First day jitters are a natural side effect of getting a new job, and believe it or not, they’re a good sign. The right preparation ahead of your first day will go a long way to ensuring that all that adrenaline propels you over the office threshold full of confidence and excitement, rather than anxiety and trepidation.
‘Being nervous isn’t bad. It just means something important is happening.’ These are the words of sporting legend, Michael Jordan, but they are as applicable in the corporate environment as they are on the sports field. In your case, something important is happening – namely, the next chapter in your career. The right preparation will make sure you’re on the front foot from the word go, and we’re here at FindMyWhy, not only to help you identify your core purpose and dream career, but also to launch you on your way confidently equipped to realise your full potential. With this in mind, we’ve highlighted the ten key ways to make sure your first day is memorable for all the right reasons.
Make Your First Day Count – 10 Ways to Banish Nerves
1) Rise and shine!
Get an early night and set your alarm to allow plenty of time for a relaxed, stress free start to your day. Avoid the snooze button (you’ll regret it later, otherwise), and, regardless of your usual morning drill, this is one day to make sure you eat a proper breakfast. There’s no way of knowing what your schedule will be like, or when you might get a break, and few people operate well on an empty tank!
2) Dress for success
Make sure you know what that means in the context of your new employer. When you arrive, you’ll want to feel like you instantly fit in, rather than stick out like a sore thumb for being over or under dressed. This may require a bit of sleuthing to determine the dress code in advance; if it wasn’t evident at interview (perhaps you met off site or interviewed via video conference) then look at photos from the website, or even call your point of contact for on-boarding, and ask. Hit the shops if you need to but avoid the mistake of buying up a whole wardrobe until you’re confident of what people tend to wear – just pick up a few staple items. Above all, plan your first day’s outfit carefully the day before, try it on, then lay it out ready a couple of days before – if you’re going to discover a stain, loose button, or scuffed shoes, it’s better that happens with enough time to sort it out.
3) Route march
However confident you are of the journey plan for your new commute, don’t rest on your laurels. It’s called sod’s law for a reason – unplanned road closures, rail delays and ‘leaves on the line’ never crop up when you’ve got all the time in the world to get from A to B. Have a back-up plan up your sleeve, and, if you’ve got time, do a practice run of the journey (at the relevant time of day), including drop offs en route. Fill the car up with petrol, or buy your train ticket in advance, and remember to leave enough time for those unexpected things like de-icing the car!
4) Domestic arrangements
Think ahead about what’s going on at home in your first week. Your goal here is to free up as much head space (and time) as possible to focus on the new job. It won’t always be like this – very soon, it’ll all be as routine as your old job – but getting used to a new commute, new colleagues, new systems and duties is exhausting enough, and you won’t want the added stress of flying by the seat of your pants on the home front. Make sure any significant family members are ready and briefed to pull their weight, and that they’re mentally prepared for any impact on them. If your new routine might involve some long-term change at home, or a regular shift of domestic duties, it might be worth getting this under way well ahead of your starting the new role; working out the kinks in new domestic routines will be easier before you start the new job! Even simple things like preparing, bulk buying or batch cooking some easy dinners for the first week will mean that you can relax more when you get home after work. And, finally, the last thing you’ll need is a punishing social schedule until you get the measure of the new job and its associated routine, so try and keep as clear a social diary as you can for the first week.
5) Do your homework
You’ll have done a lot of preparation and research ahead of your interview process, but now it’s time to revise! Review your research regarding the company and plan some insightful and useful questions which you might have the opportunity to ask on your first few days. Work on your elevator pitch so you can use it as a confident opener when you’re introduced to new colleagues. And, on the subject of new colleagues, you don’t need to wait until day one to get to know them. Use tools such as LinkedIn to look up the people you’ll be working with, so that you can engage with them more confidently when you meet them in person.
6) Goal setting
First day experiences vary significantly from one company to the next. Some organisations plan a very structured on-boarding process for their new joiners, taking care to think about what it feels like to be new, and organising an involved schedule throughout those first few days. Equally there are plenty of employers who ‘wing it’ with cursory on-boarding procedures, and little in the way of structure or direction for newbies. That – plus the fact that it’s your career and therefore partly your responsibility too – is why it is important to be a self-starter and arrive with some of your own goals and objectives. Go prepared to make yourself busy on your first day – either with work that’s handed to you straight away, or activities you can keep busy with until you acquire your own projects. That means taking the time in advance to revisit the job description, recap the interview conversation and remind yourself of what you’re there to achieve or deliver. Take some job relevant reading material with you, as this can be a great ‘gap filler’ for those parts of the day when you have no meetings scheduled and, as yet, no independent work projects.
7) Go in with an open mind
Your first day is about listening and absorbing as much as you can. Avoid making any hasty judgements about the office culture, office politics, or individual capabilities, and don’t allow yourself to be drawn into any office cliques.
8) Pack your bag
It’s more commonplace than you can imagine for new joiners to completely forget to bring in all the requested documentation on their first day. Don’t be the person who has to be chased and reminded by HR; double check all the correspondence you received in your offer pack. The admin side of things is dull, but important, and once you get stuck into the job itself, you’ll have less time or headspace to be form filling. Key things you’re likely to have been asked to bring on your first day are your passport, NI number, proof of work permit (where applicable), any professional certificates, and possibly a random selection of company forms to be signed and returned. Dig them all out the day before and pack your bag with everything else you might need, so that you’re not rushing round on the first morning. Invest in a decent notepad and pen, don’t forget your phone / device chargers, and pack a couple of snacks to keep the hunger at bay.
9) Don’t take lunch
While we are on the subject of food … the chances are you’ll be taken out by your boss or colleagues for lunch, and if not then treat yourself or offer to take them out. Today is not the day for a packed lunch (apart from anything else, it’s another thing to eliminate from the first morning routine!). Sequestering yourself away with a sandwich and a flask on day one won’t help you to meet people and integrate with the team, and if it turns out everyone else does that, you can always nip out for a sandwich and bring it back to join them.
10) Take a moment – you deserve it!
Enjoy your success and, above all, relax and ease off on the self-imposed pressure. If you’ve time, get there early enough to have a coffee nearby before you’re due to walk through the door. It’s not every day you start a new job, and it’s worthy of celebration. And while you’re psyching yourself up, remember that although it’s important to make a good first impression, day one is about getting to grips with the basics. Nobody is expecting you to know everything, remember everything or make any ground-breaking changes to the status quo – at least not until tomorrow (!). Now … switch your phone to silent, stand up tall, smile and go get ‘em!
Beyond Day One: Your First 100 Days
Day one in your new job is a huge milestone and a great achievement. For further support on how to maximise this new opportunity, turn to FindMyWhy. Developed by our team of expert psychologists, FindMyWhy is a free online personal purpose project which will advance your understanding of you as an individual, your unique strengths and values, what motivates you and how you are perceived by. All of which will fully equip you to bring your best self to bear, not only in those crucial first 100 days in your new job, but long beyond.
Created by our expert team of psychologists, FindMyWhy starts with a free online questionnaire which drills down to the core ‘you’ and produces bespoke reports to help you to channel and manage your career accordingly, at every stage of your professional journey. FindMyWhy will help
you to get to know yourself better, to understand your strengths and motivating factors, which can be the difference between having a new job and building a career. FindMyWhy is fully mobile and tablet enabled, so you really can do it anywhere, and the reports are yours to keep forever, providing a handy reference guide for the future. Visit our website to read the testimonials from those who have tried it and loved it and to see how you could define the course of your professional and personal life by unlocking your potential and keeping the real you in the driving seat of your career and life journey: www.findmywhy.com