Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CAREER DEVELOPMENT / DEC. 20, 2013
version 4, draft 4

How to Handle Your First Day at Work

If you are not nervous on your first day at work then you’re some kind of superhuman. There are new people to meet, a new role to adapt to and a range of new responsibilities that you will have to get used to. Your first day can also be an overwhelming one as there is a lot of new information to take in, but being prepared will assist you in better handling your first day at work. Below are some tips on how to make sure your first day at work goes smoothly.

Dress to impress

As soon as you walk through the door, you will be exposed to the observation of your coworkers. It is only natural for employees to notice how you are dressed. Ensure that you are dressed professionally, and comfortably. You may find that everyone actually dresses casually the whole time and you can wear jeans and a shirt every day, but on your first day it is best to play it safe. Try and find out beforehand what the dress code is and at the very least wear slacks and a shirt. It is better to be a bit over dressed than under dressed. You don’t want your coworkers to think you haven’t made the effort and are treating the job as unimportant.

Set up your workstation

Put your belongings away in a neat and tidy location. I know that it can sometimes be hard to get out of the messy habits which we have, but do try to have a relatively tidy workstation. Don’t have all of your belongings hanging off the back of your chair or scattered across your desk. Also if you are dealing with a lot of confidential information; keep it in a locked draw if possible, but whatever you do don’t just leave it on your desk for all to see. The more organised you are, the better the impression others will have of you.

Be friendly and polite

When meeting new people for the first time be friendly and polite towards them. However, try not to get too personal with them on the first day, they probably don’t want to know the new guys life story. Also remember not to get too hands on with anyone as you may find yourself out of a job pretty quick. You may think you’re just being friendly, but it might make other people feel uncomfortable. Say hello, introduce yourself to everyone you meet, and do your best to remember people’s names!

Listen carefully

You will be given a lot of information during the course of your first day and it is essential to absorb as much of that information as possible. Keep your eyes and ears open to your new surroundings and be sure to observe as much about your new work environment as possible. Important things to remember are the names of the people you are going to be dealing with directly and also how to complete your daily tasks. Of course they will not expect you to remember everything from the first day nor will they try and explain everything on the first day, but do try to remember as much as possible. No one likes to keep repeating themselves. A good tip is to carry a small notepad and pen with you and jot down notes as you go.

Take a break

During your first day of work you may find yourself unable to tear yourself away from your workstation. It’s natural because you want to be the best worker possible and prove to management that they did indeed make the right choice. Nevertheless, it is essential to take a breather and find the time to recollect your thoughts and re-energize. Don’t be afraid to make yourself a drink either. It’s always the same when new employees join; no-one ever dares venture into the kitchen to make a cup of tea! Be brave and offer your co-worker a cup too!

Overall, the important thing is to be professional, tidy and not get to personal with people on your first day at work. It may be hard to stick to all of these rules. I mean we have all probably broken at least one of these rules on our first day at work. However, try and stick to as many as possible and hopefully your first day at work will not be your last. 

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