How to Overcome New Job Anxiety: Steps and Tips

Updated October 13, 2023

Starting a new job is exciting, but you may also feel nervous ahead of your first day. Getting new job nerves is completely normal and something that most people experience. However, it can still feel challenging to face a new job when feeling anxious. In this article, we explore why people get new job nerves, steps you can take to calm your nerves before starting a new position and tips for beginning your job effectively with as little anxiety as possible.

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Why do people get nervous about starting a new job?

People are prone to nervousness and anxiety in many instances, especially when they face new situations or changes. While a new job isn't something you should be afraid of, it may make you nervous since it's something unknown. You might not have prior experience working in that particular position or for the company, and starting a new job is a significant life change. Acknowledging your nerves is the first step in overcoming your anxiety and feeling confident when you start your new job.

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

How to overcome new job nerves

The following are steps you can take to quell your new job nerves and start your new position feeling as confident as possible:

1. Talk about how you are feeling with someone you trust

Speaking a trusted friend or family member about your new job nerves and any worries you have can help calm your anxiety. Talking about them to someone you trust can help to unburden your mind and ease some of your nerves. Explaining why you feel nervous allows you to identify specific areas to focus your positivity on. The person you speak with may also be able to offer helpful insight to handle your first day and cope with any nervousness.

2. Take time to prepare as much as possible for your new job

Feeling prepared when starting a new job can help to ease tension and anxiety and increase your confidence. Choose what you plan to wear the first day in advance, research your new organization and test the best routes to get to work. You can also reach out to your new manager and inquire about anything you could do to prepare before your first day. They may ask you to refresh certain skills or fill out new hire paperwork so you can focus on orientation and training on your first day.

Related: 10 Ways To Boost Your Confidence in the Workplace

3. Have something to look forward to after your first day

Having something to look forward to once you finish your first day can keep you motivated and positive. For example, you could plan to meet friends at your favorite restaurant or watch a movie. This can give you something positive to focus on, lessening the feeling of nerves.

4. Control your expectations

It's important to remind yourself that starting a new job means you'll have to learn new things and get familiar with a new culture and method of working. You need more than one day to master your new job and feel comfortable with your coworkers and environment. Keep reasonable expectations by remembering that you are new to the job and you need time to learn.

5. Ask questions

Asking questions on your first day helps you learn as much as possible about your new job, coworkers, manager and the company. If you need clarification about a certain point during your onboarding, make sure to ask it at the right time. Keep a list of questions and the answers you receive so you can reference them anytime. When you have a thorough understanding of your duties and how you can contribute to the company, you will feel more confident about your role.

Related: How To Overcome Meeting Anxiety in 9 Steps

6. Make a good first impression

Starting a new job means meeting new peers. While it's important to make a good first impression, don't try too hard to impress your coworkers. Instead, take the time to get to know your team members by asking plenty of questions and offer to help however you can. Showing enthusiasm for learning about your coworkers and job makes a positive first impression and helps build excellent working relationships.

7. Approach the new position with a positive attitude

Your new job is a positive experience and an opportunity to learn and grow in your professional life. If you make mistakes, learn how to fix them and ask how to avoid them in the future. Acknowledging the possibility of making mistakes can improve your mood and give you a more productive mindset when starting your new job.

Related: 8 Ways To Become More Confident

8. Consider journaling about your feelings

Journaling is a great way to address your nerves and any anxiety you feel before beginning a new job. Spend a few minutes writing about how you feel the night before you start a new job. Similar to speaking with a trusted friend, journaling can help relieve your nerves and identify areas where you can focus your energy to stay positive.

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Tips to overcome nerves and be successful in a new role

Here are a few tips to keep in mind to overcome new job nerves and start your new position in a positive and effective way:

  • Take notes throughout the day so you don't forget anything important

  • Remind yourself that job nerves are a common experience for many who start a new job

  • Avoid comparing yourself to others and instead focus on how you can relate to your new colleagues

  • Observe how coworkers perform their duties so you can get a better understanding of your role

  • Remember that you were hired for a reason and that you are capable of performing your new duties

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