Your first day at a new job is a little like your first day of school: full of promise, anticipation, and excitement.  It can set the tone for how your boss and your co-workers see you, so making a good first impression matters.  However, you shouldn’t stress out and put extra pressure on yourself.  Just get ready to rock your first day on the job with these simple tips.

Prepare and ask questions

The first day is more about listening, but you can, and should, ask questions when necessary.  Asking questions demonstrates your curiosity and desire to learn.  However, be wary of asking too many questions.  You have plenty of time to master the job.  Prepare for your first day by writing down both practical and general questions about how you can be successful in your new role.

Prepare an elevator pitch

Reach out and introduce yourself to others.  Don’t sit by yourself all day.  Get ready to give a 30-second explanation of who you are and where you were before.  New colleagues will likely ask you about your previous place of employment.  Also, be ready to describe what you’ll be doing in this new position, since there may be people who have a vague understanding of your role or merely want to strike up a conversation.

Show up early

Make sure you’re well-rested, prepared, and on time.  Get there at least 15 minutes early.  If you haven’t done the commute before, practice it a couple of times during rush hour a week before.

Smile

It may have taken a while to reach this point after searching, interviewing, and landing the job, so don’t forget to be happy and enjoy the moment.  Smile when you meet new people and shake their hands.  Introduce yourself to everyone, and make it clear how happy and eager you are to be there.

Look and play the part

Take the conservative approach in how you dress and what you say and do.  Be as professional as you were in the interview process.  Determine the dress code in advance so that you don’t look out of place on your first day.  You want to blend in while making others and yourself comfortable.  If you’re not sure about the dress code, call HR ahead of time and ask.

Don’t try too hard

The urge to impress can take you off-track.  Remember, you’re already hired – you don’t have to wow your new colleagues.  Keep the “bragging” to a minimum when talking about your past employment – how you “ran the place,” etc.  Let your work ethic and knowledge impress others naturally.

Don’t turn down lunch

If you’re invited to have lunch with your new boss and co-workers, go.  It’s important to show that you’re ready to mingle with your new team, so save the packed lunch for another day.

Listen and observe

The best thing anyone can do in the first few days of a new job is “listen, listen, and listen.”  The first day is not the time to have a strong opinion.  Be friendly, meet people, smile, and listen.  It is a prime opportunity to hear about the goals your boss and others have for the company, the department, and top projects.  It’s your chance to grasp the big picture, as well as priorities.

Talk to peers

One of the most invaluable insights you can get early on is how the department operates from the perspective of your peers.  If you’re friendly and approachable early on, you will start on the right foot in establishing trust.

Project high energy

You will be observed more in your early days from an external standpoint.  Your attitude and work ethic will be most visible since no one has had a chance to evaluate your work skills just yet.  Everyone wants to work with enthusiastic, upbeat people.

Show interest

You’ll likely be introduced to many people, and while they may make the first attempt to learn a little about you, be sure to make an effort to find out about them as well.  It’s not just flattering; it will also help you do your job better.  Helpful tip: take notes about the people you meet including their names, positions, job duties, and any personal details you glean.  Ther’es a lot to remember in those first few days, so nothing wrong with a few cheat sheets!

Don’t judge anyone or anything too quickly

Don’t decide you don’t like your cube mate because he didn’t say “hi” the moment you walked in.  Don’t tell yourself that taking the job was a huge mistake because you don’t immediately love the culture.  Yes, first impressions are often accurate and can be hard to ignore – but you should give everyone (and everything) a chance.  Keep an open mind and maintain a positive attitude.

Be available to your boss

On your first day of work, you’ll likely be pulled in a thousand directions.  First and foremost, you should make sure you’re accessible to your new boss on your first day.  Companies are not always as organized as they’d like when onboarding staff.  You can easily get caught up with an HR professional, various manager, or co-workers.  On your first day of work, be sure to check in with your manager throughout the day.

Express your gratitude

Thank anyone who helped you get acclimated throughout the day.  Thank your new boss again for giving you the opportunity to joint heir team.  You don’t have to go over the top – but express gratitude wherever you see fit.

Don’t skip training sessions

You may be required to attend a few training or orientation sessions on day one.  Whatever you do, don’t skip them.  If you have a lot going on, create calendar reminders or put a Post-It note on your desk.  It’s critical that you not seem flaky or irresponsible on your first day.

Learn where everything is

Figure out where the restrooms are, where the kitchen is, and where your boss sits.  Learning where these things or people are can be an excellent opportunity to introduce yourself to new colleagues.  Don’t walk around aimlessly – say hi and ask.

Leave with a good attitude

The last thing to remember is that while the first day at a new job is significant, you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t go flawlessly.  You should prepare and try to do your best, but remember that if you aim to accomplish too much, you may get overwhelmed.  Know that there’s always tomorrow.

 

Check out these helpful links for more information about how to rock your first day on the job:

Tips for Success on Your First Day at a New Job

19 Tips for Making a Great Impression at Your New Job

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