Tips for successfully navigating your first day at a new job

By Indeed Editorial Team

January 7, 2021

The first day at a new job can be intimidating for anyone. Knowing what to expect, when to arrive and what to say can help you feel more confident and prepared as you begin a new chapter of your life. If you are about to start a new job, you may want to know what you can do to increase your chances of success. In this article, we will discuss some tips that can help you navigate your first day on the new job as well as common questions for new hires.

Read more: How to Start a New Job Virtually

10 tips for your first day at a new job

Here are our top ten suggestions on how to succeed during your first day at a new job:

1. Have a good attitude

A smile is one of the best tools you can bring to a new job. If possible, wake up early on your first day and give yourself time to mentally prepare before you make your first commute. Setting yourself up for success can also include eating a healthy breakfast, drinking coffee from your favourite mug or listening to an upbeat playlist as you head out of the house. The more comfortable you are when you arrive, the better your coworkers' impression of you could be.

2. Arrive early

A crucial part of preparing for a new job is finding out exactly how long it will take you to commute. Arriving on time on your first day is especially important. Whether you are driving, taking the bus or carpooling, it is crucial that you leave for your new workplace a few minutes early. That gives you time to check in with the front desk, navigate any security checkpoints and find your way to your new office. Showing up a few minutes early also helps establish your reputation as a reliable, capable employee.

3. Dress appropriately

Planning your outfit for your first day involves considering several factors. Think about how formal the work environment will be, whether you will be working outside and what the uniform or dress code requirements are. It is usually better to be overdressed than to appear unprofessional, so you should dress a bit more formally than the requirements.

After your first day, you can follow the lead of other employees and choose outfits similar to them. If your job requires specific equipment or attire, your new employer may provide them or send you information on where to purchase the items you need. Many organizations require business professional attire. This usually means that women will need to wear dress shoes and a dress or a suit with a skirt or slacks. Men will need to wear a suit with a tie and dress shoes. Your shoes should have closed toes, and you should avoid jeans.

Some companies do not require suit jackets or ties, and others discourage bright colours or revealing clothing. Others allow polo shorts and sweaters. Wear a different outfit, but dress the same way you did in your interview for your first day. Tasteful jewelry can improve your appearance, but you should only wear one or two pieces at a time and keep them simple.

Read more: Guide to Business Casual Attire

4. Do your research

Before the interview, many people conduct some preliminary research into the company and its team. However, you may need to wait several more weeks for your first day. Take a few minutes to refresh your memory, and familiarize yourself with the company's mission, history and primary goals. Also, try to find out the names and job titles of the people you are likely to meet when you arrive at your new workplace, your coworkers, and your new supervisor. Preparing this information ahead of time allows you to discuss the company, answer questions and introduce yourself to your new coworkers more effectively.

5. Come prepared for anything

Employers vary greatly when it comes to what they expect from employees on their first day. Some may expect you to spend the entire day familiarizing yourself with the office, meeting the staff and setting up your belongings. Others may ask you to start working right away and assign you to a task or project. To be safe, you should bring any equipment or attire you'll need to start your duties right away. If you will have a desk, you should probably hold off on bringing a collection of items for it. Your employer may not have had time to prepare a designated office space, and your workplace may discourage some desk decorations for a more unified, less cluttered office aesthetic.

6. Listen carefully

For many new hires, the first day can involve exposure to an overwhelming amount of information. You will probably be given a tour of the building, a list of names to memorize and some instructions to follow. To stay ahead, it is important that you practise active listening throughout the day. Maintain eye contact with the people you speak to, and take notes that you can review later. Remember, it is okay to ask someone to repeat themselves or explain an unfamiliar term.

7. Ask questions

Another beneficial way you can handle an abundance of information is by asking clarifying questions. Asking good questions also shows that you are listening attentively and are focused on excelling at your new job. Your new coworkers and supervisor should be more than willing to explain how the workspace functions and how you fit into the team. Finding out exactly what is expected of you early on will help you acclimate to your new environment quickly and efficiently. If someone specific is assigned to show you around, ask them about related subjects such the office layout, the typical lunch protocol or anything else that may not have been included in your introductory email.

8. Organize your space

If you are given an office on your first day, take the time you need to get organized and settle in. This can involve everything from finding out where the nearest bathroom is to setting up your new company computer. Take stock of how much space you have and what supplies you will need to bring from home. A chair cushion, a decorative plant or a wall calendar can all help you feel more comfortable and productive in your new space. You can also get a desk organizer and a good briefcase or laptop case.

9. Get to know your coworkers

Your first day in a new workplace is an excellent time to introduce yourself to the people you will be working with. Take care to remember as many names as you can and try to find out which of those you will be interacting with on a daily basis. Making a good first impression and maintaining positive relationships can help make your hours at work more enjoyable.

Building a rapport with your coworkers can also provide you with trustworthy associates who can answer your questions, offer advice and help you adjust to your new environment. Your coworkers will be more willing to help you succeed at your new job. You can also get to know interviewers and hiring managers during employee training and onboarding.

To build more rapport with people at work, ask questions about their hobbies, where they attended school, and other interesting details about themselves. You can also ask for more information about their job and what their responsibilities are. Listen carefully and then ask some questions about their response. For example, if someone says they like to knit, you can ask them what project they are working on now. However, you should respect peoples' time and speak to them at a later time if they seem busy, bored or distracted.

10. Send thank you notes

Send thank you notes to anyone who helps you through your first day. This includes the person who greeted you at the door, the person who gave you a tour of the office and anyone who went out of their way to make you feel comfortable or welcome. These notes can be emails or physical letters, depending on the formality of your work environment and how much effort the other person put into helping you. You can also thank the person by bringing them some coffee from their favourite cafe, helping them take care of paperwork, or offering to fill in for them so that they can have a day off.