Starting a new job? Congratulations! Now while you may think that the stress of getting a new job is behind you, unfortunately, you may be encountering First Day Jitters. Here’s the full checklist of how you can have the easiest first week possible at your new job:
10 Top Tips for Starting Your New Job
- Plan the Commute
- Set Your Alarm
- Pack Ahead of Time
- Figure Out the Dress Code and What to Wear
- Be Careful How You Announce a New Job on Social Media
- Get There Early, Either Remote or In-Person
- Introduce Yourself to Everyone- and Smile
- Make a Great First Impression: Pay Attention, Listen to What is Said, and Have a Positive Attitude
- Get the Facts of the New Job
- What To Accomplish Your First Week
Plan the Commute
You might think this is easy, but the excitement/anxiety of starting your new job can make the most basic things too overwhelming. Be sure to plan your commute now, before you need it. You want your first day at the new job to be as easy as possible, so plan your commute and how long it will take to make it.
Set Your Alarm
Now that you’ve planned your commute, be sure to figure out how much time you’ll need to get ready beforehand, and then you’re ready to set your alarm. Waiting until the last minute (or worse, relying on someone else to wake you up) can result in you waking up late and screwing up your whole first day!
Pack Ahead of Time
Do not – and we can’t stress this enough – think that the first morning of the new job will be an ideal time for you to pack at the last minute. This is about making your first day easy, remember? The most common things people have to pack that can be done the night before are your lunch, notepad, and pen to take notes, your phone, and a water bottle. Since you will probably be filling out paperwork in order to get paid, you will also need some sort of I.D. cards, such as a state I.D. or driver’s license, and most likely your vaccine card. Don’t forget these, because you want to get that paycheck!
Figure Out the Dress Code and What to Wear
Where you’re going makes a difference in how you dress. Reach out to Human Resources for what is best, or your contact at the company if you don’t have access to Human Resources yet. Many companies also have this information on their Glassdoor reviews as well.
If you’re going somewhere formal, then you should check the dress code ahead of time, or reach out to the person who hired you for advice. Should they be gone or unavailable for any reason, it’s always better to dress up too much than to dress too casually. How you dress is considered a sign of respect to the company, and showing up in ripped jeans or shorts when everyone else is in business attire isn’t going to give a good impression – but it will be the wrong kind of memorable.
Be Careful How You Announce a New Job on Social Media
You’ve just been hired, so naturally, you want to tell everyone! By all means, unless told otherwise, telling people where you now work (congratulations!) shouldn’t be an issue. Telling them everything you do or will do there might be. Complaining online about everyone you met or the tedious interview process will also show as a red flag. Anything that puts the company in a bad light online is often a reason to fire someone, including bad language or something similar.
Consider the woman in 2018 who got and lost a prized NASA internship in one day. She got the internship at NASA and excitedly tweeted a profanity-laced tweet about getting that internship. The lady then got a response from the NASA legend Homer Hickam, (whose bestselling memoir Rocket Boys was the basis for the movie October Sky, trained the first Japanese astronauts, and who was on the Space Council that overlooks NASA), saying just the word “Language.” As in, he was warning her about her use of swearwords, and then she responded with another colorful response.
At some point here, she lost the internship, but details aren’t clear on whether it was her response to him, or her friends defending her right to say so with the hashtag #NASA attached. Full story here (warning: there is profanity). She did apologize but didn’t get the internship back.
No matter how excited you are, be careful how you discuss the new job online. Check the social media policy if you don’t think you can restrain yourself. There’s no sense in going through all the work of finding a job only to lose it because of something small.
First Day at Your New Job
Get There Early, Either Remote or In-Person
In trying to give a good first impression, it’s important that you make a point of not just being on time, but being a little early. Even if your job is remote, it is especially crucial that you show how much you want the job. This is even more true for anyone working a contract-to-permanent position because that is a bit more like an extended trial.
Introduce Yourself to Everyone- and Smile
It’s particularly easy to forget your body language when you’re nervous, and what’s more nerve-wracking than your first day? Remember to smile at everyone and introduce yourself. Even if you’re not an extrovert, impersonating one will pay off in the long run. You’ll get practice being likable under pressure and even if smiling at strangers is your natural reaction, you will give a great first impression. Unless these are the last people you’re ever going to interact with (they’re not), then it’s a good habit to continue.
Make a Great First Impression: Pay Attention, Listen to What is Said, and Have a Positive Attitude
It’s important that you show up as your best self. These people don’t know you yet, so it’s best to show up as your “interview self” in the beginning. It takes time to learn who can handle your sense of humor and who can’t, or who has no sense of humor at all and might take your jokes literally.
Get the Facts of the New Job
It’s important to know on your first day if this job is what was promised. According to our source at The Muse, as many as 75% of people have “Shift Shock” at a new job, with as much as 80% saying it would be acceptable to leave a new job in 6 months if it didn’t live up to your expectations. It’s important to figure out what exactly the job entails, so at the very least you can do it well while you find something else you like better. Perhaps this is actually a great job, but your first day happened to be during a chaotic mess or a project went wrong or something happened. Don’t judge a book by its cover or a job by its first day! Test it out for a while and see what it really is before you make a decision that could have long-term effects on your career.
See also: Job-Hopping: the Pros and Cons
What To Accomplish Your First Week
- Determine Your Schedule: Commute, Lunch, Breaks, Leaving
- Figure Out Deadlines: When is What Needed by When
- Offer to Help and be Available
When starting your new job, it’s important to know what you’re expected to do. You’ll also need to know who to talk to if you have a problem. After that, it comes down to preparing ahead of time.
For instance, showing up slightly early or on time will help people remember you as a person who is reliable. That means handling your commute, your lunch break, and leaving when expected to. Be sure to handle your time responsibly.
The next thing is what you have to get down and by when. What are the long-term plans for your projects? When are they due? Will you get them done in time? You need this information so that you can give accurate feedback on whether projects will be done in time. If they can’t be done by the deadline, it’s always important to communicate that.
If your own projects aren’t an issue, then offer to help someone else! It’s a great way to meet your coworkers, see more of what the company does, and learn more about the business overall. It’s also an excellent way to show that you’re willing to work with everyone and are a real team player.
There you have it! Those are the ten top tips for starting a new job and why they’re helpful. We recommend these to anyone starting a new job or even being promoted to a new location or new position. It’s not always easy, but with the right preparation and attitude, you’ll give the right first impression.