First Day of Work Survival: Guide
12 July, 2018 in Career Advice

Starting a new job is always unforgettable experience. On the one hand, an employee-to-be is extremely excited. However, on the other hand, the importance of the first impression might be intimidating. Of course, as a job seeker, you produced the first impression long before the first day of work: first, by creating a successful resume, and second, by passing a job interview. Nevertheless, the things you do during your first day at work matter the most because this is when you meet your colleagues and demonstrate you approach to work. A guide below will help you avoid common mistakes and find the best way to make your colleagues and boss like you.

  • Demonstrate Positive Thinking

When starting new job, people are usually so concerned about their own image that they forget about such a simple technique as positive thinking. As a new employee, you can make a valuable contribution to the team by simply being enthusiastic and inquisitive. The rest of people have probably spent much time in the company, so if your eagerness shines through, you have an added advantage. 

  • Dress Accordingly

Sometimes people forget that their answer to the question, ‘What to wear on the first day of work?’ often plays a decisive role, since the first impression of the colleagues about you will depend on the way you are dressed. Therefore, think in advance what you are going to wear on your first day of work and make sure your clothes can be categorized as either business professional, business casual or casual depending on the company dress code. 

If the employees in your company wear suits and ties, it means that their style is business professional. Normally, traditional industries, like banking, ask their personnel to wear formal attire.

A step down from business professional is business casual. This means that your clothes should be less formal, for instance, khaki pants and a shirt. Nowadays, most companies allow their employees to wear business casual, so you can find it in various fields, from engineering to marketing. 

Some businesses have no particular dress code, so the employees are allowed to dress casually. If this is the case in your company, you can wear jeans a shirt. Nevertheless, they cannot be ragged or look untidy. 

In a nutshell, dress codes vary across businesses, so it is better to clarify this issue in advance. 

  • Memorize Your Colleagues’ Names

If you ask anyone what to do on your first day of work, you will receive numerous answers. However, there is one thing you should surely do and it is learn the names of your coworkers. If you are not good at this and feel a little anxious, do not hesitate to ask for their business cards. You can note some clues on the back of the cards to later recall whom they belong to. When you have a free moment, have a look at your notes. This simple trick is really helpful.

  • Ask for Help

Contrary to what you might think, people will not be expecting much of you on your first day, so do not be shy to ask questions or appeal for help whenever you need it. Otherwise, you are likely end up wasting your time doing things incorrectly. As a novice, the most reliable plan for the first few weeks you can follow is listen to your coworkers and supervisor, ask questions, and openly discuss your worries. It takes months to become familiar with all peculiarities of a job, so it is perfectly normal not to know something on the first day.

  • Attend Orientation Sessions and Take Notes

Buy a small notebook and take notes about the rules of your new company. Put down quotations on first impressions or record questions you might want to clarify. If you are given an opportunity to attend some trainings or orientation sessions, take advantage of it. Besides, check the availability of an onboarding manual because it is probably the easiest way for you to get used to the job quicker. 

  • Do Research on the New Employer

Ideally, this has to be done even before you send your CV to the company. However, once you become an insider, you can learn much more. Try to access as much company literature as possible: employee handbook, reports, website, etc. For example, the press page of the business’s website must be rich in valuable information, so if you are wondering how to make a good first impression at work, demonstrate your dedication, eagerness, and enthusiasm. 

  • Arrive Earlier, Leave Later

Probably the worst thing you can do on your first day at the office is be late. Therefore, try to come on time and if possible, a little earlier. Besides, try not to be the first person who leaves the office. Being a clock-watcher sends a wrong message, so plan to stay at the office a little longer. Similarly, do not be late after lunch. Try to spend more time at work than you would normally do if you want to create a good first impression. Establishing an impeccable attendance record is only a matter of discipline but it can help you create an image of a responsible employee. Of course, this rule does not apply to emergencies. Nevertheless, in case you face some unexpected issues, do not forget to inform your supervisor in advance. 

  • Stay Away for Gossips and Political Talks

Ideally, you should always follow this rule, not only on the first day at work. However, when you join the team for the first time, try not to get involved in rumors. Do not support any ‘behind-the-back’ talks and avoid political discussions. Although gossips and rumors are common in offices, no one likes to be discussed this way, so becoming a part of such a discussion definitely will not help you create a good first impression.

In addition, participation in political talks should also be avoided. Sooner or later, you will be tempted to discuss some spicy subject with your coworkers but you should try to remain neutral and not to judge the convictions of others.

  • Use Working Time for Working

Solve your personal issues after work. According to recent studies, all employees dedicate at least some company time to personal business, such as checking emails, making calls to their relatives, doing online shopping, etc. Although such tendency exists, it is a prerogative of more experienced employees. Therefore, as a new worker, you should be highly focused at work. 

In case you have to make an urgent personal call, try to do it away from your desk. If you need to make an online reservation, do it discreetly, or better, use your cell phone rather than company computer. 

  • Join After-Hours Activities

It is common these days to hold various after-hour activities, such as sports competitions. This is a great way to bond with your future colleagues, so you should try to show some interest, even if you would not typically participate in this kind of activities. Besides, you can learn something new about the company and people who work there. Nevertheless, you should be on your best behavior even after work. 

  • Talk Less, Listen More

A perfect formula would be 10% talking and 90% listening. Active listening is extremely helpful when you are in a new environment. If you are an extrovert who talks too much, you might earn yourself a reputation of a know-it-all office worker, or simply a show-off. So, if the thing you want to say is meaningful, just say it, however, if your contribution might be doubtful, simply listen to what other people say and absorb useful information.

  • Keep Record of your Accomplishments

New workers are usually loaded with different tasks, so it is easy to lose track of them. Begin keeping record of the things you do as early as possible. Starting on the first day of work helps you both, learn a new skill and structure your day. Besides, with the list of accomplishments, it is much easier to evaluate your performance. 

Another advantage of such a list is enhanced personal satisfaction. With a list of accomplishments, you will not be breaking your head trying to figure out what to put on your resume. 

Why should you start the first day? Because if you do not start early, you will forget about it until it is time for you to start looking for a new job. In addition, you might be requested to submit your annual performance report to the supervisor and without the achievements record, you are likely to forget about some important accomplishments.    

  • Demonstrate Gratitude

Showing your appreciation is a simple but valuable thing you can do. By being kind and grateful for the assistance other people offer, you encourage them to help you more. Express genuine sentiments to acknowledge the efforts of your coworkers, starting from the receptionist to an HR manager. How do you show appreciation? You can start by simply saying ‘thank you.’ If someone’s assistance was particularly valuable, you can send them an e-mail or a hand-written thank you note.  

  • Look for a Mentor

Developing mentoring relationships with a senior staff member is another thing you might want to do as soon as you start working for a company. Mentorship is a great way to gain experience, establish a network within the organization, and start paving your way towards promotion. 

  • Be Disciplined and Organized

Super-organized people live through the challenge of the first day at work much easier. If you are not one of them, consider a method of keeping track of all assignments, projects, and meetings. Do this starting from the first day at work to create an impression of a disciplined worker. 

The easiest thing you can do is get a planner or create an online calendar and note the deadlines there. Whatever tool you choose for your to-do lists, make sure you do not forget to look in it regularly. 

  • Establish Goals

Setting realistic goals helps you achieve more. It is also recommended that you revise them every month. However, be prepared that your goals will change drastically as you spend more time at the company. 

  • Build Up a Network

Take advantage of every networking opportunity you get at the job: staff meetings, conferences, trade shows, and other professional events. This will help you meet new colleagues in the field and find a mentor.

Remember that you can build up a network outside the office, as well, for example, by enrolling on additional courses. 

Being a rookie is both stressful and exciting. One thing you should remember is that regardless of the circumstances, it is wise to perceive your new workplace as another opportunity to broaden your experience and grow as a professional.

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