Congratulations! You nailed the interview and landed the job. With the first day of work lurking right around the corner, it’s normal to feel some anxiety creeping in. After all, you want to make a good impression, and being the “new kid on the block” can be a little daunting. Luckily, there are ways to mitigate those first day jitters…and a lot of it boils down to preparation.
As a recruitment agency with 20 years of experience, here’s our biggest piece of advice: don’t wait until the morning of your first day to begin planning. Give yourself at least day or two in advance to start gearing up for the big day. Here’s how:
Plan your outfit
Does your new company favor a casual dress code or business formal attire? You might have had a chance to scope out the scene during an onsite interview, but if that wasn’t the case, don’t be afraid to email your recruiter or hiring manager to clear up any confusion. When in doubt, err on the side of caution—it’s better to be a little overdressed, than underdressed. Pick out your outfit in advance, and try it on beforehand. Trust us, you wouldn’t want to leave any last-minute surprises (hello, hidden coffee stain!) to the morning of your first day.
Pre-pack important items needed for your 1st day
Does HR need your ID, social security card, or birth certificate? Do you need your banking account and routing number to set up direct deposit? Whether it’s HR-required materials or personal items that you’ll need by your desk, make sure to pre-pack any important materials ahead of time. Avoid frantically shuffling through your drawers the morning of your big day—this will only serve to set your nerves off.
Prepare for your commute
If you’re unfamiliar with your new office location, mapping directions well in advance is a precautionary measure you will need to take. If you’re planning on driving, make sure your tank is filled. Who wants to run out of gas on the way to work? (Not us.) Try mapping your commute around the time when you would want to leave for the office. This will offer you an accurate sense of the commute time with rush hour factored in. If you’re planning on taking public transit, check the train/subway/bus schedule ahead of time and figure out which train or bus you will need to catch in order to ensure an early arrival. This brings us to our next point: plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early. Give yourself time to settle into your new surroundings, shake off the nerves, and maybe even forge a few new connections before your day officially begins. As an added bonus, this will give you buffer time…just in case anything unexpected arises during your commute.
Look up your new team on LinkedIn
Have you given in to the urge to do a little online snooping on your future teammates? Running a few LinkedIn searches might actually offer a lot of insight into your company’s org. If you’re notoriously bad with names, give yourself a head start on familiarizing yourself with the faces you will see on the daily. Best of all, you might even find some unexpected areas of common interest. Maybe you went to the same college? Share connections with some of the same people? Take interest in similar hobbies? While you’re obviously not expected to know these things ahead of time (that might come across as kind of creepy… don’t be creepy), it’s a nice way to dispel your nerves and see how you and your future colleagues will be able to find common ground. You’ll likely find that your new teammates also got their start at the company at different times. In other words, everyone has been “the new kid on the block” at some point!
Pack your lunch
…unless you’re told otherwise. Some companies will offer catered lunches, onsite cafeterias, or a special first day of work lunch outing. However, if you haven’t heard any indication that this may be the case, stay on the safe side and pack yourself a lunch. Pack yourself a meal that is easy to eat on-the-go, and something you wouldn’t mind saving for later if you do get an unexpected lunch invite. Either way, you don’t want to go the whole day hungry—save yourself the trouble and have a backup plan.
Get a good night’s rest
Avoid a late night out on the town, and turn in early to get your full 8 hours of rest. You will need to make sure you’re well rested for your first day, which will likely be a whirlwind of new faces and onboarding meetings. Double-check that you have your alarm(s) set and that you give yourself ample time to get dressed, eat, complete any other morning rituals (e.g. coffee, tea, walk the dog) and get to your office early.
Don’t worry about what you don’t know
In other words, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to know everything on day 1. No one is expecting you to come into your role understanding all of the inner workings of your company and all of its processes—a ramp-up period is completely normal. Take the opportunity on your first day of work to get to know your team, acquaint yourself with your surroundings, and enjoy participating in the events of the day as they unfold. Find out if there’s a communication style your company prefers (calls? emails? pings?), and don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions. As you settle into your new role, you’ll be able to observe your office dynamics and familiarize yourself with the culture.
Most importantly, remind yourself that you’ve already gotten this far. Give yourself an inner pep talk: the company chose YOU for a reason, and they want you to thrive and succeed! You’ve survived many first days so far—whether it was your first day of college or the first day of your last job. This is just day 1 of an exciting new chapter…and it’ll only continue to get better from here on out.