remember people’s names after they are introduced to you in person. If invited to lunch with your coworkers, go and take the opportunity to get to know them and let them get to know you.
If this is not your first job in the field, avoid talking about your old jobs and how they functioned. Comparisons can be offensive, even if not intended to be so. Try to fit in as part of the team, not an outsider who talks too much about another job. Even if some things were run better at your old job, your first day is not the time to suggest change.
Even if it’s ok to have your phone on you during work, turn it off so it doesn’t distract you from training.
Don’t expect to master everything in your first day. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t freak out! You’re expected to have questions when you’re brand new so take advantage and ask away. The longer you work, the more you’re expected to know what to do so people have less patience for questions. Make a list of things you want to ask about, and then tackle them as you are able.
If you have a cubicle or office, decorate it a little with photos or decorations involving your interests and hobbies. Your things will help you feel a little more comfortable, and they are good conversation starters for coworkers.
Try to be calm, confident, and enthusiastic. It’s likely that everything won’t be easy, but try to handle things as well as you can and it will all get easier over time.
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