Congratulations—you’ve landed a new job! In today’s world, this is not easy to do. Now that you have a new job, you want to be great at it, especially on your first day. It will be a lot like your first day in high school—you’ll be excited, but also nervous and uncertain. However, you must remember that you are prepared for this. You will make some mistakes, but at the end of the day it is important to leave a positive impression.
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1. Dress for Success
Wear your smartest outfit. You need to impress your boss and co-workers, as well as remind everyone that you deserve to be there. When you accepted the job, you were probably told what the dress code is. Make sure to adhere to it. Do some Internet research about a standard dress code for your field if you weren’t told or you want to double check.
If you were told dress is casual or professional, what does that mean exactly? Obviously casual doesn’t mean leggings and a t-shirt, and professional doesn’t necessarily mean a pantsuit. Here are some general guidelines for these two common styles. (Click the links to see examples of some perfect clothes and outfits you could wear!)
Business Professional: All you have to do for this style is take the outfits from business casual and take them up one notch. Here are some outfit ideas:
- Pencil skirt and a blouse
- A dress with a blazer or nice sweater
- Dress slacks and a blouse with a blazer or sweater
2. Ensure You Have Everything You Need
It’s possible your new boss gave you a list of things to bring with you on your first day. Don’t forget any of it! Even if you weren’t given a list, it’s good to have a few things on hand. Bring pens and pencils, your laptop and a charger, a bottle of water, and a notebook. You may need more things, depending on your specific job.
3. Calm Your Nerves Before Arriving
Do whatever you need to in order to relax before your big day. Start the night before with your evening routine. Meditate, do some yoga, read in bed, or watch a movie. Don’t forget to get a good night’s sleep, and set your alarm for the next day. In the morning, turn on your favorite music and give yourself plenty of time to get ready. Make yourself your favorite breakfast and have a cup of tea. Continue to listen to a fun playlist in the car. Everything you do at this point should help you to perform your best on your first day!
4. Get There Early
…But not too early. Five to ten minutes is perfect, but any earlier than fifteen minutes is too much. If you’re worried about making it there on time, aim to get there fifteen minutes early, and if there’s an accident or traffic on the roads you won’t have to worry.
Bonus Tip: Use Google Maps to navigate your way there. It will be able to give you live traffic updates so you know what the quickest route is.
5. Try to Remember Names
You’re going to be meeting a lot of people today, which can be stressful in and of itself. Trying to remember all of their names is even worse. However, it’s also important to do your best. If (or when) you do forget someone’s name, don’t put off asking them. Play it off as casually as possible by saying something like, “I’m sorry, but I can’t remember your name right now. I’ve met so many people today!” They will understand. After all, they were once new too.
6. Take Notes Throughout the Day
Remember that notebook I suggested you bring? Use it! There will be a ton of information thrown at you at once, and unless you have a superhuman memory, it will be impossible to keep track of all of it. Write down important information, including names, locations, passwords, and numbers to reference in the future. Then, continue to use it throughout your time at this job to take meeting notes and jot down project ideas. It will be a huge help, trust me.
7. Don’t be Overeager
It will be tempting to want to please everyone around you. And indeed, you should do everything in your power to show you are a capable employee. However, don’t be overeager to integrate yourself into office life. You could be tested by co-workers who want to figure out your personality—don’t fall into any traps. Complete the jobs assigned to you by your superiors, not ones pushed onto you by co-workers. Don’t invite yourself to lunch or a meeting, or you’ll come across as pushy. Also, don’t necessarily respond to emails immediately. If you do, it will become an expectation. Wait an hour or two, or even until the next day if the email is not urgent. Give yourself some time to feel out the group dynamic before jumping into everything.
Bonus Tip: While you don’t want to seem too eager to please everyone, you do want to accept invitations from co-workers and your boss. If they ask you to have lunch, go with them! If they invite you to have drinks with them after work, tag along. It will show that you are interested in getting to know everyone and that you’re comfortable in social situations.
8. Complete All Assigned Tasks
Your boss might test you on your first day by assigning you a few small jobs. Complete all of them efficiently and to the best of your ability! The work you produce today is your first professional impression, so make it a good one.
9. Don’t be Afraid to Ask Questions
You might be nervous to ask questions on your first day, but no one expects you to know everything. Asking questions actually shows that you are willing to learn how to do things properly, which is a good thing. It would be worse to try to fumble through things and end up making a mistake than to simply ask for help. At the same time, you don’t want to constantly ask questions. Try to figure things out on your own first, maybe even consult Google if possible, before asking someone else. If you do need to ask, though, don’t be shy.
10. Reflect on Your Day
When you get home at the end of the day, reflect on how it went. What do you feel went well? What could you have done better? How can you become successful in this job? Review the notes you took and think about what your superiors told you throughout the day. Analyzing your own behavior is vital for improving in the future. Be proud of making it through your first day; in many ways, it’s the hardest!
Bonus Tip: Get a good night of sleep after your first day. You’ll surely be tired, and you need to be energized to get up tomorrow and have another stellar day at your new job.
At the end of the day, you need to be adaptable when starting a new job. You’ll be learning a lot, and there might be a few hiccups along the way. No matter what happens, remember that you were picked for this position. You can do this! Just stay calm and do your best.
Do you remember your first day at a big new job? What was it like? Do you have any additional advice? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!