How to absolutely nail your first day at a new job

So, you just went through the rigours of searching for jobs online, sending out dozens of applications, attending interviews and even a few Skype calls, and finally, you’ve landed a job!

Whether this is your first job out of school or college, or perhaps you simply want to switch gears and start fresh somewhere, the tips for nailing your first day at a new workplace will be the same.

Start the day off on your terms

You’ll understandably be a bit nervous before your first day, but it’s important that the day begins as normally as possible.

If you like to like to listen to some music while doing yoga, then catching up on the news while you eat your breakfast and drink a tea or coffee, then don’t break that routine! Help your body and mind stick to the same rhythm as usual, as you don’t want to get to the workplace too frazzled, hungry, or sleepy than normal.

Dress appropriately

While some people will say that it’s always better to overdress than underdress, you can still feel a bit silly when everyone else is in jeans and t-shirt and you’re rocking a crisp Armani business suit.

Ask the HR department if there’s a dress code, and if there isn’t one, then aim for business casual. After that, you’ll get a feel for how to dress based on your colleagues, and you can dress appropriately in the weeks that follow.

Arrive as early as possible (but not weirdly early)

Let’s just say that if the company asks you to arrive by 10:00am, get there at 9:45am. It makes a great first impression if you arrive a little earlier, but don’t go wild and get there at 8:30am. Most likely, they won’t have set up everything for you yet and you’ll only be twiddling your thumbs until the onboarding starts.

Many companies are using specialised software to get the onboarding process started, which means they’ll be sticking to a set schedule of introducing you to different people, including your team, manager, HR department, reception, IT department, and so on.

So you don’t need to arrive so early because the company has to wait for everyone to arrive.

Definitely say yes to a team lunch

A team lunch on your first day is very normal, so you certainly don’t want to say: “Sorry, I’ve already made plans for lunch with friends/my partner.”

Make sure your first lunch is spent with the people you’ll be working with. It’s a chance to get to know each other and talk about things outside of work. Whether it’s an offer to grab a meal at a local restaurant or a stroll outside, give that time to your team.

Loosen up

We often present the perfect versions of ourselves during the interview process, but now that you’ve got the job and will be getting to know your colleagues, try to relax and be yourself.

Talk about your interests and hobbies, as you might find that some team members are into similar things. It’s important to act professional, but don’t be so rigid that you’re more like a robot than a human!

Don’t feel like you need to learn everything

It’s your first day, so give yourself some leeway and don’t be too hard on yourself if not everything clicks right away.

Every company has its own systems and management techniques, so allow yourself some time to learn how it all works and be slow and steady. You’ll burn out physically and mentally if you try to understand in one day what your colleagues might have had years to grasp.

Don’t forget the good old pen and paper

Finally, it always helps to have a notebook and biro with you in case there’s anything to jot down over the course of the day.

You’ll probably hear millions of things – from working times to colleague names to how the coffee machine works – so it won’t hurt to write down as much as possible so that you remember things better.

Photo by Christin Hume