You’ve made it through the interview, you’ve impressed them all, and they’ve offered you the job.
It’s now 9am, you’re sitting in reception, waiting to start your new job; it might be your first job, it might be your dream job, it might just be a job to pay the rent until something better comes along. But no matter what type of job it is, you’re a nervous wreck!
I would know, I have been there many times.
Over the past two years in the UK I have had many first days as I’ve been temping and contracting whilst looking for something more permanent. I have sat in countless reception areas, in big companies, small companies, fancy companies, not-so-fancy companies, and no matter who you are, where you are, if you’re not nervous on your first day in a new job you’re a better person than I!
However, throughout my career I have learned a few tips and tricks to help get settled in on a first day in a new job. This isn’t a definitive list, of course, and it may not be a list that will help everyone, however I am sure many of these tips, if not at least one, will help you prepare for your big day!
This is the obvious one, however a lot of people start a new job without being prepared for what they’re about to walk into. The night before your first day, re-read your job description, see if you can find any information on your manager, and also familiarise yourself with the company as much as possible.
Prepare yourself mentally for your new role, and then head to bed early and get a good night’s sleep – but not before setting out your outfit for the next day.
Wear what You wore in your interview
They liked you in the interview and obviously what you wore was appropriate, so wear this outfit again for your first day – after all, you feel confident in it right? Right! It also means you don’t have the stress of worrying what to wear. It also means you have a day to scope out what everyone else in the office is wearing so you know what is or is not appropriate and can tailor your style appropriately.
Don’t try to remember everyone’s names
Obviously, remember the name of your manager and your team, but you will be introduced to so many people o your first day it’ll be impossible to remember them all! Instead, try to learn them one by one, depending on when you have a chance to interact with them. Also, check a seating plan to find out the name of that person sitting over there.
Bring your own tea
If you don’t drink normal tea or coffee, it’s best to bring your own on your first day (and a mug too!). Although most offices these days provide tea and coffee, not all provide decaf options, green tea, or hot chocolate. Some offices are also bring your own mug – so if you can’t exist without your morning cup of Milo, make sure to bring your own supplies, just in case.
Be prepared to be asked a lot of questions
This will vary from people asking where you were previously, where you live, where you’re from etc. People will want to get to know you, it’s only natural given human curiosity, so prepare yourself for lots of questions to be asked! If you’re not a people person, or are a bit shy, then avoid the tea room as this is where most of these conversations will take place. At the same time, if you want to make new friends – it’s the first place to start!
Ask a lot of questions and take notes
There is no such thing as a stupid question, and it’s better you ask the who, what, where, when, and how than to waste time. Everyone one understands your position and have been new starters themselves at one point, so they won’t judge you, or be upset, if you ask questions.
Also, take notes of everything you learn throughout the day, so you only have to ask the question once. You may have to ask for clarification later, but again, better to ask than to waste time.
Familiarise yourself with P&P
Policies and Procedures. Love them or hate them, they are there to protect you. I’ve discussed the importance of these before, and so it’s pretty important on your first day to familiarise yourself with as many as you can, especially those surrounding discrimination and sexual harassment. It sounds daunting, but these are the most important to know, especially if you are in a group that is regularly discriminated against. Also, internet usage policy is incredibly important; most companies have a reasonable use policy, but it’s best to look and be certain to cover yourself (and your Blog addiction!)
It’s your first day – no one will be expecting too much from you, and even if you have to hit the ground running, just relax, take your time, and enjoy your new role!
How do you beat first day jitters? Do you have any first day stories? Share in the comments!