Here are 16 tips to help you make the right impression on your first day at work and reduce the jitters.
1. Professional attire
Power dressing is a term coined not just for fun. Dressing like a professional on your first day at work will add a spring in your step. The way you carry yourself will create an impression of your personality.
Check if your firm prefers business professional, business casual, or casuals. Either way, you wouldn’t want to be overdressed or a tad too casual. Every company has a certain dress code. Follow it and step ahead with confidence.
Tip: When in doubt, stick to formals. You can’t go wrong with that!
2. Anticipate commuting time
Always keep a buffer of about 15 minutes for sudden delays. Use mobile applications to track the traffic on your route and find the most suitable one.
You can always check GoogleMaps for live updates or opt for mobile applications relevant to your city. Waze, a GPS software by Google, offers community-edited maps, a feature to connect with friends, and updates on best deals on gas stations. With such services at hand, you can plan your commute with ease.
Tip: You can look for carpooling options within your firm and also break the ice with existing employees en route.
3. Prepare an introduction
On your first day at work, you might get an opportunity to meet some important people in the office. Make sure you plan the perfect pitch to introduce yourself. Include stories and events that display your skills and achievements in brief.
Tip: Practice a short introduction of not more than 5-7 minutes.
Related: How to answer ‘Tell me about yourself?’
4. Carry important documents
It’s essential to carry all your documents if you haven’t submitted them already at the time of signing the contract. Keep a file ready with your original documents, photocopies, passport size photos, and other essentials.
Tip: Inquire with the HR about the required documents. Keep the documents ready well before your first day at work.
5. Make connections
A controlled and friendly demeanor is one of the best ways to begin your first day at work. Interact with your colleagues. You can ask about their job roles or inquire about your responsibilities. However, remember not to step into the personal zone. Most importantly, keep a smile on your face and exude confidence.
Tip: Create opportunities to strike up a conversation. Be prepared for questions about your previous employment and qualification. Always maintain the right body language.
6. Learn about the company
Do some research about the company, look at their current achievements, success stories, etc. Learn how your department has scored in the last couple of months. This will prepare you to have intelligent conversations at workplace. It’s important to ask the right questions that display your commitment levels to know more about the company.
Tip: Remember to keep your ears open and note things down mentally.
7. Keep organized
Your first day at work will bring you in contact with multiple people from your team or groups across the firm. It’s important to stay organized from the first day itself.
Ensure you write down information, make relevant to-do lists, and jot questions. You’ll also need to attend different orientation sessions as well as training. Display your eagerness for the same and be meticulous in your approach.
If a notebook and pen is not your cup of tea, use apps to streamline your tasks.
Trello: This is a great app to work on projects and share within the team.
Any.do: It helps to categorize your tasks as – Today, Tomorrow, and Upcoming.
Evernote: Take notes using Evernote to file away all the incoming data.
Google Assistant: Ask your assistant to remember some things for you!
Tip: Don’t flood your phone with a barrage of apps. Find out what suits you best to stay organized.
8. Avoid office gossip
Taking part in office gossips and rumors is a strict no-no. Indulging in such activities can hamper your growth as an employee. Not only is gossip distasteful, it also reflects your level of thinking. If someone in your team discusses something that sounds like gossip, you can focus on your system or choose to take a coffee break. If you are asked for your opinion, you can politely refuse to discuss further.
Tip: Gossip only tends to cloud your thinking. Preconceived ideas about others are best avoidable.
9. Take breaks
It is fine to take coffee and lunch breaks on your first day at work. Utilize this time to get to know your colleagues.
You can inquire about the break-time and the policies about the same with your HR manager. Avoid taking extended lunch breaks right on your first day. Allow a couple of weeks to pass by. Meanwhile, observe how your team functions.
Tip: Use the small breaks to realign your thoughts. You can easily avoid the anxiety by using this ‘me-time’ to calm your nerves.
10. Study onboarding materials
You might spend an entire day or a week to complete your onboarding process. Ensure you set aside time during the day to study the policies pertaining to the company rules and your KRAs. Besides, if you have any questions regarding the policies, this is the time to ask.
Tip: If you haven’t yet signed your contract, review the same and attend all training sessions outlined in your book.
11. Identify your goals
Set aside some time for a discussion with the manager about your role. Your manager can help you identify your KRAs and guide you through the process of achieving these. This will help you understand and plan your work accordingly. It also shows you are eager to begin working and challenge your limits.
Tip: You can even discuss if an update of skills is required. Many companies offer assistance for courses to help you bring new things to the table.
12. Adapt to the company culture
Your last workplace might have had an open culture. But, you need to listen and observe before settling in comfortably right on your first day.
Loud conversations at your desk, having personal conversations loudly over the phone, making personal remarks on others – all this is a strict no-no. Your colleagues are yet to know you. Give some time to build the rapport.
Tip: Keep your head down for the first couple of weeks and treat everyone with respect. Understand the social landscape.
13. Avoid trying too hard
Okay, we know you are eager to jump into your dream job and are waiting to make a mark. But, it’s only your first day at work! It is fine to feel the enthusiasm. However, there’s no need to impress your colleagues right away. You might end up creating a wrong impression if you pitch how good you are at this profile or brag about your past laurels.
Tip: Observe, make connections, and let it build up naturally with your team.
14. Befriend at least one person
While engaging with all your colleagues is necessary, it is good to connect with at least one team member who will quickly help you to learn the ropes. A new role can be stressful. So, befriend one approachable person to set the ball rolling right from day one.
Tip: Do mention you are also available to offer help in areas of your expertise.
15. Put your phone on silent mode
Need we say more? With meetings lined up and introductions happening all around, a buzzing phone is very annoying indeed. Reply to incoming messages and calls during your break time.
Tip: Observe the rules. Avoid jarring ringtones.
16. Stay calm and composed
We feel nervous, stressed, excited, and experience different emotions when a big change happens in life. Your first day at work need not be about showing your skills on day one. You need to control those jitters, calm down, and take small steps to enjoy the day. You might find yourself in new situations you cannot handle. You might even have a super successful day. It is not in your control, so why worry?
Tip: Sit for 10 minutes in silence before you leave for work. If possible, begin your day with 10-20 minutes of stretching and exercise. Now that you have not one but 16 tips to start your first day at work on a fantastic note, we are sure you’ll have a great run with your new firm.