Posted by Robert Half on Thursday, September 25, 2014 - 00:00 | Follow me
You thought the butterflies in your stomach would disappear because you made it through the interview process and landed the job, right?
Not quite. Your first day at a new job can be just as nerve-wracking as the job search itself. While it’s perfectly natural to feel anxious about your new role and workplace, you can start off on the right foot by being prepared. Here’s how.
What to wear
Hopefully, the hiring manager told you about the office dress code. If not, you should have been able to gauge the acceptable attire by taking note of what people were wearing when you came in for interviews. Still drawing a blank? Check out your new employer’s Facebook page or website for office candids. When in doubt, lean toward dressing more professionally than casually.
When to arrive
Get to work on your first day at least 15 minutes early. That may be easier said than done if your nerves inadvertently slow down your normal pace. To stay on schedule, wake up earlier than you think you’ll need to, factoring in how long it will take you to shower and dress. Leave for the office early, giving yourself even twice as long to get there. If the drive to work is a new route, practice it beforehand — ideally, in rush hour traffic — so you’ll be fully prepared. The last thing you want to do on your first day at work is to be late.
Whom you should meet
Your first day at a new job will mostly be consumed with orientation. Try to remember everyone you meet. HR staff, the executive assistant, your colleagues and the mailroom clerk are all great people to get to know right away. Even if you’re nervous, don’t forget to smile and say hello to anyone who stops by. It shows you’re friendly! If you can engage them in conversation, you may be able to gain valuable insight about how the office operates. Accept any offers to join coworkers for coffee or lunch. Also, be prepared to answer questions about your background and what you’ll be doing in your new role.
What info you should ask about
Your manager will discuss your job responsibilities, and you may also meet with HR to review the employee handbook, policies and procedures, and the details of your benefits package. While you’ll spend most of your first day listening, have a list of questions handy for the managers you meet. Don’t be afraid to ask “stupid” questions, either. Try to remember the key things you’ll need to know to start your second day off right: Do you need an access badge? What is your network login? Where is the coffee?
How to act
No matter how high up your position or how qualified you are for the job itself, being the newbie makes everyone feel a little out of sorts — and can make you act a little unlike yourself the first day at a new job. Some people refuse to accept help, while others try to diffuse the situation by making jokes about themselves. Simply accepting help from your coworkers with thanks is the best way to handle unfamiliar circumstances. Don’t try too hard to impress others on your first day. Just relax, smile and be yourself.
What do you think is the biggest challenge of the first day on the job? Let us know in the comments section.
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