Congratulations on landing your new job! The long days of searching job boards, sending resumes and sitting through interviews have paid off. However, it’s not smooth sailing just yet. A good impression on your first day of work is imperative and will set you up for success.
Here’s what to do to start your new job off on the right foot.
1. Arrive 15 minutes early.
The early bird gets the worm – always. Planning to get to the office early on your first day not only sets the tone for your entire week, but also shows your new colleagues that you are dedicated to the team.
Arriving early is smart for several reasons. You’ll have extra cushion time if you become victim to a large traffic jam or if you happen to miraculously hit every red light. Adjusting to a new commute will take time, so allow extra time until you get acclimated with your route.
More importantly, arriving ahead of schedule shows your boss that you take this new position seriously and that you’re likely to go above and beyond expectations.
2. Do not look at your phone.
I can assure you that the moment you look down to read a text is the exact moment that the CFO will stop by to introduce themselves, and you can’t back pedal from that first impression. To eliminate any distraction, stash away your phone out of sight until lunch, a break, or when you leave at the end of the day.
If you need to be reached in case of emergency by your child’s school or family member’s caretaker, provide your desk number instead, but be sure to keep personal calls brief and minimal.
3. Absorb as much information as you can.
Your first day is all about absorbing as much information as you can so on day two you can hit the ground running. A vast majority of the time, you will be listening. Try to stick to a 90/10 rule – listen 90 percent, talk 10 percent. Most of your 10 percent should be used to ask questions.
As you’re meeting colleagues, going through training and learning to navigate the workplace, be a sponge. Absorb all the information presented to you and you will be prepared to take on tasks on your own more confidently.
4. Take notes.
Write down what your colleagues teach you. While you shouldn’t hesitate to ask questions, it’s a terrible first impression to ask something that was already shown or explained to you. If it’s a complex topic or a multi-step process, make sure to write it down so you can refer to your notes until it becomes routine.
As you meet more team members, don’t hesitate to take notes on them, too. When you get back to your desk, jot down their names, job titles and something memorable about your interactions with them. This will help you connect with your coworkers in the long run. Remembering their names and tidbits from past conversations will show that you are a good listener and that you care about what they have to say.
5. Go with the flow.
Your desk may not be set up, your badge may not fit or you may be sitting alone at your desk for part of the day. If you happen to have downtime, prepare for it. Think about the things you want to know about your new company and find those answers in the orientation packet or on the company website.
Sometimes managers may throw their new hires into the deep end. Be ready to jump in and show your critical thinking skills. If you get stuck, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Managers who start their new employees off quickly want to see how adaptable they are.
Be ready for anything and make the most of it.
6. Be your best extrovert.
Introduce yourself to everyone. Be friendly! It’s important to project high energy during your first day and the first few months. When an opportunity arises, introduce yourself and talk to people. Be ready to explain some of your background, but always remember to ask your coworkers questions about themselves. If you demonstrate early on that you are friendly and approachable, you’ll soon establish strong working relationships and trust.
People want to work with an individual who is enthusiastic and positive.
7. Stay late if possible.
Just like arriving fifteen minutes early at the beginning of your day, stay late if you can or even until your boss leaves to show you’re a committed employee who is dedicated and eager to learn.
If you follow these tips, you’ll start off on the right foot and prove early on that you were the right hire. Don’t forget to be yourself and take every opportunity presented to you!
By Julianna Kirkland, Vaco Memphis