Nervous about a new job? Tried and tested tips that will help you thrive from the start
As you head out of the door on your way to an exciting new job, it’s only natural to feel a little jittery about what lies ahead. From figuring out what to wear to remembering the route to the new location, all while trying to learn the ropes and make a good first impression with your new boss and colleagues, you can be forgiven for thinking that your first day at a new job is a terrifying prospect.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to be a stress-inducing experience – quite the opposite in fact. To make sure you start things off on the right foot, we have compiled some great pieces of advice for not only surviving your first day at a new job, but thriving.
Have a Positive Attitude
When it comes to making a great first impression, nothing works better than having a positive attitude. Let your enthusiasm for being part of the team and the organisation shine forth to everyone you interact with. Leave your personal problems at home and concentrate on radiating your excitement for this new opportunity!
Studies show that people make a judgment about you within seven seconds of meeting you, and the way you dress can impact this impression significantly. In the beginning, take care to dress professionally – even on casual days. In the early days of a new job, you just never know when you’ll be called out to meet a top manager or key client. Perfectly groomed means efficient and reliable (in people’s minds), whereas unkempt means disorganised and therefore difficult to trust with different assignments. After a while, people realise these things do not necessarily correspond, but initially, your looks and dress are your representation to them. If nothing else, it’s a good excuse to treat yourself to some smart new threads!
Learn Colleagues’ Names Quickly
No one expects you to have everyone’s name down pat by the end of the first day or week, especially if you are joining a big company, but if you are bad with names, start by making it a priority to learn the names of every member of your team. If you find yourself in a situation in which you forget a person’s name, the best solution is simply to apologise and ask again.
Ask Questions/Ask for Help
No one expects you to know everything when you first start a new job so feel free to ask questions or ask for help when you need it. Remember that it’s better to ask for clarification before you’ve spent time completing a task the wrong way. It can be easy to let pride get in the way when you first start a job, but pretending you know things you don’t isn’t the wise path. Ask questions and communicate openly with your supervisors about any concerns that arise. No one expects you to know it all in the first weeks and months of a new job.
In most situations, you will be given a relatively small workload at the beginning of a new job. Starting slowly allows you to get your feet wet without getting overwhelmed. As you finish assignments and are ready to handle a bigger workload, take the initiative and ask for more assignments.
Be proactive, stick up your hand and ask for something to do – it’s a great way to make a strong first impression at a new job.
Arrive Early, Leave Late and Don’t Take Long Lunches
There’s nothing that can affect your reputation faster than routinely coming into work late or leaving work early. Especially in the first days or weeks on the job, observe the flow of the office and be sure you are coming in earlier and leaving later than the majority of your colleagues. Once you understand the office culture better, you may be able to shift your hours or take longer lunches but in the beginning, spend more time at work to make a great first impression.
Get and Stay Organized
If you’re one of those super-organised people, this will be a breeze for you. The rest of us, however, need to develop a system for keeping track of meetings, appointments, assignments, and projects. Get an organiser or planner and keep on top of all your work. Everyone has a system that works best for them, whether it’s setting reminders on your phone or Outlook, creating an Excel spreadsheet, or simply writing a To Do list. Try different techniques until you find the perfect one; you certainly don’t want to miss a key deadline or meeting in the early days of a new job.
As you look ahead, set goals for yourself and then strive to achieve them. Revise your list every few months; what’s important to you in your first three months of a job will be different from the goals you have when you’ve been in a position for six months.
And last, but by no means least, enjoy the new role!