What To Do on Your First Day

Publié le 13 February 2020 Par

You’ve written the perfect cover letter, revised your resume, nailed the job interview and with one phone call you receive the news you’ve been waiting for: you’ve been offered a new job. It is an incredibly exciting moment, until you realize that there is one more hurdle you must clear on your path to career success: what should you do on your first day?

The first day of a new job can make anyone feel anxious. A new workplace is an unknown entity, with dynamics, processes and coffee schedules that you will have to learn.

With just a few simple tips such as arriving early, following the dress code, asking questions, having the right mindset, being personable and willing to learn, you can make a great first impression on your new coworkers and quickly fit in at the workplace.

Be On Time Early

There is no quicker way to create a bad impression on your first day of work than to arrive late. You are being paid to show up on time and ready to work, and lateness immediately displays a lack of care and respect. There can be unexpected issues that could contribute to lateness, such as traffic jams, public transit problems or confusing directions. This is why you should aim to arrive at work at least 10 minutes early on your first day.

Arriving early will give you the chance to locate the office, adjust to your surroundings and begin to feel comfortable in your new work environment. With one in five workers arriving late to work at least once a week, getting to the office early and continuing this habit of punctuality will have the added benefit of helping you stand out for positive behaviour.

Dress Up for the Job

While it is not expected of you to arrive wearing a bespoke three-piece suit, the old adage of “dress-for-success” still pertains to the office. Even with the rise of business casual environments, there is still a certain manner of dress that projects a professional image. It certainly doesn’t hurt to wear slightly more formal attire, instead of a bright screen printed t-shirt. 

If your job interview is held in the company office, this presents a great opportunity to scope out the dress code and plan accordingly. It also is entirely appropriate to simply ask your recruiter or human resource manager if there is an official office dress code. Your outfit should project confidence and respect for the office, while allowing you to remain comfortable throughout the work day. 

Ask Questions

One of the most serious issues facing business and companies of all sizes is employee engagement. A 2017 Gallup poll found that an astonishing 87% of employees report not being engaged in their jobs. It has been proven that engaged employees are happier and more productive at work, and as a result HR managers and recruiters have begun to search for candidates who display this trait early on.

A simple way to demonstrate your engagement on your first day is by asking questions. This displays your eagerness to understand your new job, comprehend its place in the workflow and recognize the overall company culture. If you remain mostly silent and accept instruction with no extra thought, it could be interpreted as a lack of excitement and engagement in your new role.

Take Notes

When wondering what to do on your first day, don’t underestimate the importance of tasking notes. The on-boarding process and learning curve for a new position can be very intense. There is such a large amount of data, instructions, workflows, procedures and processes to be learned and absorbed that it is impossible to retain it all right away. It is a great idea to take notes throughout your job training and on-boarding sessions as you adjust to your role. This will provide you with an excellent set of resource materials that will put you in the best position to excel at your new job, and it is another way to demonstrate your level of engagement to your HR manager.

Be Personable

On your first day in a new workplace, you can expect to meet dozens of new coworkers. These people will be your colleagues and friends for potentially years to come, and it helps to start building strong interpersonal relationships from the very beginning. When meeting your new coworkers, being personable will only assist you during this transition. Shake hands, introduce yourself, make an effort to remember their names, and display open body language and a positive attitude. 

While performing your role to the best of your ability is obviously essential, learning to function as part of strong workplace team is also a vital component of your overall success. You will spend an enormous amount of time with your coworkers and workplace team members, and it is beneficial to establish a warm and open tone as soon as possible.

Go To Lunch

It may seem strange, but one of the best things to do on your first day is leave the office. In many offices, there is an unofficial tradition of HR managers or team leaders treating new employees to lunch on their first day. You should always be open to such an offer, as it is a simple way to establish a rapport with your new coworkers. While it can be somewhat intimidating to join an existing workplace team, you must remember that they are feeling a level of anxiousness as well. 

It is also in their best interest to establish a strong interpersonal relationship and make any new employee feel welcomed, which can be accomplished through the first day lunch. The sooner a new employee feels like part of the workplace team, the sooner they will be an asset to the company.

Expect Mistakes

Nobody has the perfect first day. There will be errors and mistakes throughout the job training and on-boarding process. It would be counterproductive and ineffectual to place unreasonable expectations of perfection on yourself. What you should not do on your first day is try to be perfect. Your new employers certainly do not expect you to get everything right the first time you attempt it.

A much better technique is to approach the job training and on-boarding process with a growth mindset. This is an attitude which recognizes that mistakes and failures are important steps to future success. There will be many processes which will be completely unfamiliar to you when starting a new position, and you will learn much more quickly if you attempt them, make a mistake, and correct it with the proper guidance.

The first day of a new job is made up of equal parts excitement and anxiety. It presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities, and approaching it the correct way will put you on the path to success. When you are wondering what to do on your first day, remember that being punctual, professional, curious, friendly and growth-minded will make a good first impression on your coworkers. Your successful career starts with the first day, so make it count.

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