Your first day on the job can be a stressful experience. Depending on your industry, it takes an average of two to eight months to find a new job. All the curveball questions, LinkedIn advice, emails, and interviews are exhausting.
The last thing you want to do is go through that experience again anytime soon. Still, the work has only just begun! Below we offer these tips to make your first day on the job a pleasant experience.
We start with what happens the night before...
1. Get a good night's sleep
First impressions last forever. The last thing you want to do is start your first day on the job exhausted, cranky and unable to process new information.
Your first day requires an alert brain. You will be absorbing information on what you will be doing and who you are working with. A good night's sleep helps you improve your memory, stay creative, and helps you think on your feet. You need to be sharp on your first day!
If you cannot sleep, avoid taking medication that will leave you drowsy in the morning. Instead, release yourself from the stress of your job search. Remind yourself why you took the job in the first place and why they hired you.
Better yet, spend some time deleting emails from job boards. Turn down interviews, too, because you do not need that right now. Focus on starting your new job tomorrow well-rested!
2. Dress in your favorite work outfit
You want to feel comfortable for your first day on the job and keep yourself smiling as you meet new people. When you are overdressed or wearing clothes that choke you, your new co-workers may sense you are trying too hard. They would rather see you confident, comfortable, and approachable on your first day.
More on what to wear your first day on the job.
3. Get to your new job early...but not TOO early
There is a saying I was once told at a new job:
- “Early is on time. On time is late. Late is unacceptable. But too early is just plain awkward.”
That was said to me on my first day at a job many years ago. I had shown up to work an hour early to fill out paperwork. No one was there except for the people from maintenance and the mailroom. No one knew me, but I was wandering around the office looking for the person who hired me.
My new boss told me he appreciated the effort. But he also felt like I had rushed him because I was standing there waiting before he even put down his coat...on a Monday morning! Having a great work ethic and being punctual is important, but so is the ability to show balance. Extreme behavior or social awkwardness can make colleagues uncomfortable.
4. Go to lunch with staff
Your co-workers want to get to know you better. If you get invited to lunch your first day on the job, accept the invite.
You are learning more about your colleagues and you are showing yourself to be part of the team.
At the same time, you are beginning to learn what your work regimen will entail. More than anything, you are being polite and courteous. It is also a good idea to prepare some things to talk about with others.
5. Make the first day all about listening and absorbing
It is your first day, new job and you want to impress people. You want to show them you can contribute at the new job.
Yet, the worst thing you can do is start talking over others, correcting them, or coming off as a know-it-all. You may know “what to contribute”, but not “how to contribute it”. You do not know their work environment. Talking over people and correcting them leaves others concerned you will be argumentative.
Even if you are the smartest man or woman, you do not know the people talking to you. Make your first day at a new job all about listening and absorbing what is happening. Before talking, wait for them to ask you a question.
You are showing your colleagues you respect them. After all, they have the knowledge about your new company. It is only your first day!