The first day of a new job can be pretty nerve-racking. You’ll want to make a good impression right from the outset and fit in with your new colleagues straight away.
Like most things, making the most of your first day is really just a matter of preparation – the more prepared you are, the more smoothly you’ll find the day goes.
What does preparation look like? Here are a couple of easy steps to help:
1. Research your new company thoroughly
You’ll want to read through every page on the website, make sure you know the names of the executive management, and do a Google and media search for the company for the past couple of months. If the company is in the media, it’s likely to be something that will dominate what is talked about internally.
2. Actually plan out your introduction
Your new colleagues are going to naturally be interested in getting to know you. This isn’t a social occasion, however. What you’re really going to be quizzed on is what you’ll be doing in the organisation, what previous roles you’ve had, and your studies (if you’re a graduate). It’s a good idea to rehearse your little intro – make it not more than 30 seconds, making sure that it leaves nobody confused as to what you’ll be doing in your new role.
3. Arrive on time
Turning up late on your first day is, of course, a terrible look. But turning up early can be equally irritating to your boss if you were told to be somewhere at a specific time. There will be an onboarding process, including getting your emails set up and your desk space ready, so it’s a good idea to be on time, as opposed to too early or late.
The best way to tackle this issue is to practise or plan the commute, so you know exactly which train to catch, or when to get on the road in morning traffic. On the day, make sure that you’ll get to the office 15 or 30 minutes early, you can then grab a quick coffee nearby and walk in right on time.
4. Be prepared the night before
The last thing you want is to need to hurry out of home on your first day and forget something important. Make sure you know what you’re expected to bring with you (laptop, notebooks, stationery), don’t forget the power cords and chargers that you might need (make sure you have a phone charger, especially). You might also want to pack lunch and bring a bottle of water if you’re not familiar with the office and area – you don’t want to have nothing to eat and find yourself fading towards the end of the first day.
5. Remember all of your paperwork and details
On the first day in the office, your employer or HR manager will need to know all your tax, bank account and superannuation details. So, pre-fill as many of those forms as you can, and come in prepared for the rest. You’ll then be able to fly through the onboarding process and get started on work right away.
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6. Give yourself the chance to mentally prepare
The shift to full time, paid work can be both a stressful and tiring transition. If you can afford a short break between study or your current job and the new job (and your boss doesn’t need you to start immediately), then a couple of days off can give you a chance to mentally unwind so you can start work refreshed.
7. Set boundaries early
One of the first things you’ll want to do in your new job is get a feel for the culture of the business – when people generally leave the office in the evening, the expectations and frequency of out-of-hours work, and so on. You may need to work beyond the usual work window and this can be particularly true in the first six months as you establish yourself in the office. But, at the same time you want to set reasonable expectations for when you’ll be available.
Most importantly of all, though, is to enjoy the experience. Don’t forget that you were selected for the job because you were the best candidate! Enjoy this next step in your career.