How to survive your first day in a new job

Starting a new job can be a very nerve-wracking experience. Here are Stafffinders’ tips on how to excel on your first day

From deciding what is the most appropriate outfit to wear, to meeting unfamiliar faces and trying to get the hang of ‘how things are done around here’, all whilst trying to make a good initial impression on your boss and fellow co-workers, your first day at a new job can be extremely daunting. 

To ensure that you are successful on your first day in your new job, you must present yourself in the best possible light from the moment you walk through the door. By following these tips provided by Stafffinders, not only will you survive your first day, but you will also get off on the right foot and thrive.

Tips on how to excel on your first day in a new job

1. Have a positive attitude:

A key way to ensure a successful first day is to adopt a positive attitude and to be enthusiastic. Congratulations, you got the job! You should be proud of yourself. Now you can enjoy your time settling into your new and exciting opportunity. Show your enthusiasm to join the team and demonstrate to your boss and co-workers that you are excited to begin your new role.

2. Arrive early and leave late:

To make a good first impression, you should arrive to work at least 15 minutes early and leave the workplace a little later than you’re expected to. 

There is nothing that can harm your reputation faster than coming into work late. Ensuring that you arrive early communicates to your boss that you are eager to begin work and you may be perceived more favourably.
Arriving early is essential because you’re travelling to a place that you most likely don’t know that well, during rush hour and you may also spend a good amount of time locating a parking space. It is a good idea to practice the commute during rush hour prior to your first day.

On the other hand, leaving work late shows your boss and colleagues that you are hardworking and committed – you’re not just there to collect a pay cheque.

3. Dress appropriately

Your appearance is key as it translates to your performance. Projecting a professional image can not only reinforce your skills to your fellow co-workers and boss, however, if you dress in a similar fashion to your colleagues, you can fit in better and feel more comfortable in your surroundings

It is essential that you determine your workplace dress code prior to your first day. Dressing in a manner that reflects the culture of the company demonstrates that you are a team player and are conscious about presenting the company to clients in a positive light. However, if you do not dress appropriately, you may not fit in and you can send the wrong message to your employer.

Here are examples of different types of companies who have different dress codes.

  • Business consultancies tend to require that their employees wear traditional business attire (formal clothes) to present the company as trustworthy and professional to clients.

  • Graphic design companies may promote a casual work dress code in order to encourage creativity within the workplace.

If in doubt about your workplace dress code, you should contact the HR team. Alternatively, you can observe how members of staff dress when at your interview.

4. Be professional:

Not only should you look professional, you must also act in a professional manner. You should never use your mobile phone to make personal calls during working hours. It is highly unprofessional and gives a bad initial impression to your fellow co-workers and employer as it seems you are disinterested and would rather be elsewhere. Put your phone on silent to ensure it doesn’t disrupt you or others from their work.

You should also read about your employer’s social media policy as some companies do not mind their staff accessing social media whilst in the workplace whereas others have a strict policy against it. It may be necessary, however, to access social media for work purposes.

5. Take notes:

Come prepared with a notepad and pens so that you can take notes and learn the ropes of your new workplace. You should take notes on the rules, systems and goals of the organisation. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions! Asking questions demonstrates your interest and desire to learn and therefore gives a good initial impression to your co-workers and boss. Moreover, writing down notes allows you to learn things quickly which will be more effective for when you properly start your job.

6. Engage with co-workers:

A room full of new faces staring at you as you enter the office can be rather intimidating. You’re suddenly in an unfamiliar environment and you’re unsure of yourself. One of the best ways to combat first-day nerves and to settle into your new workplace is by getting to know your colleagues. 

Be confident and introduce yourself to everyone. Ask about their role within the company and be courteous and friendly. You should also try to remember their names and if you forget, politely apologise and ask them again. One of the best opportunities to interact with your co-workers is lunchtime. Join them in the staff room and chat to them whilst showing them that you are approachable and friendly.

7. Get involved:

Another great way in which you can fit into your new workplace environment is by participating in after work activities with your colleagues. Your co-workers may be involved in charity fundraising teams or sports clubs such as running or cycling. By participating in these after work events, not only will you feel a part of your company and have the opportunity to get to know your colleagues on a personal level, however, if you are involved in fundraising for charities, you can also contribute to the greater good of society or, if in the case you join a work sports club, you can keep fit and stay healthy.

By following the above tips, you can rest assured that you will have a successful first day. Nevertheless, you must also be aware that it will take at least a few weeks until you feel fully settled within your new job. You should not, therefore, feel discouraged in any way. Likewise, you should expect to be tired on your first day as you will be overwhelmed with lots of new information and names of co-workers. This only means that you are likely to sleep well that night. The most important thing to remember is to be positive about your new opportunity and definitely don’t book holidays on day one!

For more employment tips and tricks, please get in touch with one of our expert consultants, or if you’re looking for a new role, please have a look at Stafffinders’ current opportunities.