Whether it’s your first job, a new role at a new company, moving up the ranks within your current company or changing industries altogether, taking the right first steps with any new gig can help set you up for long-term success.
Without further ado, here are the top six tips to make your “first day” and the weeks that follow the most impactful they can be:
Prepare for your first day the night before
Even if you’re an early riser, planning for your first day the night before starting your new job will make the morning of much easier. Pick out your best first-impression outfit, plan your commute to avoid getting stuck in traffic, and set the timer on your coffeemaker. Simple prep work will help ensure you’re on-time and ready to roll on day one.
You’ll also be primed for first day success if you prepare your mind and body with a good night’s sleep. It’s not always easy to sleep when you’re nervous or excited, so try relaxing before bed with a hot bath or some calming music. If you really can’t sleep, don’t worry. Practice simple meditation to relax your mind and recharge your body.
Give yourself permission to settle in
Heading into your first day, set realistic expectations and goals for yourself. Don’t expect to wow every single person you meet with a top-notch performance or that next big idea the crew has been waiting for. Your priority for the first few days and even weeks is to settle in and find out how things work – get to know the organization, who you’ll be working with and what the best practices and processes look like. Remember to keep your eyes and ears open, noting who does what and what the company’s culture is like. Keep smiling and more importantly, keep listening. Oh, and don’t forget to ask questions!
Draw yourself a map
Your first few days will be a dizzying whirl of names, faces and job descriptions. Keep yourself oriented by drawing out a quick desk-map of your new office. Include each person’s name and job title next to their seat. This can save you some seriously awkward moments when you’re told to go ask someone a question or help with a project, or if you want to simply greet your new colleagues. A map will also help you cement your first impressions of people and speed up your understanding of the roles and hierarchy of the organization.
Remember – your new company chose you
It’s completely natural to feel nervous about your first day. It’s also normal to feel like you are in over your head at first. But remember that your new employer picked you – for your experience, your application, and your interview performance. They hired you because you’re the right person to get it done! All you need to do now is keep being you, trust your instincts, and rely on your ability to learn.
Be a pair of fresh eyes
One way to add value to a new team from the get-go is by offering a fresh perspective. Turn your company-specific inexperience into a benefit by offering to look over projects or products your team is working on with a fresh pair of eyes. You’ll only be new for so long, so take advantage of the fact that you’re not familiar with certain structures to offer insights that those already familiar with the routine may not be able to see as clearly. Of course, gauge your new team’s level of reception to specific input – you want to be seen as thoughtful, not critical.
Find a quick win or two to boost your confidence
Your first few weeks don’t need to be the pinnacle of your career. But if you can find a few ways to add value to the company early on, you’ll be cementing a good first impression and creating a sense of achievement for yourself, too. You have knowledge from your previous experiences that you can bring to a new team. The immediate contribution doesn’t have to be huge. It could be as simple as sharing some tricks and tips that will help your colleagues use their email more efficiently.
The six tips listed above can help you dive into your career confidently and in a meaningful way that is sure help your supervisors take note early on. They made the right decision, after all! And hopefully, right out of the gates you feel that you made the right decision in your career move, too.
Life is all about making solid decisions and preparing for the future. In the meantime, good luck in your new role!