First Day at a New Job - What to Do
Whether you're a fresh faced graduate or a 30 year veteran of the workplace, one age old truth is you're probably in for a long and challenging first day of any new job.
In between being bombarded with new information, trying not to forget everyone's names and wondering where you're supposed to get lunch, you actually have to try and remember you're there to do a job and do it well. All while under pressure to impress and with the eyes of everyone in the office on you.
All workplaces will be a little different, some throwing you in at the deep end on day one while others allow for a more gradual transition with a nice comfortable induction process into the new role.
Regardless of where you're going to work however, there are a few general hints and tips you can apply to help you out before you step into the great unknown of a new job.
Preparing for the first day at work - what to do
Go over the job description again before you arrive
Once you've read through it, prepare some questions on areas you might still be unsure on. There's nothing worse than being asked to complete a task that you're not completely 100% sure on. Don't be afraid to ask.
Make sure you've got all your documents ready
Things like the signed contract, terms and conditions, passport and any other admin documents the HR team or your boss have asked for. It's not the end of the world if you forget but it looks a little unprofessional if you have to bring them in later in the week.
Make sure you confirm the dress code beforehand
The HR team will usually let you know what's expected in any welcome pack, but if you're unsure go ahead and ask.
Prepare answers to personal questions
You're going to meet a lot of people and be asked a lot of questions and you'll find you'll be repeating yourself many times on your first day. If you can prepare some answers on the common ones that come often come up you'll not be caught on the back foot on the day. Popular ones are the standard personal questions about where you're from, interests etc. but a lot might be about your old job and your exact role there.
Set off early
You might have gotten to the office no problem for your interview but rush hour can end your best intentions of getting there on time. You can do a few practice runs of your new commute to get the times down. And if you're really early on day one, go and relax in a coffee shop for a moment and mentally prep yourself.
What to do once in the office
Write everything down
From coworkers names and HR procedures to the team's current pain points and managers expectations. Document as much as you can. Not only does this mark you out as keen and attentive, chances are you'll be hit with so much information on day one you're going to forget the vast majority of it. So keep that notepad to hand.
Introduce yourself to everyone and not just your new team mates. Starting out with an eager and friendly attitude can really get you off to a good start. Remember, your new coworkers are probably just as interested in you as you are in them. Say yes to lunch and try to talk to as many people as possible.
Ask your manager what the current challenges are
Start showing from day one how can you help using your skills to try and mitigate these problems and demonstrate you're willing to get stuck in.
Never be afraid to ask questions
Everyone expects a new starter to have dozens of questions and very few people will judge you for it. Don't just limit questions to your role either, ask about the social landscape and office politics and how best to approach different people in the business. Asking early can prevent an embarrassing faux pas down the line.
Most importantly, relax
We know day one in a new workplace is going to be stressful. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, just stop, focus on the one task you're doing at that moment and don't be afraid to ask somebody for help.