15 Tips for a Successful First Day at Your New Job

Maddie Lloyd
by Maddie Lloyd
Guides - 10 months ago
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You did it! You made it through the extensive and exhausting interviewing process and stood out against everyone else — and you got the job! And now, after accepting your job offer, it’s time to start your first day.

We’re so proud of you!

But wait! Where do you go when you get in? What do you wear on the first day? How should you act? Do you shut down completely and avoid talking to anyone, or do you spend the entire day personally introducing yourself to every single person in the office? Now this exciting moment has turned into a stressful fiasco.

Don’t panic!

First days can be scary, but they don’t have to be a total nightmare.

Here are 15 things to do to help you have the best first day possible.

1. Get there early, or at least on time

You should always try to get to work on time, especially on your first day. If you want to make an especially good impression, aim to arrive 10 to 15 minutes early. On the other hand, you don’t want to show up on your first day two hours before everyone else and look like an overeager psycho.

If you’ve never done the commute before, you might want to practice it a few times so you’re at least somewhat prepared for any surprise turns or monstrous daily traffic jams.

2. Look the part and play the part

Make sure to figure out the dress code so that you don’t stick out from everyone else in a bad way. You’ll want to blend in with your coworkers, so you don’t want to show up on your first day wearing sweatpants when everyone else is in professional business attire.

Failing to dress up to office standards could send the wrong message about your attitude towards working. You’ll want to show through your attire and your actions that you take yourself and your job seriously, so look and act as professional as you did during your job interview.

3. Be prepared to ask questions

Even though the first day is more about listening and getting your feet wet, it’s still a good idea to ask questions when you need some clarification. This will help show your employer that you’re excited about the job and you’re ready to learn.

By the time a company offers you a job, you should have enough background information to ask more in-depth questions during your orientation. The night before your first day, write down some general questions about what you can do to be successful in your new position.

4. Put your phone on silent

This one’s a no-brainer. You should always try to be 100% present while you’re at work, especially if it’s your first day. If you can’t tear yourself away from your phone because you’re neck deep in an Instagram contest, you might want to rethink your priorities.

5. Have a positive attitude

During your first few days on the job, all eyes are going to be on you. Your supervisors and coworkers are going to be constantly judging your attitude and your work ethic, so you’ll want to make sure that they think of you as a hard worker with a positive outlook, not the grumpy jerk who hates Mondays.

Make sure to be enthusiastic, positive, and upbeat so that everyone knows this is the kind of attitude they can expect from you on a daily basis, and that you’re approachable and easy to work with.

6. Listen, observe, and show interest

Your main duties during your first day are going to be listening and paying attention to everything going on around you. This is a great opportunity to learn about the company’s goals and priorities, and the general atmosphere of the office. Make sure to take lots of notes so you don’t forget anything and look like a big ol’ scrub.

Don’t forget to show that you’re actually interested in everything you learn on your first day. Ask follow-up questions during your orientation, and try to learn more about your coworkers. This will do more than just help you flatter and win over your coworkers — it will also help you do your job better. That’s a win for everyone!

7. Talk to your coworkers

You’re only going to be spending eight hours a day, five days a week with your them — you might as well try to make friends with your coworkers, or least say something so you don’t spend the entire day in awkward silence.

Make a point to reach out and introduce yourself to your peers. If you establish early on that you’re friendly and approachable, you’ll be on the right rack to establishing trust, being given more assignments, and really becoming part of the corporate family. Now, doesn’t that just sound wonderful?

8. Don’t turn down a lunch invitation

Another way to get your relationships with your coworkers started on the right foot is to accept their lunch invitations. It’s important to how your peers that you’re ready and willing to work with them as a team, and company lunches are a great way to build camaraderie.

Even if you’re completely awkward and have no sense of social skills whatsoever, you should still accept an invitation to lunch on your first day. If your boss or coworkers invite you to share a meal, they’re probably just trying to get to know you and help you feel less out of place. Hey, we all know how nerve wracking it can be to start a new job.

9. Learn how to manage your time

This is essential for helping you meet all of your deadlines, especially if your boss assigns you a project on the first day.

Reach out to your new coworkers and ask for any advice on their process for going about their assignments. This will help you learn more efficient methods of working, and it will help you continue to build your office relationships.

10. Accept your coworkers’ offers to help

On that note, if one of your coworkers offers you their assistance, you should always accept their advice. Don’t worry about looking clueless or stupid — sometimes it makes others feel good about themselves to help, plus it’s another great way to build strong workplace relationships.

Even if you already know what they’re going to tell you, it will make them feel good to think that they’re helping you, and it’s a lot better than saying “Um, I already know how to do that. THANKS.” So just roll with it, okay?

11. Don’t pretend to know things you don’t

It’s much easier to just ask questions than to try to explain that you didn’t know what you were doing when you make a mistake. Do your homework before the first day of your job and gather all the information you need, and make a list of questions for anything you that you need clarified.

If you can’t find the answer to something online, ask your coworkers questions or bring it up during your orientation. Again, don’t worry about looking stupid. It’s no secret that this is your first day, and it’s much better to ask questions than to delay or entirely screw up a project because you don’t know what you were doing.

12. Be open to learning new things

Even if your new job duties are basically the same as they were at your old job, you should be open to learning new methods for doing the same old tasks, or even similar ones. The techniques you learn might turn out to be more efficient, and learning new skills will help you get better at your job, while also keeping things from getting stale.

13. Don’t make assumptions about anything

If you don’t know what time you’re supposed to get to work or what time is appropriate to head home for the day, don’t just assume it’s a regular 8-5, you’re much better off just asking to avoid any embarrassing mishaps.

It might also be a good idea to ask ahead of time where you’re supposed to come in and where you’re going to be stationed. You don’t want to waste any time wandering around trying to figure out which door to walk into or where you should sit down. Now that’s a good way to look clueless.

14. Relax and smile

Remember to relax and not be so tense on your first day, even though it can be incredibly nerve wracking to start a new job. Make sure to get plenty of sleep the night before, have all of your materials ready to go, and get to the office a few minutes early.

Don’t forget to smile. You made it through the grueling interviewing process and were the candidate who came out on top, so you have every reason to be happy. Make sure to let your employers know how happy and excited you are to be there.

15. Just be yourself

And finally — just be your dang self. Trying to be some fluffed-up corporate version of yourself is stressful and will only make you feel and act more nervous. You’ll be seeing these these people for 40 hours a week now, so you might as well just be yourself so you don’t have to put up a front for eight hours a day, five days a week. Everything will be much easier that way.

Now you know what to do to have the best first day ever

Your first day at a new job is a big milestone, one that can lead to a lot of anxiety and stress — but it doesn’t have to be a big scary monster looming in the distance. With some preparation and a positive attitude, you can easily leave a good impression your boss and coworkers and come out on top.