If there’s one thing that’s up there as one of the most nervous moments in your life, it’s your first day at a new job. The night before is a whirlwind - you keep changing your mind about what to wear, you worry about everything that could go wrong and you wonder what you’re getting yourself into. The day itself arrives in no time and soon enough, you’re walking up to the front door ready to start your new career.
When I think back to my first day at the job I’m in now, it gives me goosebumps. I was so nervous for lots of different reasons. Worried my colleagues wouldn't like me, worried it wouldn't be the job for me, worried I would mess up and on and on.
Your first day at a new job is the start of a brand new adventure for you. And although it can be nerve-wracking, you can also make it a day to remember for all the right reasons. So here are some of the things you can do to nail your first day at a new job.
Wear Something You Feel Comfortable & Confident In
A company doesn't just hire you because they think you’ll be able to do the job well. They hire you because of who you are too. In the first practice interview I ever had at university, I was told by the panel how much they appreciated my honesty, and that reflected in how I dressed too. Since then, I’ve always worn outfits to interviews that make me feel like me.
Making a good first impression isn't just down to playing the part - it’s about looking the part too. I’m a girl who takes 15/20 minutes every morning to put my make-up on and I always plan what to wear the night before. Doing things and wearing clothes that make you feel comfortable will really help to relax you on your first day at a new job and help you walk in confidently.
Go in Strong
On your first day, you want to go in and show everyone why hiring you was the right thing to do. Show up early, give your colleagues a big smile and make conversation. Make yourself comfortable at your desk (but leave accessories and pictures of your cat to a minimum for now!) We spend a lot of our time at work so your first day is the best chance to get off to a great start.
Can you guess how to NOT nail your first day at a new job? Don’t bring anything with you. I’ve been in situations when a new employee hasn’t even brought a pen with them and let me tell you, it’s pretty awkward.
A notebook and a pen are definitely things you should pack in your bag, plus a diary if you use a paper one. And don’t be afraid to pull it out straight away. If someone starts telling you about something, feel free to stop them and say “do you mind if I just get my notebook?”. Then just write everything down. Email addresses, phone numbers, times of the day when certain things happen - everything you think is important. You might not need some of this information at a later date, but on your first day, it’s always beneficial to write down as much as you can.
You might also be asked to bring in some documents like your Passport or Driving License. If you are, then pack these the night before so there’s no chance of forgetting them.
Bring a bottle of water with you and a few snacks - your first day can be so manic with everything you’ll be told about, you might not have time to catch your breath!
Ask Lots of Questions
Your first day at a new job is the best place to ask questions. It’s where you can find out more about your role, the company and the people you’ll be working with. Don’t think at any point that you’re asking too many questions - you won’t come across as annoying, honestly. And really, you learn the most by asking questions.
If you can think of any you want to ask before you go in, you can always write these down in your notebook the night before.
The first day of my new job was like information overload. There was so much to take in and when you’re being mentally pushed like that, it can be really draining. There’s no denying that your first day will be really tiring, but it’s so important to pay attention.
Even things like how your team answers the phone, their system when it comes to making brews, what time they take lunch - all of that is important information for you. Don’t be afraid to ask about these things either. One of the things I always ask is about milk for brews!
Some of these might seem like really small things, but in the long run, they really pay off to know about. But you also shouldn't feel like you can’t ask twice either. If you’re not sure about something, ask again until you completely understand.
Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help
There’ll be a point when the job you’re in will be completely yours and you probably won’t have to ask for as much help. But it never stops. Even people who have been in their careers for years will still ask for help. If I’m not sure about something or want a different opinion, then you can bet that I’ll ask for it.
Especially in your first few days, you should completely take advantage of the fact that you can ask as many questions as you want. We’ve just hired a new member of staff in our team, and our manager said to her many times on her first day, “ask as many questions as you want.” It’s good to know that they’ll be answered. Plus, it’s also a great way to start conversations with your team.
My mum gave me this piece of advice when I started as a temp for the business I work for now - that piece of advice helped me gain a permanent position there.
You want to do your role well, but you also want to do things outside of your role too. Show people how much you know, how much you can do and how talented you are. Make it clear that you’re happy to get more responsibility and take on more tasks if that’s what you want. Offer help if you see a co-worker struggling. Ask if they need any urgent tasks doing. If your team are stressed, offer to make them a brew. These are just some of the ways you can make a name for yourself.
I also think it’s important to not be afraid of failing. Things always go wrong, and you probably will mess up at some point. But if you’re too careful and afraid with everything you do, then you’ll never show people your full potential. Take chances and aim high. You were hired for a reason - you don’t have anything to prove, but you definitely want to show them that you’re up for a challenge too. Plus, your co-workers wouldn't give you a task to do if they didn't think you could do it. There’s a lot of trust in that.
I’ll say it again - you’ve been hired for a reason. You were the best candidate out of everyone. You delivered and they like you. The fact that you’ve been offered the job should give you all the confidence you need to walk in on your first day, be yourself and smash it.
Don’t be afraid of nerves - they’re natural and we wouldn't be humans without them. But don’t let them overwhelm you. Don’t let them take anything away from what could actually be a pretty good day - especially if it’s a job that you really really want.
How did you feel on the first day at a new job? How do you cope when you’re feeling really nervous?