Starting a new job can be a daunting prospect for any new employee, and the build-up can be extremely stressful. After all, as the old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a great first impression.
As such, the pressure is on to make your first day, week and month a success – especially if there is a probation period. Fear of the unknown coupled with a strong desire to impress can be the perfect storm of anxiety that makes Day 1 extremely intimidating.
But you don’t have to let nerves ruin what should be an exciting and momentous occasion for you. Make your first day a walk in the park and come out smelling of roses with these 5 top tips for starting a new job.
New Job Tips
If you have a new start date on the horizon and you’re worried about your first day on the job, take a look at these tips for starting a new job and turn that stress into finesse for the ultimate first impression.
Arrive on time.
Having to say “sorry I'm late” is not a great way to start your journey in a new company. It sends a negative message to your colleagues, implying that you are unreliable and don’t value the opportunity you've been given.
While it can be unavoidable at times, being branded with the “latecomer” label is the last thing you want when you've only just started a new job. Even if you really wanted the job, tardiness can give your employer the impression that your heart isn’t in it.
Aim to be prompt and timely, making an effort to be early where possible – particularly in your first week. This will help you develop good habits over time and naturally get you into a timely routine.
Dress for success.
There’s a classic saying in the business world that proclaims you should “dress for the job you want, not the one you have”. While this isn’t an open invitation to head into the office dressed as Hulk Hogan, there is certainly some truth behind it.
Presentation can have a profound impact on the way you are viewed by your co-workers and, more importantly, by your superiors. This is all the more important when you're trying to make a good first impression.
If you arrive to work on your first day wearing an un-ironed shirt and rocking three days of stubble, it doesn’t exactly scream “Employee of the Month”. Worse still, it actively conveys that you don’t care enough about your new job to make an effort.
You’ve worked hard to get this far and bag this job in the first place – don’t let a lacklustre appearance let you down. If you want your bosses to view you as a serious employee who's worth their time and money, looking the part is half the battle.
Don't be afraid to ask questions.
A common fault for new starters at work is a reluctance to ask when unsure about something. While it’s natural to be a little more introverted, reserved and shy during your initial foray into a new job, the importance of asking questions cannot be overstated.
The “fake it ‘til you make it” mentality isn’t always the best course of action, particularly in the early days of a new job. In fact, when it comes to work-related processes, blindly carrying on down a murky path of uncertainty can lead to a myriad of problems down the line.
Asking questions is the quickest way to remove doubt and learn the organisation's preferred practices. Remember, you are the new kid at school here - you won’t be expected to know everything right out of the gate.
Interest and intrigue can also show enthusiasm for the role; however, it’s worth remembering that there’s a fine line between being eager and being annoying. Keep your questions relevant and specific in order to avoid inconveniencing your new colleagues.
Get to know your surroundings.
Once you’ve settled into your new workstation and got your day off to a good start, take a little time to familiarise yourself with your surroundings. If possible, ask for a quick tour of the office and get to grips with what’s what and where's where.
While you're sightseeing, be sure to memorise the layout and locate the most important office essentials, like the toilets, kitchen, stationery cupboard and meeting rooms. This also a good opportunity to make a mental note of the fire exits, just in case there's an emergency.
Offer to make the tea.
Homer Simpson once said, “you don’t win friends with salad”. While that phrase may be less true now given the increasing popularity of vegan diets, one thing that hasn’t changed over the years is Britain’s love for a good cuppa.
A sure-fire way to ingratiate yourself is to get acquainted with the office coffee machine and your team’s tea-drinking habits. Offering to make a round for your co-workers is a small gesture that can go a long way, showing your willingness to be a team player.
It’s also a great way to get to know people and introduce yourself to those within the team whom you haven’t yet met. While you may not win friends with salad, you certainly will with tea and coffee.
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