First Day at a New Job? Learn How to Make the Best Impression
The first day on your new job really sets the tone for how you’ll interact with your colleagues and your boss going forward. First impressions really do last; you want to get it right to jumpstart this next step in your career. Here are some tips, including what to do the night before, so you’re ready to bring your A-Game.
The night before, make sure you have these things in order:
- What you will wear. If you have a uniform, be sure it’s clean and pressed and lay out all the items you’ll need. If you can wear whatever you choose, it’s always best to follow what you’ve seen others wear during your interview process. You’ll feel a lot more comfortable if you’re not dressed too casually or totally over-dressed for the job.
- Review the commute. Have you done a dry run during the hours you’ll be actually going to work? Do you have an alternate route in mind in case there’s an accident or traffic? You don’t want to be late on your first day.
- Decide what you’ll have for breakfast. You don’t want to start your day hungry and out of sorts. Knowing what you’ll make/eat the night before will make it easier to get going on time.
- Make sure you have all the paperwork you need. Put together any questions you have about insurance, employee handbook, etc. for HR. Bring a photo ID and anything else you think you might be asked to provide.
- Think about some conversation starters (small talk). Have a few ideas in mind so you can easily chat with new colleagues to break the ice. Was there a recent sports win? Or maybe a local event that everyone knows about?
- Make sure you get enough sleep. You want to be well-rested and focused on your first day. Get to bed at a reasonable hour.
- It’s normal to feel a little anxious, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself. No one thinks you’re going to be productive on your first day. If you think through (rehearse) what it might be like ahead of time, you’ll have the chance to relax and be more comfortable.
On the big day:
- Check your appearance before you head out. How’s your hair, make-up (if appropriate)? Are your shoes clean? Do a last check of your outfit/uniform and go out the door feeling confident.
- Arrive about 15 minutes early. You don’t want to be too early (not before your boss gets there or someone can greet you) and you certainly don’t want to be late. You might have some paperwork to fill out, so being a little early will be a plus.
- Ask questions. You’re new… people will be happy to help. Introduce yourself, tell them “I’m new” and make some connections. Find out who you’ll be working with and ask what they do and how your role fits in with the team.
- Find someone who can be your “buddy” and will happily show you’re the ropes. If your boss doesn’t assign someone to you, find a peer who’s open and friendly.
- Write down everything. You’ll need to bring a notebook and pen so you can write down names as well as whatever you need to remember… you can always refer back to it when needed. You don’t want to have to ask the same questions over and over.
- Be aware of your cell phone usage. Don’t have your face in your phone as you walk around or have your device ringing or pinging with notifications. Put it on silent/vibrate and spend more time talking with people and being friendly.
- If you’re invited to lunch by the boss or your team lead, by all means, GO. It’s a chance to get to know them on a more casual basis and begin building your network.
- Be yourself. Don’t try too hard to impress. Spend time on your first day meeting and engaging others, smile and if you can, offer to help with something. You don’t want to seem aloof to those you’ll be working with so plan to read all those HR materials at home later.
- You’ve gotten through the hiring process and you’re now part of the team. You need to understand the expectations of the job and make a plan to live up to them. Try to get a sense of who reports to whom and how everyone’s roles fit together. Listen and observe, take notes and use this time to grasp the boss’s goals and priorities.