No matter how excited you are about starting your new job, you’re probably also nervous. It’s hard being the new kid, and you want to make a good first impression on the people you’ll be working with for in the foreseeable future. Try these tips to make that first day a success.
The Night Before
Your nerves are already prickly, so use that extra energy to make the next morning go smoothly. You’ll sleep better if you know you’re prepared.
Dress code varies by workplace. Take your clothing cues from the people who sat in on your interview.
Don’t just pick out what you’ll wear, try it on. If you bought something new to make a strong first impression, make sure it looks as professional in your bedroom mirror as you remember it did in the store. Locate the belt, scarf, shoes and jewelry you intended to wear with it.
If you wear brand new shoes you take the chance you’ll be limping by lunchtime. It’s better to select a pair you know will get you through the day with a spring in your step.
Set your alarm for at least half an hour earlier than you will on most days. Aim to arrive much, much earlier than you are required to. At best you’ll be there early, enter relaxed and make a great first impression. If something goes wrong, you’ll still be on time.
When You Arrive
Take a deep breath before you walk in the door and remind yourself no one expects you to learn everyone’s name and master every procedure on the first day. Show your positive attitude and enthusiasm for your new job and the rest will follow.
Nervousness makes people hunch their shoulders, look down and avoid eye contact, none of which looks friendly. Keep your head up and shoulders back as you meet people. Make eye contact and offer a welcoming smile.
Lean in when people are speaking to show you’re actively listening. Offer a handshake when you meet people, then allow your arms to hang at your sides instead of crossing them.
When you meet people, repeat their name back to them to help yourself remember. Say something like, “It’s great to meet you Samantha, how long have you been with XYZ Company?” If their name is unusual, ask how they spell it to help etch it in your memory.
Throughout the Day
Ask questions and seek help when you need it. People understand you’re new and will likely see your questions as eagerness to do a good job. If you attend training, show up with a note taking device and use it. Stay off your cell phone and don’t use your work computer for personal use.
If people invite you to eat lunch with them or attend an after-hours activity, join them! Express appreciation for the invitation, and for other ways people help you your first day.
In the evening, if the company website includes employee photos, review names and faces. Plan as thoroughly for your second day as you did for the first and you’ll find yourself in a positive routine that brings success in all the days to come.