9 First-Day-of-Work Tips

By Staff Writer Published on March 8, 2018

The first day at a new job can very well be an overwhelming experience loaded with awkward introductions and embarrassing mistakes. Fortunately, you can take complete control of the situation and ensure a great first day with these nine tips!

1. Plan & Prepare

You’re not perfect, and life is unpredictable. Take these precautionary steps before the morning of your first day to make sure everything runs smoothly at your new job.

  • Plan your outfit and wash or iron clothes as needed.
  • Gather your essentials (car keys, wallet, etc.) the night before to avoid the infuriating game of hide-and-seek as you scramble to leave for work in the morning. Place your items somewhere where they can’t be lost or forgotten.
  • Prepare your lunch, leave it in a ready-to-go container, and leave a note out to remind you to take it.

2. Arrive Early

The worst way to start your career at a new gig is to be late to work; the best way is to arrive before anyone else does, or 5-10 minutes early. You can accomplish this by mapping out your commute, factoring in traffic, and leaving your house earlier than you need to.

3. Dress to Impress

The way you dress will tell your employer a lot about what they should expect from you, and dressing professionally says that you’re taking your position seriously. Even if the workplace dress code is casual, show up looking professional, clean, and well put together. Of course, you don’t want to overdo it and show up in a suit and tie if the dress code calls for jeans and a T-shirt. Find a happy medium just a notch above the required dress code.

4. Speak Up

Whether you’re working in a call center lined with wall-to-wall cubicles, or you snagged a position at a small startup, it’s important that you make your presence known. Speak up, introduce yourself, and speak to your new coworkers with confidence.

5. Observe

During a long day of new information, unfamiliar faces, and water-cooler gossip, don’t forget to sit back and observe the dynamics of your new workplace. Pay attention to the dialogue, get a feel for the culture, and take mental notes that can help you down the road. Is there a coworker that’s easily offended? A manager who is strongly displeased with cell-phone use during work time? Keep a mental record of the small details that you can use to your advantage during your time with the company.

6. Ask Questions (If Necessary)

If you have questions about the day-to-day operations, what your boss expects from you, or how you complete a simple task like clocking in, don’t be afraid to ask. However, we do suggest that you refrain from asking your boss a million insignificant questions on the first day, as this could give the impression that you need to be micromanaged. Before you ask your employer a question, first ask yourself these two questions:

  • Can Google answer my question?
  • Can a co-worker answer my question?

If the answer is no to the questions above, then feel free to ask your boss.

7. Take Initiative

If you see something that needs doing, then do it! Don’t wait to be asked. Impress your boss by taking the initiative to improve the workplace on your very first day. Even a small act will go a long way in making a great impression.

8. Expect a Long Day

You may feel physically or mentally drained during your first day—especially if your new work schedule is something you’re not used to. Prepare to combat weariness by packing a few energizing snacks, having an afternoon coffee, or taking a brisk walk during your lunch break.

9. Say Thank You

Don’t forget that those who are willing to train you or help you during your first day are taking time out of their busy schedules to do so. Express your appreciation by sending helpful individuals a quick “thank you” email at the end of the day.

Advance in Your Career

Just because you’re working now doesn’t mean you can’t continue your education to accelerate your career! Take advantage of the degree programs that CollegeAmerica offers as you juggle work, school, and life.