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.