Starting a new job? Here’s how to have the best first day

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First days can be hard. Do you remember your first day at school? Starting a new job in a new country can feel the same. You may feel lost, alone and nervous.

Remember that feeling nervous is normal. There are ways to feel better on your first day. Here are some tips to have a great first day:

Have a game plan

Decide to do only what you can, so you don’t feel too stressed. Planning ahead will help you know what tasks you need to do each day. A few days before your first day, make sure that:

  • You know who and where you should report to. Don’t think you will go straight to your manager’s office. Some companies want you to go to HR first. You might need to do orientation or fill out papers. If you don’t know where to go, call them a few days before and ask.
  • You know the way to the office. Look at the bus route and times. If you drive to work, know the best way to get there.
  • You know what to wear. Look at the dress code and choose your clothes.
  • You know what to bring. You might need to bring some papers that HR asked for. Also, bring a notebook and pen. You might not have office supplies yet.

Make a great first impression

Come 15-30 minutes before the start time on your first day

  • This gives you time to find where you need to go or look for a place to park your car.You will also have time to relax, take deep breaths if you’re nervous, or go to the bathroom to check your clothes or fix your make-up.

When meeting everyone

  • On your first day, you will meet many people. Be nice, friendly, and open to everyone. You will work with them every day.
  • When you meet someone, say their name again. This helps you remember it. Smile, shake hands, and ask about their job in the company.
  • Use formal language with higher-level workers. Wait for them to tell you to use their first name.
  • Bring a snack to eat in the break room. This helps you meet people. Sometimes, the boss takes the new person to lunch. If this happens, order easy-to-eat food. You will need to talk during lunch.
  • Watch how people act and talk at the company. Learn what is normal and accepted.

Speak up and dive in

First time talking to your boss

  • Learn what your manager wants you to do for the day. Write down important things and make a checklist.
  • Understand your job duties and what is expected of you.
  • Find the best way to talk to your manager. Do they like to talk in person? Or do they like to send emails?
  • Ask questions. If you don’t want to go to your manager’s office often, write down your questions. Then, have regular meetings with your boss. You can meet once a week during your first three months. After that, you can meet less often as you learn more about your job.

Learning the ropes

  • Be active in learning about your work. Do research, read office documents, and ask your coworkers. Don’t always wait for your boss to help you.
  • Get to know your team. Talk to them. Ask about current projects and how you can help.
  • If you can, find a mentor in your team. This is someone other than your boss who knows a lot about the job and is willing to share information with you.
  • Always be open to learning. Even if you have experience, there will be many new things to learn in a new work environment.
  • Don’t compare your new job with your old one and never say bad things about your previous boss or job.
  • Be careful when giving suggestions. While it’s not bad to suggest improvements, some coworkers may see it as being too eager. If you want to suggest changes, do it thoughtfully and carefully. Don’t make it seem like they were doing things wrong before you arrived.

Know your way around

  • Look for the closest bathroom, breakroom (to get coffee or water), printer, photocopier, office supply room, and meeting rooms. If your office is in a building with many floors, remember which floor your office is on!
  • Ask where people usually eat or get food.
  • Learn about the other departments. Focus on the ones you will work with a lot.

Remember these tips for a smooth and stress-free first day or even first week. Good job on getting your new job and good luck!

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