Congratulations on your new job! Chances are you are feeling a mixture of nervousness and excitement, which is completely normal. The idea is to capitalize on excitement while minimizing nervousness.
The key to a great first day is planning and preparation. Tackling a few items before the big day goes a long way towards a successful day.
Selecting the right outfit, coming up with a list of questions and doing your homework might seem basic, but if you don’t nail them, it could get your day off on the wrong foot. When you show up prepared to give your best on day one, you’ll look polished and ready to jump right in and contribute. Keep reading for more information on how to leave the anxiety behind and start the next chapter of your life with a bang.
You know the drill, first-day small talk always includes questions about who you are, where you’re from, what projects you last worked on, etc. The last thing you want is to stand there dumbfounded when questioned. You’ll sound clueless, and it will not make a good first impression. Put your best foot forward and come up with a quick elevator pitch that covers some of the basics on things you will likely be asked. Practice it until you know it like the back of your hand.
As tempting as it may be, it is a good idea to skip the mall and instead opt for something you already have in your closet for your first-day outfit. Your first day will be filled with new people in a very unfamiliar environment. The last thing you want is to spend the whole day tugging at a new skirt or constantly shifting in a new pair of pants that don’t yet fit quite right. Not only will it make you seem nervous it can make you look unprofessional. Put your best foot forward and stick with an outfit where you can put your best foot forward.
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It is likely that you have mastered every shortcut and alternate route possible for your last job. Do yourself a favor and plan at least one or two routes to work before your first day. You may even want to do a test run during rush hour traffic to test things out and to get your timing right. Getting caught in traffic is not a good excuse for being late your first day. It makes a bad impression and could leave you feeling rushed and flustered for the remainder of the day. Avoid the embarrassment by planning your route so that you make it there at least 30 minutes early your first day.
Make the most of your first day and show up with a list of questions to get yourself up to speed quickly. Although you may not be expected to make much of a contribution the first few days, show that you are interested in getting engaged early. Show up with a list of questions about the company, your new role, projects the team is working on, etc. Observe and ask your questions throughout the day. One question is likely to lead to the other, and by the end of the day, you will have amassed a ton of information while making a great first impression.
If your manager or HR department gave you documents to fill out, make sure you complete them early and have them ready to hand in when you show up. Chances are, your manager will have a full day planned for you. You don’t want to waste the first half of your day working on paperwork that you should have completed early. Not only does it put you behind, but it could make you seem like a person who doesn’t value timelines and rushes at the last minute. Take care of the paperwork early so you can get engaged early and make the most of day one.
This may seem elementary, but you want to make sure you have everything you need to have a great first day. And packing it the night before can keep you from rushing around in the morning at the risk of being late your first day. Save yourself a headache and pack all the essentials including pens, paper, bottled water, your meds and a few snacks.
This one can be particularly hard if you have a family and children that you need to keep in contact with through the day. However, you will need to figure out a way to balance this with being fully engaged and available the first day. Your new boss may start to get worried that you’ll be the problem employee plagued with family emergencies. Don’t make them regret hiring you by doing your best to minimize distractions throughout the day.
Make it a point to give yourself some breathing room between jobs. It will give you time to put the past behind you and prepare yourself for the next chapter. You’ll do yourself no good if you show up on your first day tired and overwhelmed with stress from your last job. No matter how hard you try to hide it, chances are, it will show. Spend some quality time with family, go on a vacation or take a few days to yourself. That way you’ll start your new job refreshed and full of the energy needed to hit the ground running.
Should you report to your new manager, HR or orientation first? What time should you arrive? Where should you park? What documentation do you need to bring? Each company is different, so be sure to ask before the big day. Asking for this information beforehand shows initiative. It shows that you care about your success at this new company and that you are willing to do what it takes to succeed from day one.
You will be introduced to so many people on day one that it will be hard to keep track of it all. Of course, you won’t remember everyone, but you should do all you can to remember names of a few key people. Besides your manager, you need to remember the names of everyone on your direct team. Chances are, they are going out of their way to make you feel welcome. Return the favor and show them you care by making it a point to remember everyone’s name early.
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