First day on the job: 10 ways to make it successful

You finally made it. Your first day on the job. You’ve proven yourself through your studies, your resume and your interview. It’s smooth sailing from here, right?

It can be with the correct approach. But don’t confuse smooth sailing with slacking. Now’s the time to assure your new supervisor and coworkers that their decision to bring you on board was the right one.

You’re going to make an immediate impression on the first day. Follow these 10 steps to make sure it’s a good one.

Arrive on time. Remember how important the arrival time was for the interview? It’s still important today. The “15 minutes early” rule still applies.

Dress appropriately. If you’re unsure what the office dress code is, it’s completely appropriate to ask your director or the HR department beforehand.

Ask questions. No one expects you to know everything from the start. Ask questions now because you don’t want to ask a question three months from now that should have been asked on the first day.

Practice your “tell me about yourself” answer. You’ll be asked this question. A lot. Revisit the elevator speech you gave during your interview (it’s okay now to sprinkle a few personal anecdotes such as where you live). Keep your answers brief – people aren’t going to remember a ton of details in the first meeting.

Bring necessary documents. On your first day, you’ll complete paperwork to get you established, such as securing a parking pass, a work badge and paycheck items. Be sure to bring a form of identification (driver’s license, passport, etc.) and bank account information, as it’s likely you’ll be completing a direct deposit form.

Don’t be the comedian. A sense of humor is great, but allow time to figure out the office culture when it comes to jokes and humor. Avoid being labeled the office clown or comedian who doesn’t take his work seriously.

Take notes. Bring a legal notepad on the first day, or grab one at the office. Write things down (you’ll tell yourself you’ll remember it all, but you won’t). Write down questions to ask. It’s likely you’ll carry this notepad for the first few weeks.

Accept an invitation for lunch. Even if you packed your favorite ham and cheese sandwich. If coworkers invite you to join them for lunch, say yes. They’re making the effort to welcome you so take them up on their offer.

Dodge office politics. Offices have cliques. Offices have coworkers who know the 411 about everyone.  Don’t get swept up in office politics on the first day.

Listen. You have a lot to learn.




Avoid these 13 job interview mistakes

The job interview is your chance to show an employer that what they liked on paper (your resume or job application) is the real deal; you are the best candidate for the job opening. Avoid these 13 interview mistakes and you’ll increase your chances of getting hired.

1. Showing up late. When job searching, there’s no such thing as “fashionably late.” Plan to arrive 15 minutes early.

2. Showing up early. Arriving earlier than 15 minutes is awkward for the employer.

3. Dressing inappropriately. The best interviewing skills won’t save you from a bad first impression. Unless you’re specifically told otherwise by the employer, plan to dress professionally. Pay attention to other aspects of your appearance such as hair and nails (groomed), makeup and jewelry (minimal) and tattoos or body piercings (covered and removed).

4. Demonstrating distracting nonverbal cues. Do you avoid eye contact, slouch in your seat or constantly move your hands or legs? These nonverbal habits turn employers off and can make or break the interview.

5. Not researching the company. If you can’t show you know about the company, the department or the job, the interview will be short and the job offer won’t follow.

6. Talking negatively about current or previous employers. No matter how nightmarish the boss was, trashing him only casts you in a bad light. Instead, provide positive answers that focus on the type of work environment you thrive in and what challenges and experiences you’re looking for.

7. Appearing bored. If you lack enthusiasm during the interview, the employer’s left wondering how excited you are about the job itself.

8. Appearing arrogant. There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Know where the line is so you don’t cross it. Learn to talk about your accomplishments without too much bragging and showmanship.

9. Not providing specific examples. Interviewers want to hear about previous experiences as testimony to your qualifications. Reviewing behavioral based interviewing techniques can help you provide specific answers.

10. Failing to ask any questions. The job interview is a two-way conversation. It’s expected that you’ll have well-thought out questions to ask the interviewer when it’s your turn.

11. Asking inappropriate questions. Avoid questions that indicate you’re only focused on what you can gain from this job or give the impression you’re not interested in the position.

12. Providing too much personal information. This often happens when an employer begins the interview by asking “tell me about yourself.” Keep the answer focused on your skills, qualifications and interests as they relate to the job. Developing an elevator speech can help you avoid providing unnecessary information.

13. Answering a call or text during an interview. Turn your phone off – which doesn’t mean putting it to vibrate mode. Believe it or not 49 percent of surveyed employers said job candidates do this – and don’t get a job offer as a result.

Remember the best way to prepare for an interview is to practice, practice and practice some more. Some ways to practice before the interview include: