How to Ace Your First Day at a New Job

By Tamiera Vandegrift on November 11, 2017

Your first day at a new job can be absolutely terrifying. You’ve passed the application process and the interview rounds. Now it’s really time to get started at your new position.

The first day at a new job is incredibly important because it’s a real chance for you to give your best first impression to everyone at the office. Keep in mind that your supervisor and your coworkers will pay close attention to how you act and proceed from the very beginning, so it’s definitely better to start out on a good note rather than working extra hard to change their perceptions in the future.

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Don’t let this psyche you out! After all, out of an entire hiring pool, your employers decided that you were the perfect fit for the position based on your resume and their experiences in interacting with you. So keep calm and carry on. Keep reading to learn how to act on your first day at a new job.

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Step One: Dress to Impress

Pick out an outfit the night before your first day of work. Doing so will allow you time to dig through your wardrobe and decide what would be fitting for your first day on the job. When in doubt, overdress. It’s always better to be too dressed up than not be dressed up enough.

Dressing up demonstrates that you have respect for the office and your position. Think back to how the other employees were dressed when you came by for your job interview or whatever you wore to the interview and dress along those same lines. If you still aren’t completely sure what the dress code is, there is no harm in contacting the HR office to see what’s appropriate just to be on the safe side.

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Step Two: Timing is Everything

Being timely will demonstrate to your supervisor and fellow coworkers that you’re responsible and excellent with time management. Doing so will require some practice. If you aren’t familiar with the area surrounding your new workplace, practice driving there during rush hour. You will learn quickly what time you will have to leave to get there at a reasonable time.

Speaking of time, you will want to arrive somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes, but no more than 20! You don’t want to come off as overly eager. Showing up 10 to 15 minutes early will show your supervisor that you’re passionate about the position and excited to get started. Being early allows you to calm your nerves before you walk through the door as well.

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Step Three: Perfect Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a term used to describe a proposition that’s short, sweet, and to the point. It’s something that can be proposed within the length of an elevator ride. However, you’re not using it to sell anything. Practice a 30-second elevator pitch to quickly introduce yourself to your fellow coworkers, explaining who you are and what your previous work experience is. Keep it short and sweet. After all, rambling is likely to bore your coworkers and distract you from your work.

Even though you’ve passed the interview process and the elevator pitch days seem long behind you, you should still brush up on those skills. When introducing yourself to others, maintain eye contact and have a firm handshake. Doing so demonstrates confidence and maturity, two things that are crucial for getting by in the workplace. Be sure to project your voice and enunciate your words very clearly. Don’t be shy! Your coworkers just want to get to know you, so be the best version of yourself.

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Step Four: Socialize

Speaking of getting to know people, the importance of socializing in the workplace, especially on the first day, cannot be stressed enough. The best insight you can get into a work atmosphere and environment is through the eyes of people who have already worked there for some time. Be friendly and ask tons of questions.

Do your best to remember names, but if you can’t remember, be patient with yourself. Jot down names and small details for you to remember in the future. If you should forget a name, apologize, but make a small, polite joke to lessen the tension and lighten the mood.

Also, don’t be afraid to go the extra mile. Aim to make one friend before you clock out at the end of the day. Make yourself available to anyone who needs help. If your supervisor or your coworkers ask you to join them for lunch, go with them! Your packed lunch will forgive you.

Showing interest in spending time with coworkers shows that you’re interested in the position for something bigger than a LinkedIn update or a recommendation letter. To make the best impression in the workplace, you need to get around the office and spread your kindness and professionalism all over.

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Step Five: Be Professional

Speaking of professionalism, it’s important to retain a sense of decorum no matter how friendly you become with your supervisor and/or coworkers. Keep your phone silent and out of sight. Be ready to do anything your supervisor needs you to do at the first day of your job. It’s likely that your supervisor might hand you a difficult task on your first day as a test, so handle it professionally and calmly by asking questions and being diligent.

Pay close attention when people are speaking to you in order to avoid missing important information or instructions. Take notes throughout the day to retain everything you have learned. At the end of the shift, you might think that you need to impress your supervisor by working overtime. Don’t. Go home and get some rest. You will need all of the time to reflect on your first day at your new job and prepare for day two.

Good luck!

Tamiera is an alumna of Florida State University, having earned a BA in Editing, Writing & Media and a BA in Digital Media Production. Tamiera is an aspiring novelist and screenwriter, inspired by the works of Lars von Trier, David Fincher, and Darren Aronofsky. Tamiera has previously written for the FSView and Florida Flambeau, College Magazine, and more. She has recently published a creative thesis containing short stories based on mental illnesses in the media. In the future, Tamiera aspires to win "Best Original Screenplay" or "Best Picture" at the Academy Awards with one of her film projects. Besides writing and storytelling, Tamiera enjoys cooking, traveling, spending time with friends, and geeking out over movie trivia.

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