by Sally Sparrow
First impressions on day one count our top findings can be summarised as:
1. First impressions matter, so it pays to make an effort on your first day in your new job. Dress appropriately, ask the right questions and, above all, be on time.
2. Try and take a tour of the office and introduce yourself to as many people as possible, though don’t worry about remembering all their names.
3. However, don’t try too hard to be liked.
4. If your new place of work does indeed offers a ‘buddy scheme’, it’s a good idea to make use of it.
5. While you should try your best, don’t worry too hard, and do relax a little. New starters generally tend to be eased in, so don’t push yourself too hard.
6. Be realistic from the start; your first job may not be particularly glamorous but it is your first taste of the working world.
7. Make notes so you don’t have to remember everything day one.
8. Even if you hate your first job, stick with it for six months to prove to yourself and future employers you’re employable.
Make a Good Impression
Just as it’s essential to make a good impression in a job interview, so too is it vital to make a good impression on your first day in the actual job.
After all, two or three people at most would have met you at interview, while your new company may have hundreds of employees who will be meeting you for the first time.
So, do what you can to ensure that your new colleagues, including your supervisors, see you as a welcome addition to the team.
Above all, you should:
- Be Punctual
Arriving late to your first job, whether it’s on your very first day or during your first few weeks is unlikely to endear you to your hard-working colleagues. So, be sure to make the effort to get to work on time.
If you’re going straight into work after a long summer and lazy post-university holiday, you may need to get used to getting up early, plus consider carrying out a practice run to your new workplace beforehand so you know how long it will take in rush hour traffic.
- Dress Well
Again, it’s key to make a good impression and, when it comes to starting a new job, the clothes make the man (or the woman). After all, like it or not, some of your colleagues make form negative views of you from the start if you turn up either too scruffy or over-dressed on your first day.
So, think back to what people were wearing when you went for an interview and copy this – your first day is no time to assert your ‘individuality’! Or, if you are unsure what to wear, remember it’s better to be too smart than not smart enough, and you can always ditch the tie and suit jacket.
- Be Inquisitive
Take advantage of being the new person and being new to the world of work in general. This is your chance to ask as many questions as you can, so use it!
So, without being too annoying, show genuine interest in what those around you are doing, make notes and show a willingness to learn.
This will stand you in good stead, though be aware that after a few days, your colleagues will expect you to be a productive part of the team and may soon tire of your questions.
- Make Yourself Known
Try and take a tour of the office and introduce yourself to as many people as possible.
Don’t worry about remembering all their names (the chances are they will need time to remember you) but do try at least to familiarise yourself with the names and faces of people you’re likely to be working closely alongside in your new role.
- Smile a lot and be friendly
However, don’t try too hard to be liked. So, steer clear of making any jokes until you’re sure how they’ll go down in your new environment. And above all, resist the temptation to join in with the office gossip or ask personal questions on day one.
- Watch your language
If your prone to swearing a lot when your in a social environment with your friends, it can be easy to use the wrong language – think about what you are going to say and don’t swear even if other staff members do, remember you are new and need to be careful, you will have a probation period and as such no employment rights, where as existing staff members could have been employed for years.
- Make Notes
Ask for a notepad and a pen; you may need to remember who does what, and key information. It’s quick and easy to make some notes as you are being told or shown, things or people, you can always computerize or update your phone with key information later, and no one likes to keep asking the same questions over and over.
Our brain can only process so much information and you need to remember key information the next day, so make notes.
Find a Friendly Face
If your first job is with a big company, then you may well be given a mentor or ‘buddy’ to show you the ropes. If your new place of work does indeed offer such an initiative, it’s a good idea to make use of it.
Alternatively, if there is no buddy scheme on offer, it’s still worth finding a friendly face who is happy to share their experience with you. With any luck, they’ll be able to offer you some practical advice and answer those niggling little questions you may be afraid to ask your new boss.
Take It Easy?
Remember that nobody expects you to overdo it on your first day, so ease into your role, however remember that all eyes will be on you, did they make the right decision hiring you, you need to prove they did, don’t over do it day one, show that you’re keen to learn.
If you do have any worries or concerns, your first day is the best time to bring them up, so make sure you do. Don’t, however, use your first day to harry your boss about your benefits or holiday plans. Get settled in before you get onto that.
Very few people step straight into their dream jobs. In fact, many people look back on their first jobs with a mixture of horror and amusement.
So, be realistic from the start; your first job may not be what you want or particularly glamorous, or what you want to spend the rest of your life doing, but it is your first taste of the working world. Learn from it and think ahead so you can use it to open new doors for you as and when, always remember to go into it with the right attitude.
What’s more, even if your first job turns out to be a complete nightmare, stick at it for at least six months then you’ve proven to yourself that you’re employable and you have a job to add to your CV now.
Learn how to use your new job to put together a great CV here.
Want to know what your rights at work are, well the best place is from the Citizens Advice and their Adviceguide site, go straight to their advice on your Basic rights at work page.
Keep track of how your salary is doing on a national basis check out the site Average Salary – dont do it very often though, its only a rough guide.
Any time you need to think about your career and need inspiration then see our Career Guide section, or if your new job doesn’t work out then come back and use our online job centre where you can see local jobs advertised.