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6 Tips for Surviving Your First Day at a New Job

Published: Feb 01, 2024

 Career Readiness       Changing Jobs       Job Search       Workplace Issues       
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Whether it’s an entry-level job, a job with a new company, or a career change, we all eventually face the challenges associated with taking on a new job. Those first few days can be tough since everything is so new and different from what you’re used to, and it’s important to realize you’re not alone. Today, we’re going to show you how to get through your first day smoothly and confidently. Let’s begin.

Get There Early

On your first day, give yourself plenty of extra time for your commute. It’s possible that you’ve already worked out a solid route while traveling to your interview, but if you haven’t, make a few practice runs during the week leading up to your first day. This will help you to better anticipate traffic patterns and high-volume areas, while ensuring that you’re familiar with the directions in advance.

Dress Appropriately

Before your first day of work, take a look at your new employer’s website and social media profiles. Does the dress code at work fall under business casual? Formal? Perhaps the dress code is more relaxed and you notice your new coworkers wearing jeans in company photos. Whichever the case may be, plan to dress accordingly. If you’re unsure, wear something similar to what you wore on your job interview—it would be better to show up overdressed than underdressed.

Prepare an Elevator Pitch

On you first day you’ll be meeting most if not all of your coworkers, including those that you’ll be working with on a day-to-day basis. Everyone is going to have questions for you, so why not get your answers all organized and ready to go? A short elevator pitch will ensure that you’re consistent with how you introduce yourself to your coworkers. Here’s an example to help you get started:

“I’m [Your Name], and I’m the new [Your Title] here. My background is in [briefly mention relevant experience/industry]. I’m happy to be a part of the team and I’m looking forward to working with you.”

When delivering an elevator pitch, be prepared to add some variation to it depending on who you’re talking to and what kinds of questions they ask. In any case, keep it short and simple, and make sure you show some enthusiasm in your pitch.

Go with the Flow

Depending on the employer, you could spend your first day filling out a bunch of new hire paperwork and shadowing someone from the team you’re going to be working with, or your boss could start you off on a series of trainings or actual assignments. Either way, be prepared to put your best foot forward on your first day, and don’t be afraid to take the initiative if the opportunity presents itself.

Ask Questions

If you conducted any research during the application and hiring process, then you’ve already gained a certain amount of knowledge about your new employer; however, you’ll still be in a new place and surrounded by all new people, which will inevitably lead to questions. Whether you’re looking for the supply closet or you’re unsure about how to start a new assignment, don’t be afraid to ask questions on your first day.

Remember, no one is expecting you to master the intricacies of a new job in a single day. By asking questions, you’ll demonstrate your eagerness to learn and your motivation to succeed. Your new boss will appreciate your drive, and you’ll make a great first impression. It’s worth mentioning that there’s no shame in taking notes either, so go ahead and jot things down if you think you’ll have a hard time remembering anything.

Don’t Turn Down a Lunch Invitation

On your first day, your coworkers or your boss might invite you to lunch. This is a great opportunity to get to know the people you’ll be working with in a more relaxed setting. During lunch, ask any questions you may have, and pay close attention to your coworkers. Do you share common interests with anyone? Is there a chatterbox in the group? Have fun, but avoid engaging in gossip or otherwise unsavory topics of discussion.

Most importantly, maintain a positive attitude throughout your first day. Think of everything as a learning process, keep an open mind, and remind yourself that the people around you understand how those first-day jitters feel. By making a good impression on your first day, you’ll set the stage for a rewarding and fulfilling journey with your new coworkers.

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