Starting a new job? How to make the most of your first day

By Robert Half on 29th May 2018

Even the most confident and talented employees are likely to feel a tinge of nerves and trepidation among the excitement of their first day at work at a new employer. However, that first day presents a number of great opportunities to make a fantastic first impression and immerse yourself in the culture of the office.

Preparing ahead of time

In the days before you're due to start, spend time reminding yourself of important facts about your new company. Undoubtedly, you'll have done your research during the interview process, but there's nothing wrong with refreshing your memory.

Arrive on time and well-prepared, avoiding any external factors that could make you stressed; for example, it might be worth checking the the best route the night before to avoid any travel troubles as well. Also take time to double-check all the starting information you've received. If you're unsure of anything, get in touch with the HR department. Make note of a few essentials to take in with you, such as your bank account details, for a smoother transition.

Have a positive attitude

Put your fears to the back of your mind and start your first day at work with a positive attitude. As you make your new morning commute, take a few minutes to reflect on the fact that the company chose you for the job. Think about the skills and qualities you included on your CV and know that you have what it takes.

Banish those nerves

Your first day on the job is likely to be a whirlwind of introductions and new faces, so don't be shy about introducing yourself to your colleagues in the kitchen. If you know you've met someone but can't remember their name, make light of it and ask them to remind you. It's fine to struggle for the first few days, but you will eventually need to put the right name to the right face.

Have your introductory message in mind

On your first, be ready to share a little bit about yourself with your are introduced to your new colleagues. Don’t be defensive or cagey, but similarly don’t plunge into a full critique of previous unfulfilling roles and overly-personal details. You’re under no pressure to reveal anything you don’t want to; your background and a little bit about you as a person should be enough. As these will be the colleagues you will now be working with on a regular basis, it's important to make a great first impression so you can build strong working relationships.

Listen and learn

Be a sponge and accept as much information as you can, about as many aspects of the role as you think you need to know. The first few days and weeks in a role can often require a steep learning curve, so don't be afraid to take notes to help you remember any new processes, software or activities of the business down the track. Imagine that someone at the end of the week will ask you about your role or business unit – what would your answers be?

At the same time, don't be prepared to ask any questions – it's better to make sure you're getting things right than to work away in uncertainty. No one expects you to know everything from the get-go, or to solve every problem on your first day, so ask as many questions as you need to make sure you have a clear understanding of any expectations.

Steer clear of office politics and gossip

This is one of the worst things you can do on the first day at work, or indeed in the first few weeks. Don’t put yourself in a position of vulnerability by joining the office rumour mill instead, just politely accept or deflect their opinions without inviting controversy.

Leave in a positive way – you won’t learn or know everything in one day!

By the end of the day you will have a much better understanding of your new role, even if you haven't touched on every aspect of the role. Consider the positives of working with your new colleagues, the new challenges that you will face and reflect on the the reasons that you decided to accept the job offer before you head into day two.

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