Want to overcome your nerves and smash your first day at work? We’ve got this.
As your excitement builds for your first day at work, it’s likely that your nerves also start kicking in. But don’t panic. With a little preparation, being the new person on the team doesn’t have to be overwhelming – whether your first day is in person, or online.
To help you come across as confident, engaged and motivated to your new colleagues, here are 10 tips for nailing your first day at work:
1. Plan your route
You want to arrive well ahead of time, so you’re not rushing into the office. If you’re driving, plan the route on your SATNAV a couple of days before so you know where you’re going. It’s also a good idea to check if parking is provided too.
Travelling by public transport? Again organise your route; know what train, tram or bus you need to get, and the times they leave. Remember, some public transport providers no longer accept cash, so you may need to organise a pre-credited travel card.
Even if your commute is just travelling down the stairs, make sure you’ve got everything you need to start work on time – or, ideally, a dedicated workspace all set up – before the big day.
2. Nail your outfit
Let’s face it, first impressions count. And what you’re wearing can definitely influence how people perceive you. Having interviewed with the company, you may already have a good idea of the dress code. If you aren’t sure, reach out to the HR team before you start (just to make sure).
Neutral colours work well, and you can always jazz up the outfit with a coloured shirt or blouse. Shoes should match your outfit and also be practical. Keep jewellery simple, like a stylish watch or stud earrings.
Most importantly, you should feel comfortable in what you’re wearing, and your outfit should also boost your confidence. Even if you’re only working-from-home.
3. Glance over the onboarding material
The onboarding documents your new company has sent should be full of helpful information, so make time to read over them before your first day. They should explain your job role and responsibilities, along with any KPIs. Who your manager is, and maybe who your colleagues are, may also be mentioned.
Try to memorise their names and job roles so you’re not having to say, ‘Can you remind of who you are’ throughout your first day.
4. Prepare your elevator pitch
You may be asked to introduce yourself to your new team. So, if you find the thought of a group of new faces staring at you daunting, a prepared elevator pitch will help you deliver your introduction with ease.
An elevator pitch is typically a 30 second to 1 minute speech, covering who you are, what your role is in the company and where you’ve worked before. If you’re comfortable doing so, you can include some personal details as well, like what you like doing in your spare time.
5. Put your phone on silent
Your employer may have a silent-phone policy in place. If not, it’s still a good idea to place it on silent. You don’t want your concentration to be distracted by calls, messages or notifications coming through to your phone.
The same goes for working from home. Even if you’re in a meeting on mute, you never know when you may be called upon to speak – something which could easily be derailed if your phone starts pinging in the background.
6. Leave imposter syndrome at the door
Imposter syndrome can creep in when you don’t want it to, especially on your first day at work. These feelings of self-doubt can be crushing, but it’s also possible to leave them at the door.
Have an action you perform when you feel imposter syndrome coming on. For example, placing a band around your wrist that you snap can help to break the imposter syndrome cycle of thoughts. Another technique is to carry a list of professional achievements that you can pull up when needed, and remind yourself you got the job for all the right reasons.
7. Write down motivational quotes
If you’re feeling anxious about meeting your new colleagues, or need some extra support to help you get through your first day, try reading inspirational quotes around work. Here are a couple of our favourite confidence boosting inspirational quotes:
‘Keep going because you didn’t come this far just to come this far’
‘You can handle whatever your job throws at you’
Still not feeling inspired? Try reading our list of 18 inspirational quotes to help you over the first few weeks and months.
First impressions are lasting impressions, so greeting people with a smile and a cheerful ‘Hello’ will help you to be seen as polite, approachable and friendly. It also shows how happy you are to join the company, and smiling also helps to build connections with your colleagues.
Smiling also helps to hide your nerves, and it’s also shown to release chemicals in the body that makes us feel happy, and when you’re happy at work, you’re more likely to be motivated and productive.
9. Accept an invitation to lunch
If a colleague asks you if you’d like to join them for lunch, take them up on their offer. It may seem daunting, especially if you’re more of an introvert, but it’s a great way to break the ice. Not to mention finding out which nearby cafes or restaurants are worth visiting.
More than that, it’s easier to get to know people in an informal setting, and it allows you to form professional relationships that could benefit your career in the future.
10. Take notes
On your first day at work you’ll be introduced to new people, shown around your new office (if you’re going into the workplace) and told a ton of information. That’s a lot to process and remember in one day. Instead of wracking your brain trying to figure out who does what and how something is done, make notes that you can refer back to. If you’re not great at remembering names, draw a seating plan to remind yourself of who is who.
Taking notes also shows your employer that you’re eager to understand how tasks are done, so you can get ahead with work.
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