How to Prepare for Your First Day at a New Job

new job first day career

The night before your first day at a new job isn’t much different than the night before your first day of school. Some of the same thoughts may be crossing your mind- will I fit in? Is this the right place for me? How will I present the best version of myself? The first day can set the foundation for how you’re perceived by your colleagues for years to come. Smile, be enthusiastic and follow the tips below to maximize your chance of success.

Prepare the Night Before

Mentally and physically prepare yourself the night before your first day. Shower, do your hair and lay out your clothes the night before so that everything is prepared and you can avoid unnecessary surprises. If it’s an important day, I like to straighten my hair the night before and lay out every detail of my outfit, including underwear and especially my nemesis, panty hose, in the wintertime. Pack your handbag with any required documentation you need to fill out your I-9 as well as orientation paperwork so you know where to go. Resist the urge to stay up late watching Netflix and get a good night’s rest. Doing all these things the day before rather than in the morning will help you feel energized and ready to make a great first impression, instead of looking rushed, lost, or confused.

Wear something that makes you feel confident

There is something about a killer dress that fits in all the right places that makes you feel like you can do anything. It doesn’t have to be new but it does have to be well tailored and you need to love it. If you’re not sure about the dress code, err on the safe side and where pants or a skirt that hits below the knees. Avoid anything that is too tight or low cut. Also, less is definitely more. Don’t overdo it with loud statement necklaces or rings. You’ll have plenty of time to showcase your unique personality. Use your first day to feel out the office so you can get a better sense of how far you can go.

Get to work early

In order to arrive calm and collected on your first day, you can’t be running late. If you’re driving to an unfamiliar location, do a practice run beforehand to map out your route and account for any potential traffic. Preparing everything the night before comes into play here as well so you’re not looking for your favorite black pumps or your lucky necklace minutes before you begin your commute.

Wake up 30 minutes before you normally would even if you think you can get dressed in 15 minutes. You want to be as relaxed as possible when you walk into your new office and stressing out about traffic, counting every minute on your way to work, or sweating profusely from train hopping won’t help you do that. Arrive early so you can figure out where to park, where your desk is or more importantly, where you can get some coffee.

Don’t bring your lunch

Although bringing lunch is a cost effective and healthy alternative to cafeteria food, your first day is a chance to meet your new colleagues and start building relationships. Some offices may even have a ritual in which they take out the newbie for lunch. Come prepared with your best small talk skills and think of some good conversation starters that you can use to get to know your new co-workers. Also, have a solid idea of what’s going on in the world so you’re not lost if anyone begins discussing current events. This is your time to socialize and make a good impression so make the most of it.

Don’t talk about your ex

You may be used to doing things a certain way at your old job but ex’s remain ex’s for a reason. Be open-minded and learn about your new workplace. If you truly feel like there is room for an improvement, bring up suggestions but not on your first day. The way things worked at your last job may not necessarily be the best way and there could be reasons behind the scenes that you’re not aware of. Only after you have a good understanding of the ways of working at your new job, is a good time to bring up suggestions. After all, you’re offering a fresh perspective that others may not see but it’s all about the timing.

The best way to prepare for your first day is to be open-minded and exude a sense of warmth and kindness. Channel your inner extrovert and introduce yourself to as many of your new colleagues as possible. Most people will come up and introduce themselves first to help you feel more comfortable but a great way to show how confident and friendly you are is to take the initiative yourself as well. Practice your handshake in advance and be prepared to build new relationships and maybe even some new friends. Good luck!

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