5 Things You Can’t Do on The First Day of Work

First Day on the JobSeveral weeks into a job search, many recent grads are starting to see job offers come in. Soon, it will be time for that most nerve-wracking, yet exciting, of days: the first day on the job.

And many of these new entrants to the workforce have a million and one thoughts running through their heads:

  • What will my new boss be like?
  • Will I get along with my co-workers?
  • How soon can I start digging into my new projects?

If this is the position you find yourself in, you might also be so busy thinking about the big picture – and so ridiculously excited – that you overlook the little, but infinitely important, details of your first day at work… like these:

You Can’t Be Late

You’re probably going to take a new train line, a new bus route, or a new freeway to get to your new job, and chances are, it’s going to take longer than you anticipate. Test drive (or test ride) your new route before you start your new job so you know how long it takes and you don’t end up being late your first week. Factor in extra time if there’s traffic, construction, etc.

You Can’t Forget Your Documentation

When you start a new job, you usually need to fill out a variety of forms and paperwork. This means you’ll probably need your driver’s license, social security card, and possibly a passport. Set the items out the night before you start your new job so you don’t forget them It’s also a good idea to check with the hiring manager to find out if there’s anything else you need to bring with you, which will ensure that you: 1.) get paid on time and 2.) don’t make enemies out of the HR staff on your first day.

You Can’t Blow Off Orientation

Many companies require new employees to go through an orientation or training process during their first week in a new position. It can be tempting to blow these sessions off or treat them lightly: don’t. Your training managers, even if they’re not going to be your direct supervisor, are watching you. If you treat these classes lightly or smirk during video presentations, you can bet that the training mangers will be reporting your behavior back to your boss and team members. Likewise, thoughtful questions and attentiveness on your part can prove to the hiring managers, training managers, and your future bosses that you are really invested in your new position.

You Can’t Forget Learning Comes First

Of course you want to make a great impression during your first week at a new job, and show your new employers they made the right choice in hiring you. And while enthusiasm is admirable, wanting to implement new policies and ideas right from the get go (especially if you’re in a managerial position) may not be the best way to align yourself with your new team. Before you start changing policies and implementing new initiatives, take the time to really learn your job, your team members, and how everything functions together in the company as a whole. From there, you’ll be able to make the kind of contributions that your bosses will appreciate and your co-workers will respect and stand behind.

You Can’t Fail to Ask Questions

You may be so eager to start your new job you don’t want to stop and ask questions. Or maybe you don’t want others to know what you don’t know. But by skipping even the most basic questions (even those you might be embarrassed to ask), you are setting yourself up for failure. You need to ask everything – from what your specific job duties are to who can help you set up your computer to how documentation is recorded.

These small things might be easy to neglect during the first days and weeks at a new job. After all, if you showed up late for school, no one really cared. Don’t show up at “mandatory” school functions… whatever. Never wanted to raise your hand in class either, right? Afraid of looking stupid or like a suck-up? No problem.

Not so in the workplace. These issues can make or break you in the eyes of your new employers and co-workers. Deliberately focus on these issues your first day, week and month, however… and you’ll make an excellent first impression, and get your career off to a great start!


About the Author: Writer and editor Noël Rozny is passionate about using contemporary job search tactics, including social media, to helping students and job seekers find the career that’s right for them. Follow Noël on Twitter.




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