Aug 28th 2019 2:08pm
What to do when starting a new job, and how preparation can help you handle first day nerves. Here are five tips to make sure that you get off to a great start.
Just like your job interview, the impression you give and the impact you make on your first day can depend very much on how much preparation you’ve done. Make sure you’ve taken enough time to understand the job responsibilities (as far as you’ve been told), research the company again and get a broad understanding of the company culture.
Preparation will help you start smoothly on your first day at work, but it will also provide a better understanding of the challenges that you will be facing.
Make sure you bring the appropriate right to work information that is required – this could be documents such as your passport, P45 and national insurance details; it is worth checking beforehand if this is necessary. It’s also handy to bring a folder to keep paper you’re given, which might involve a contract and new starter documents. Finally, make sure you get a good night’s sleep – it’ll keep you alert and focused for what you need to do on your first day.
Be punctual and presentable (first impressions)
Just like your job interview, you should make sure you should take some time to consider what is appropriate for you to wear, unless you’re 100% sure about what’s suitable, for example if you are required to wear a uniform or bring your own PPE. Once you spend a few days at a new job however, you’ll better understand what kind of clothes people wear, but it shouldn’t hurt to give the impression you’ve made the effort.
Often on the first day, you’re asked to arrive a little later to give your team time to prepare. But whatever the situation, it’s wise to leave around half an hour earlier than you would to get to work on time. This is so you can spend a bit of time adjusting to the area, and leave time for traffic or for any unexpected delays.
Be organised and proactive
It’s unlikely that you’ll be asked to get stuck in to projects immediately (although that’s not to say it isn’t a possibility). If you do have some time to spare, spend it getting adjusted, organised and understanding your place of work – coffee machines, toilets, fire exits etc…
Work-wise, this is a fresh start, so make sure you begin as you mean to go on. This means doing some thinking around time management and making sure that you understand where you should improve and what you’ve been weak on in the past. Take lots of notes – understand how things work so you don’t need to ask again so often. You might also have time to organise and prioritise any work responsibilities that are made clear to you.
Be proactive and build momentum if you can. This means asking questions, putting yourself forward for tasks and responsibilities, and getting your feet wet without finding yourself overwhelmed. Becoming a self-starter is a great way to make a good first impression – people will appreciate your help and your efforts. If you can show leadership or initiative on your first day, it’s a huge positive and a marker for the future.
Your manager or a colleague may show you around and introduce you to your team, but that doesn’t always happen. Either way, it’s best to be proactive, and make a special effort to introduce yourself to as many people are feel comfortable with, with a focus on remembering names if possible or as many as you can for day two.
Understand the culture
Walk around and get yourself familiar with the people you’ll be spending most of your days with. For many companies, cultural fit is hugely important. Your own long-term success, as well as the company, depends on how the team works.