Play your cards right on your first day and you’ll be sure to make a great first impression.
You finally got the call, negotiated a salary, and have the job you’ve been trying to nail down. Congratulations! This is the time for optimism and excitement. Could this be the job that truly launches your career?
Now it’s time to get focused. If this truly is your big break, you want to make the most of it right out of the gates. That means that your very first day is crucial and there are a few things to do before starting a new job to make it a success. Making a good first impression matters most right now. Your first day can set the tone for how your boss and your co-workers see you. That’s no reason to stress out and put extra pressure on yourself. Just get yourself ready to rock your first day on the job with these simple tips.
Dress the part.
Even if you take great pride in your eclectic style, you may want to wait awhile to ease into that. Chances are there will be some guidelines in the company handbook that can help in choosing your first day of work outfit, but if you don’t have that yet you can just head to their website. One of the things to do before starting a new job is look at what the people on their website are wearing.
Are they business casual or are they straight up business? Maybe this company is a bit more laid back and jeans are the norm. Whatever you see, you want to dress accordingly to be certain that your outfit is appropriate for your job. If you have any doubts, always err on the side of formal for your first day of work outfit. You’d rather be a little too dressy than too casual on your first day.
Plan your commute.
This one simple step can save you a lot of embarrassment and help in making a good first impression. One of the things to do before starting a new job is to map out your best route to your new workplace. Pay attention to how much traffic is on your route during the morning commute. If you really want to be safe, get up one morning and give it a test run. Also, pay attention to any special events that could throw a wrench in that day’s traffic. However long you decide your commute will take you, leave at least 10 minutes early on your first real day of work. Showing up a little early is okay. Being late on day one starts things off on the wrong foot in a big way.
If you need a little help, there are a lot of great phone apps to make your commute a little easier.
Be ready to work–or not.
Our best new job advice: be ready for anything! Some supervisors like to start out new hires by throwing them into the fire. If that ends up being the case, you want to be ready to jump in and show your stuff. Ask questions, but don’t be afraid to do some problem solving on your own. The type of boss that likes to start things off that fast usually wants to see how well you can handle yourself on the fly.
On the flip side, it could happen that your new company hands you a bunch of orientation material and then leaves you alone. What will you do? Before you get there, think about what kinds of things you want to know about your new company. Chances are the answers are in those orientation materials. Know ahead of time what kind of information you want to find.
Being friendly is one of the best ways to start making a good impression. As opportunities arise throughout the day to talk to people, do so. They’ll likely ask you about yourself, but you want to be sure to also ask about them. Have your 30-second elevator pitch ready, but after that, shift the focus off of you. Get to know what they do and what they like. Asking questions about the person you’re talking to makes you instantly more likable than the person who just wants to talk about herself. Our best new job advice: smile as much as you can while still feeling like you’re not faking it. Everyone likes a smile.
This piece of new job advice can be tricky. You’ll likely be meeting a lot of people throughout your first day. For some, remembering names is easy. For others, it’s a real struggle. When you are introduced to someone new, try not to focus on their clothes or hairstyle but instead focus on their words. When they say their name, repeat it to yourself several times in your head. If you are one of those people who struggles with names, there are a lot of little tricks out there to help you get better at it. See if you can find one that works for you.
Accept that lunch invitation.
If you’re lucky, your boss or some co-workers will invite you to go to lunch. This tip for starting a new job is a no-brainer, go! Lunch is a great opportunity to converse in a slightly more casual setting. You’ll learn more about the people you are eating with and possibly get an inside look into how the office works. If the conversation turns towards office gossip, do not engage. Pay attention to who does the most talking and make note of it. Ask plenty of questions. This is a great time to get to know your new co-workers beyond their job descriptions.
However, you may want to bring a lunch just in case it’s expected that you don’t leave for your afternoon meal. Be willing to let it go, though, if you do get that invite.
Know the company’s recent successes.
One of the most important things to do before starting a new job is research. Do it ahead of time and know what this company does well and what projects have been recent successes. You may have done this to wow them during your interview, but it’s still good information for when you are being introduced to people. Perhaps you’ll meet one of the individuals who was named as a key player. Giving a quick kudos and asking a smart question about their project will impress them quickly. Who doesn’t like to talk about their home runs?
Find out with whom you’ll be working the most.
As you meet people throughout your first day, try to establish who is going to become a part of your daily life at the company and who may be less involved in your work. Make an extra effort to ask questions and get to know those you’ll be working with closely. Ask questions so you’re sure that you understand exactly what they do and how their role connects with yours. By doing this you can eliminate embarrassing job-role mistakes right away. Getting off on the right foot with team members can help set the tone for your new job moving forward.
Your first day at your new job should be exciting, not frightening. As long as you’re prepared with a plan going in, you’ll do great. Keep the focus on learning and making a good first impression. If all goes well, the people you meet on your first day could be the people you’ll be working with for years to come. Start things off on the right foot by having a plan and expecting the best.
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