Starting a New Job

Tips for Your First Day of Work

February 22, 2021

On your first day of work, you'll likely receive a lot of information and meet many of your coworkers. Preparing for your first day at work can make it easier to remember valuable facts that you'll use throughout your time there. Being prepared helps you adjust to your new work environment and colleagues quickly. In this article, we offer some tips to help you make your first day of work a success.

Related: How to Succeed in Your New Job: The First Week, Month and 90 Days

Tips to make your first day a success

The following tips for your first day at work will set you up for future success in your new job.

  • Arrive early
  • Ask questions
  • Have your elevator pitch ready
  • Get organized
  • Relax
  • Use positive body language
  • Dress for your position
  • Be ready for anything
  • Accept invitations for lunch
  • Learn the language of the organization
  • Find out about the professional expectations
  • Turn off your cell phone
  • Start building your network
  • Learn the location of everything
  • Be grateful

Arrive early

Make sure you are at least 15 minutes early at your new company. You should map out various routes to the building in advance and practice your new commute at different times during the week before your first day to determine the best departure time and route.

Ask questions

To show interest and learn more about your new role and company, ask questions. You can create a list of questions the day before you start. Though your manager or human resources department could answer most of your questions naturally throughout the onboarding process, you can ask any that are leftover at the end of the day. Ask questions to clarify anything about your duties, processes and the company hierarchy.

Related: What Are the Different Types of Workplace Training?

Have your elevator pitch ready

When you meet your colleagues, they will likely ask the same questions about your background. You can prepare an elevator pitch that covers your history in 15 to 20 seconds. Avoid memorizing your pitch to help you sound natural.

Get organized

If you have a dedicated workspace, it can be helpful to organize it to maximize your efficiency. Make sure you have everything you need, such as notepads, pens, sticky notes and any other materials. Organizing your area on the first day can make you feel more comfortable in a new environment.

Relax

First days at work can give you a nervous excitement, which is normal. To feel more relaxed, try to rest the day before, and get a good night's sleep. Give yourself plenty of time to get to work early so you don't feel rushed. You can also try deep breathing techniques during breaks in your onboarding to stay calm and focused, which can help you remember more.

Use positive body language

To show you're paying attention during orientation, use positive body language, like sitting or standing straight with your shoulders back. Try to face the person talking, make eye contact and smile when it's appropriate. Practicing this body language can also show you're approachable and friendly.

Dress for your position

Make sure you follow the dress code on your first day. Check for any communication from your company contact about apparel guidelines, or reach out to them a few days before to prepare. If you're unsure of what you need to wear, it's usually best to wear business casual or business professional. You may be walking or standing more on your first day as you tour the building, so consider wearing comfortable shoes.

Related: Guide to Business Attire (With Examples)

Be ready for anything

First days can vary widely depending on the industry and company. Some businesses spend at least a week on orientation and training while others could involve work on the first day. Be prepared to complete responsibilities after you learn the basics of the role and company. If you want more information about what's included in the first day, reach out to your company contact so you have an idea of what to expect.

Accept invitations for lunch

If your coworkers or manager invites you to each lunch with them, you should accept the offer. This can show you want to learn more about the company and colleagues in a more casual setting. Lunches are usually opportunities to ask in-depth questions about the role, company culture and what your coworkers do.

Learn the language of the organization

Each company uses different acronyms and phrases that you should learn quickly in order to excel in your position. If you hear or find a word or abbreviation you don't understand, make sure to ask a coworker or supervisor and take note. Keeping a record of the phrases used can make them easier to remember, and you can always refer to them at any time.

Find out about the professional expectations

Your supervisor should give you a list of your responsibilities on the first day. Make notes about the different parts of the role and ask questions if you need clarification about a duty. It's important to make sure you know the standards of the job so you can meet and surpass them in time. It also makes evaluations easier to understand.

Turn off your cellphone

Turn off your cellphone or keep it on silent throughout your first day to ensure you stay focused and learn more.

Start building your network

As you meet your colleagues, try to form connections. You should create a network of coworkers that can help you learn in the first few weeks. Your network can also be useful throughout your career since you often need to rely on a team to get work done. Ask your coworkers icebreaker questions, and let them know that you're eager to begin contributing to the team.

Learn the location of everything

On your first day, you should get a tour of the building, including the break room, bathrooms, supply room and other departments that you may work closely with. Revisit each area when you have time so you can remember the location of everything you need to do your job.

Be grateful

At the end of your first day, thank everyone who helped you during the day. Thank your manager again for the opportunity to be part of their team. Showing gratitude demonstrates positivity and your drive to begin contributing to the company.

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