26 tips for a great first day on the job
The first day at a new job can be tough; and you almost don’t get a second chance at a first impression, so you want to get it right. Whether you’re starting your new job fresh out of school, as an experienced professional, or even a senior executive – you’re bound to have a mixture of excitement and nerves. To help, we’ve put together some tips that you can keep in mind for your first day on the job; and perhaps for the coming weeks.
1. Dress to impress
It’s your first day on the job, so naturally you want to feel comfortable and confident. Finding out about the dress code before you start is always a good idea; you don’t want to be decked out with a designer suit when you’re going to be joining a more laid back, jeans and t-shirt type of environment. If you feel awkward to ask during the interview, ask your recruiter or the HR of the company when they give you your offer letter.
2. Don’t be late!
Plan your journey! It’s not going to give off the best first impression if you turn up ten minutes late on your first day. In fact, you might want to report slightly earlier by ten to fifteen minutes. It’s also probably a good idea to set off a little earlier than usual if you’re not overly familiar with the area in case you run into unexpected traffic issues. You might even want to try and get a coffee beforehand, so you have ample time to relax, prepare yourself, and ensure there’s zero risks of turning up late.
3. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to people
This will definitely help you in the long run. You want to get yourself in front of the right people – whether they are in your team, people you need to work with, your subordinates if any or even your bosses. The earlier you do this, the easier it gets. When time passes, it gets awkward if you don’t even know the name of your colleague who walks by in the corridor and may be too late for an introduction then. Remember, you want to get to know more people so that you can get comfortable at your new job. It’ll be easier on you as well when you need to seek the help of others.
4. Spend some time getting to know your team
Don’t be overly eager to throw yourself into projects without getting to know the team you’ll be working with. It is really important to make an effort in building a relationship with your team members. Go out for lunch or drinks; make it a point to talk about things other than work. Healthy personal relationships will aid strong professional relationships and make you feel much more comfortable. Afterall, you’ll be working with them on a daily basis and they will be essential to your success and enjoyment of this new job.
Use this opportunity to find out how your team prefers to communicate as well. Some people prefer to chat things out in person, while others prefer questions to be logged via email so they can keep on top of requests. Identifying the best channels for communication means that you’re instantly adhering to your team’s processes and allows you to communicate in a way that’s most effective for you and your colleagues.
5. Define clear objectives with your manager
It’s important to know what and how you’re being measured from the get-go. Make sure you outline clear objectives, so you know what you’re working towards. Having clear goals are essential to your success. It’s also not a bad idea to be aware of the most relevant projects at the moment, and the projects you will need to be involved in. There will be a lot to take in on your first day on the job but it’s always useful to get an idea of what’s happening from the outset.
You might also want to ask about five to ten things that they would like you to achieve in the first couple of weeks. In this way, you can also instantly start managing your workload and manage expectations of your manager, your tam and yourself.
Lastly, you want to sit down with your manager to find out how your performance will be measured. Is there a specific performance management programme, or key objectives to be set, etc? Every organisation is different so you want to make sure you know what you’re working towards.
6. Make a note of as many names as possible
Unless you have incredibly impressive memory skills, you’re not going to remember everyone’s name right away. However, it’s maybe a good idea to quickly note down the names of key people you’re going to be working with; you don’t want to land yourself in the embarrassing situation of calling your new boss by the wrong name for a whole week.
This will also be a good opportunity to find out who are the key stakeholders in the business that you need to know and make contact with. For example, you could be in a global company and have to liaise with people all over the world, or might just need to chat with two other members in your office. Regardless of your situation, find out who you’ll be communicating with on a regular basis and take the initiative to set up a call or meeting to introduce yourself. This gives you a great head-start and demonstrates a proactive first impression.
7. Soak in as much information as possible
You’ve got a lot to learn about on your first day; what the internal processes are, how your team communicates, and of course finding out where the nearest coffee shop is. It’s a good idea to try and soak in as much as you can about the company and their wider goals from the outset. But be easy on yourself too.
8. Say yes to as many opportunities as possible
A new job will always throw up a mix of new opportunities – anything from volunteering initiatives to social committees. This is a great idea to get involved as much as you possibly can. Even if you think a certain initiative might not be right for you, or that you’ve simply not done anything like this before – this will be a great time to get involved. You’re starting a new job and this is a great time to embrace new opportunities like never before. This also demonstrates enthusiasm, how you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty and offers a new channel for you to meet a wider network of colleagues. Even if you work for a start-up, you might not get the opportunity to work with your other colleagues so this might be it!
9. Go to as many meetings as you can
Meetings can sometimes seem like a waste of time. But in the early days of your new job, especially your first day on the job, nothing is more beneficial than soaking in as much information about the company as possible through the meetings you attend. The more meetings you attend, the more you know how your role sits within the company, and the better you’ll be at your job and add an even greater value. This is also another great way for meeting as many people as you can within the organisation.
10. Ask questions
If you can’t wrap your head around something, ask someone! Don’t spend time fretting over something you have no answers for. It may be easy to shy away from asking questions for fear of hassling your colleagues or even asking a seemingly stupid question but remember that you’re part of a team. You’re in the early stages of your job and are perfectly within your right to ask for help when you need it. Don’t be afraid to ask!
11. Set achievable short term goals
Before you get bogged down in your day-to-day tasks, it’s important to set some time aside to think about key things you would like to achieve. Set some achievable short-term goals but also have some long-term objectives at the back of your mind. This will also offer a sense of achievement early in your new job as you strike off your tasks.
But don’t forget to have a think about what’s important for your personal career aspirations for the long-term too. Where do you see yourself in six months’ time? How can you benefit the team?
12. Get feedback early on
Finding out from your manager on how you’re performing could really help you. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask them how you may be doing. Getting some positive feedback can be a boost to your performance which can result in an improved performance whilst constructive feedback can help you identify areas for improvement and rectify any issues in the early stages. You also want to make sure you’re doing it right, especially when you’re in a new working environment.
13. Organise your inbox
You might start with a relatively empty inbox first day on the job but as we all know, it won’t be long before all sorts of communication start to flood your inbox. Especially in today’s working environment which consists of work from home and remote working, emails tend to build up really quickly. A tidy and organised inbox will help you prioritise what’s important, and filter between announcements and requests. You will appreciate this when you start to get bogged down by work.
14. Find a way to solve a problem within your team
If you’re instantly solving problems, then you’re adding value immediately – and this is one of the best first impressions you can have. The interest to understand what the challenges are and finding a solution is a great way to get off to a good start with your team and your managers. Even if the problem is not eventually resolved, your ability to think of a solution will allow them to see how enthusiastic and proactive you are.
15. Take notes
Whether it’s your first day on the job or first month on the job, there will be things that might slip through your mind. Always remember to take notes so that you can refer back to them when needed. It’ll also be handy for you to jot down important information so you don’t forget or end up asking the same question multiple times.
16. Connect with them on LinkedIn
This is a great way to connect and remember those whom you’ve met and introduced yourself. Likewise, it’s a great way for them to remember you too. You can also use this as a platform to find out more about them – their experience, volunteering experience and what-nots.
We wish you all the best for the first day on your new job which is an exciting journey to take. And below are some final tips for you to help you prepare yourself mentally before starting a new job.
- Celebrate! – A new job is the perfect excuse to treat yourself to a meal at your favourite restaurant. Maybe even a chance to take a trip if you could!
- Relax – It could be a while before you get to do some guilt-free Netflix binging. You should even use this opportunity to catch up with your friends!
- Organise your diary – You don’t want to go for a wisdom tooth extraction three days into your new job.
- Update your LinkedIn – This could be the first impression your new colleagues have of you; how’s that profile picture looking?
- Lock down your social media – Do you really want your new colleagues to find those snaps of you from last year’s office Christmas party?
- Get a haircut – You want to feel confident on your first day, and first impressions count!
- Prepare some interesting facts – Everyone’s going to want to know about the office newbie, make sure to have an impressive story or two ready which you can even share during your one-on-one introductions.
- Keep your old colleague’s contact details – Your network is important. You never know when these may come in handy.
- Keep in contact with your new boss – It’s good to get in touch and establish strong lines of communication now. This might also be a good chance to research more on the company.
- Use the time to reflect – Go in with a clear head and really think about what you want to achieve professional and on a personal level.
If you have any further concerns about your new job, reach out to us with the form below. You may also follow us on LinkedIn to check out some of the other content we produce – including tips to creating an effective LinkedIn profile, market trends and more.