The first day at a new job can be overwhelming. There are so many steps to take and so much work! Here, we’ll share some tips for your first week on the job in order to make the transition easier than you might think.
The “first day at new job checklist” is a list of things to do on your first day at a new job. The list includes tips for the week and also what you should be doing on your first day.
Several million students graduated from institutions around the nation this month.
If you’re one of them, and you’ve gotten your first “real” job by a mix of serendipity and bold action, congrats!
It’s perfectly understandable if you’re apprehensive about beginning this new job. It might be difficult to make the shift from student to professional. Your experience in college was well-structured, and the expectations were clear. More significantly, you were essentially accountable solely for yourself; if you chose to slack off, skip class, or phone in homework, you were only hurting yourself (and maybe your tuition-paying parents).
You now have a boss, a team of coworkers, and a whole organization depending on you and the job you perform on a daily basis. If you make a mistake or disappear, you place a burden on others and may have a detrimental impact on a company and the lives of those who work there.
You must consider your own future in addition to keeping an eye on others. The economy is still chugging along, and the employment market remains tight. If you’ve landed a decent job, you’re certainly eager to keep it and advance your career. Despite this, studies reveal that a quarter of new workers don’t last a year, and almost half are fired within 18 months. It’s no surprise that “twentysomethings who don’t feel worried and inadequate at work are generally overconfident or underemployed,” as psychologist Meg Jay puts it.
Despite the grim numbers, you’ll be OK if you keep a few things in mind. Beyond that, you may be an excellent employee who benefits not just the organization but also the individuals with whom you interact on a daily basis.
With this in mind, the initial impression you create at your new work is quite important and may help you set yourself up for future success. We provide the following recommendations and guidance to help you get started right away.
How to Have a Fantastic First Day at Work
A new job’s first day can be nerve-wracking. It’s like the first day of school all over again. You’re nervous about meeting new people, unsure about your ability to navigate, and hopeful that others will like you and that you’ll fit in. You don’t want to follow in the footsteps of Dwight Schrute.
Your new employer and coworkers won’t be able to assess your performance since you won’t be taking on major assignments straight away. Instead, as the authors of Effective Immediately, Emily Bennington and Skip Lineberg describe it, you’ll “be graded on certain very evident, fundamental metrics,” such as:
- Have you arrived on time?
- What do you have on?
- Do you exude self-assurance and charisma?
- Do you seem to be stressed out or up for a challenge?
- How effective are you at communicating?
- What personal belongings did you keep in your workspace?
Here’s how to be deliberate in how you present yourself, master this first set of fundamental requirements, and start your new employment on the right foot.
Do your homework. Before you go into your new office, you should conduct as much research as possible about your firm and how it functions. As we’ll discuss more below, there’s a lot you’ll “research” and learn in the following weeks, but before your first day, study all you can about the company and the important individuals who operate it. Look it up on the internet. This way, you won’t immediately put your foot in your mouth over anything. Examine previous corporate news releases or publications. Read over the whole webpage. Take a look at what they’re up to on social media. The quantity of information available about your new firm is likely to be more than you anticipated. Get to work!
The night before, lay out everything you’ll need. Making your morning routine and departure as seamless as possible the night before is the last thing you want to do on your first day on the job. Check to see whether your shirt is pressed and your shoes are shining. Lay out your clothes (this is simple if you have a “silent valet”!). Set two alarm clocks, not only for the sake of convenience, but because knowing they’re both on can help you sleep better.
Brush up on your politeness in the workplace. Business etiquette differs from social etiquette in certain ways, so if you’ve only ever worked in food service or as a lifeguard, you’ll want to brush up on how to be a gentleman at work and avoid rubbing people the wrong way. Here’s a quick reference guide.
A word on mobile phone etiquette: Most businesses now allow cell phone usage, and many people depend on it. Keep it in your pocket and off on your first day. Mom, Grandma, and your favorite gal will most likely text or contact you to wish you luck. You don’t want an unexpected ringing or vibrating to interrupt a crucial training session. It will become more acceptable to peek at your phone or have it on your desk as time goes on, but when you first start, keep it hidden away.
Put on a successful outfit. When you initially meet your coworkers, they won’t have much information to go on, so they’ll look to what you’re wearing for hints to your personality (don’t criticize them; you do it too). That is why what you wear plays such an important role in your initial impression. You don’t want to dress too casually or too formally, since this would make you stick out. If you saw your coworkers while you were being interviewed, you’ll have a good idea of what the standard is. If you don’t know what to dress, contact your boss or HR representative a few days ahead of time and ask what they generally wear. Then go for an ensemble that’s just a notch above the others.
If you’re unsure what to wear since the business dress code is somewhere between casual and formal, there are few outfits more adaptable and dependable than a blazer, dress shirt, and tie. You’ll blend in well if everyone is dressed more professionally. If you want a more casual look, just remove your tie and jacket and roll up your sleeves.
Arrive at least 10 minutes early. You don’t want to be late on your first day, so be on time. If you’ll be utilizing public transit, it’s a good idea to complete a “dry run” of your journey a week before your start date. That way, you’ll have a better idea of where you’re heading and how long it will take you to get there. Make sure to perform your practice run at the same time you’ll be leaving for your first day of work to ensure that traffic conditions are replicated.
Because unexpected obstacles to getting to work on your first day may arise, try to arrive 10-15 minutes early. You’ll have a built-in cushion if you’re late; you don’t want to walk in pumped up after driving like a lunatic in a frantic race against the clock. If you arrive early, just spend a few moments to gather your thoughts in your vehicle or in the toilet before proceeding to your prospective boss’s office.
Maintain a confident demeanor. You’ll most likely feel apprehensive, but attempt to project a calm and confident demeanor. Consider how you gained this job in a competitive work market; you have what it takes to succeed if you apply yourself and have a lot to give. Even if we don’t feel a particular way, we know that if we behave that way, our brains will eventually catch up with our actions; therefore act calm and collected, and you’ll soon feel that way as well.
Introduce yourself on your own initiative. Even if your supervisor or boss takes you around to meet your new coworkers, they are unlikely to introduce you to everyone. As a result, take the initiative to meet new people. Don’t blame your coworkers; keep in mind that you’re entering their area, not the other way around. One of the keys to success in your new job will be networking with others, establishing trust with coworkers, and learning how to work as a team – and this begins on the first day.
It’ll never be simpler to introduce oneself than it is now, since you already have an opening line: “Hello, my name is ____, the new____.” You don’t have to have a lengthy or in-depth discussion with your coworkers; they undoubtedly have enough on their plates. However, inquire as to what they do in their position and how long they’ve been there. Use the items on display in their office/cubicle as conversation starters: “Are they your kids?” “Are you a die-hard Bruins supporter?”
As a result, expect them to inquire about your major, your graduation year, and your hometown. Remember, a good small talk artist throws up nuggets of information that their conversational partner can easily riff on, so come up with brief yet memorable replies to these queries.
Your new coworkers will almost certainly inquire as to what you’ll be doing in your new position. If you’re not sure what you’ll be working on, Bennington and Lineberg suggest smiling and stating, “I’m not sure precisely what I’ll be working on yet, but I’m excited to get started.”
Make a mental note of everything. People are going to pour a lot of information on you right away, from lots of new names to where particular files are placed. And it’ll come in a frantic, stream-of-consciousness style that isn’t necessarily well-organized or simple to follow; a coworker will add fresh nuggets every time they see anything that reminds them of something to tell you. So have a small notepad with you at all times and take extensive notes. These notes will come in handy later and will reduce the number of questions you have to ask (not that questions are bad – see below – but the less you can interrupt people, the better). Make a mental note of the names and roles you’ll be playing, and study them. It’s a great method to establish rapport if you can memorize people’s names straight away.
How to Make the Most of the First Week
Inquire as much as possible. People will typically encourage, or at the very least be very patient with you asking as many questions as you want during your first few of weeks on the job. After that period of time, their patience will begin to wane as they expect you to have everything under control. So take advantage of this no-holds-barred opportunity. When you’re unsure about anything, ask, and then write down the response in your notebook.
Your inquiries, on the other hand, shouldn’t only be a “defensive” technique for when you’re stuck; they should also be a proactive means of getting to know your coworkers, supervisor, and the firm and organization for which you currently work. There’s a lot you don’t know when you first start a new job, from office dynamics to business procedures, and you don’t realize it. After a few months have passed, you might reflect on how little you knew about what goes on “below the surface.” So, from the first day, learn all you can about everything.
Your Boss/Questions Supervisor’s
It’s a good idea to acquire a sense of your boss’s management style right away. It’s also critical to be as explicit as possible about your jobs, responsibilities, and tasks. So, ask your boss questions like:
- Do you prefer face-to-face meetings, email, or voicemail for updates?
- Do you prefer regular check-ins or folks who work mostly on their own?
- What am I responsible for?
- What are the varying degrees of importance for those various tasks?
- What criteria do you use to determine whether or not you were successful in completing those tasks?
- What role do my obligations play in the company?
- What are the obligations of my coworkers and how do they connect to mine?
Do You Have Any Questions for Your Coworkers?
Your coworkers may be happy to have you on board, but at least some of them may be apprehensive of you, worried that you’ll break the good vibes and balance they’ve established, or that you’ll overshadow them. So you want to establish rapport and trust by asking questions that demonstrate genuine interest in how they work and a want to give value to the team:
- Tell me about your work experience on X project.
- In the past, how did you deal with Y problem?
- What have you found to be effective in dealing with a B scenario like this?
- What are the areas where my obligations and yours intersect? What are some of your favorite projects to work on, and where may we collaborate?
- What characteristics do you look for in a coworker?
- What can I or my department do to help you in your efforts?
Listen, look around, and do some research. Your education should not be restricted to the inquiries you pose to your boss and coworkers. To acquire a hold on the overall picture of the organization you work for, you should be continually monitoring, keeping your ear to the ground, and studying it. The more you know about the firm, the better job you’ll be able to perform in your position and the more value you’ll be able to provide. The writers of Sink or Swim propose that you look up the answers to the following questions:
- What do you offer, how do you market it, and what goes into making your company’s goods and services?
- Who are your rivals? What are they doing to get an advantage?
- What are you doing to keep ahead of the competition at your company?
- What are the current and historical trends in the industry?
- What is the company’s history? What has changed in their offers over time, and what factors prompted this shift in focus?
- What is the company’s new path, and why is it taking it? What’s being phased in and what’s being phased out?
- What are the important players in the hierarchy, and what are their responsibilities?
Maintaining your knowledge on all of these topics is something you should do during your stay with the organization.
Make your room seem nice. Adding a few personal items to your cubicle/office not only adds character to the area and makes it seem cozier, but it also offers your coworkers a jumping off point to start a discussion with you, just like you did with their knickknacks. Keep it nice and suitable by using images and decorations that represent your interests and hobbies.
Make a calendar. Now is the moment to start organizing your time if you didn’t do so in college. Make use of a calendar, whether it’s on paper or online. Make a schedule of all of your training sessions, phone calls, and meetings. Make a list of project deadlines and divide them down into milestones you wish to achieve along the road.
At least three times a day, study your calendar: first thing in the morning to see what’s on the agenda for the day, immediately before lunch to see what’s on the agenda for the afternoon, and before you go home to plant the following day’s schedule in your brain. Your department and/or supervisor may also have shared calendars. Make sure to go through them as well. Keep in mind that your supervisor and/or coworkers will be able to see your calendar, so keep it business-related. You don’t need your cousin’s birthday celebration to be broadcast to the world.
Make a notepad for your to-do list. To-do lists, like calendars, are a simple yet efficient method to arrange your chores. To-do lists come in a variety of layouts and designs, and some individuals consider them a fetish. So go around the internet for a method that makes sense to you, or just jot things down and check them off as you do them. I used to work for Gramps!
Don’t bring up how things were done at your previous work. If this isn’t your first professional work or you’ve done an internship in the same field, don’t constantly telling folks how you did things at your previous employment. Even seemingly benign comparisons might be offensive to your new colleagues, upset them, and put them on the defensive. It makes you come off as a cocky outsider rather than someone excited to join a new team. It’s possible that you’ll discover that your new employer’s methods are genuinely superior. If not, wait until you’ve been on the job for a while, paid your dues, and gained the respect of your coworkers before suggesting a change.
Your first Friday Update should be sent. Sending your boss a weekly update every Friday, as suggested by Bennington and Lineberg, is a good idea. The Friday Update is a brief email that “communicates your progress and the status of your current initiatives and responsibilities.” They suggest include the following in the update:
- This week’s accomplishments
- Obstacles to overcome or stumbling hurdles (areas where you need direction or input)
- Opportunities, recommendations, and insights worth noting
- Issues that need your boss’s permission or involvement
- Your plans and objectives for the following week
Start a draft of your Friday Update on Monday and add to it during the week to make this work simpler. Then you won’t have to waste time trying to recall what you did on Friday when you’re already cognitively exhausted. Your boss/supervisor will enjoy knowing where you’re at with things, what’s working well, and where you may need assistance. As an extra plus, informing them on a regular basis rather than simply when you have an issue will prevent people from associating you only with problems.
So, what if you’ve been at your work for a while and already feel like you’ve blown it on a few of these points? Don’t be concerned! You have the option to alter your ways at any time. Tomorrow, start sending out those Friday Updates. There’s no better time than now to meet all of your coworkers. “You know, I can’t believe I haven’t met you yet, my name is _____,” she says. Have you been having trouble keeping your chores organized? Tomorrow, bring a notepad to class and get back on track. Encourage yourself by remembering that it is far simpler to right the ship with a job than it is to do so with many other things in life. Begin working hard the next day, and you’ll be ready in no time.
We’ll talk about some strategies for succeeding beyond the first week and retaining a job you like later on.
What advice do you have for acing your first day and week on the job? Let us know in the comments!
What advice do you have for acing your first day and week on the job? Let us know in the comments!
Emily Bennington and Skip Lineberg’s book Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Advance in Your First Real Job
It’s either sink or swim! A new boss has been appointed. I have a new job. Milo Sindell and Thuy Sindell’s 12 Weeks to Get It Right
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The “what to expect on the first day of a new job” is a blog post that discusses what to expect on your first day and week at a new job.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I ace my first week at a new job?
A: If a job says they will provide your weekly schedule, it is best to ask them for their answer on how you should prioritize the first week of work. You might have time blocked off during specific hours that needs to be focused at or maybe some tasks need to be done before certain other tasks can happen.
How do I survive my first week at a new job?
A: This is a difficult question to answer as every persons experience in the workplace will be different. It all depends on what you need and want from your work environment, how well do your personality match with that of your boss/employer, how does the company culture feel about its employees (and their families), etc. Keep these things in mind when making an important choice like this one. Be sure to take time during breaks or lunchtime for some introspection if you start feeling overwhelmed by it all!
How do you nail your first week at a new job?
A: There are a few major things that you could do to ensure your first week went well. First, ask for feedback from the people who interacted with you during your interview. This will help make sure there arent any large misunderstandings or wrong assumptions about what is expected of you on day one and how best to go about doing it. Next, prepare as many small checklists as possible – this way if something does come up in the middle of day 1 at work, then all thats needed is an easy checklist rather than having to think through everything individually which would take much longer time frame-wise and be more stressful mentally. Finally, keep a schedule! Even though most new jobs wont have set hours like this (however some may), try setting out when certain tasks need to get done by so they are always accounted for before hand without needing someone elses input while multitasking etc., especially important ones such as lunch breaks or days off because these can sometimes change unexpectedly depending on company needs/locations
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