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Tips for a Successful First Day at a New Job

You’ve got the job! After months of mind-numbing searching, multiple interviews and more stressful days than you can count, it’s time to finally sit back, relax and celebrate…

…if by celebrate you mean start working! It’s time to take all of that energy you have been pouring into bettering yourself as a candidate and direct it towards a new challenge. As you may have learned along the job search, often the first step in a new direction can be the hardest one to take. Similarly, the first day at a new job can be nerve-racking. Fear of breaking written and unwritten rules alike can lead to self-consciousness while you’re working to define your new role.

Don’t let first day jitters stop you from starting at full speed! Here are a few quick tips for a successful start to the next chapter in your career:

 Jump Start Your Day

Nothing can slow you down faster on the first day than a morning that goes off the rails! Set yourself up for success by doing as much preparation the night before as you can. Lay out your clothes for the day ahead, pack a lunch or print out directions to your new office; your future self will thank you for completing anything task that’ll make your morning less rushed! Similarly, allow yourself plenty of time to get ready on the big day. Consider adding a half hour of bonus time into your normal routine to ensure you have more than enough free moments to spare in case there’s something you forget and need to address last minute.

Pack Ahead

Unless explicitly stated before your start date, don’t expect anything to be provided for you when you first get set up. Bringing your own tools for first day survival can be clutch when trying to avoid new job chaos; consider packing a writing pad, pen or pencil, fully charged phone and charger, a jump drive, and a lunch (a “welcome to the company” lunch with a manager would be nice, but shouldn’t be assumed!) Anything that will make you feel more confident and able to complete the tasks you anticipate encountering is good to have, just in case.

Keep Notes

Names, locations, directions – the information unloaded on you on the first day can be a lot to process. Before feeling like you’re lagging behind, consider keeping a writing pad and a pen or pencil handy throughout the day to jot down reminders for yourself. Then, at the end of the day, review your notes and pull them all together into a self-reflection journal entry. This way, you’ll be able to keep track of the key points of your new role and easily develop thoughtful questions to help you better understand new people and processes.

 Ask Questions

No one likes to make a mistake. The cringe worthy phrase, “It’s my first day!” has gotten a bad rap as an excuse in the workplace, but now is the best time to ask questions! Think of it this way, would you rather take a few minutes of extra direction on day one, or suffer the consequences of guessing until someone catches your mistakes months down the road? If you’re committed to continued professional growth, asking questions is a great place to start.

Start Setting Goals

It’s never too early to start looking ahead at the impact you plan to make for the organization. Communicate openly with your supervisor from the beginning about the expectations for you in the new role. As you begin to digest the particulars of your new job, it pays to look for opportunities to set solid goals, both personal and for your team. Within your first week, try putting together a 30/60/90 day plan. This will help you determine a path for success within one, two and three months of starting!

Finding a new job is hard work, but it’s only the beginning of the next step of your career! Don’t let the pressure of day one at a new job slow you down. Do you have any tips for surviving the first day at a new job? Let’s talk in the comment section!

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