Top 15 Tips for a Great First Day at Work

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 16 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

The first day at a new job is often full of new experiences, people and processes. Preparing ahead of time can help you improve your confidence, stay organised and appear professional. If you're starting a new job soon, you may be looking for advice to help you make a good first impression. In this article, we explain why your first day at work is important and share 15 tips to make it great.

Related: How To Start a New Job Virtually

Why is your first day at work important?

Your first day at work is important because it's an opportunity to introduce yourself to your colleagues and impress your supervisors. You can also use your first day of employment to survey your workplace, identify which co-workers may be the most helpful and study how people interact with each other. This can help you develop a better understanding of what your employer expects from you in your new role and set you up for success in your career.

15 Tips for a great first day at work

Here are some tips to help you impress your new colleagues and enjoy your first day at your job:

1. Dress up

Carefully choose your outfit to make a good impression and ensure you're meeting the company's dress code. Consider wearing a dress shirt and a tie or a pantsuit with oxfords, flats or sensible heels. If you notice that everyone around you is wearing more casual attire on your first day, you can adjust your clothing choices moving forward. You can also take off your tie or jacket later in the day if it seems appropriate.

Related: Business Formal Attire vs. Business Casual Attire

2. Plan your commute

If you drive or use public transportation on your first day, leave at least 15 minutes earlier than you normally would. Rush hour traffic could make your commute take longer than a typical trip to the same area and showing up for your job early is much better than being late.

This can also help you ensure you have enough time to find parking and locate your workplace. If you're more than a few minutes early, you can use the extra time to prepare for the day.

3. Review onboarding and orientation materials carefully

On your first day, you may need to review employment contracts and take care of some paperwork, such as tax forms. Read any materials you get carefully to understand your new employer's health insurance coverage, retirement plans, holiday policy and more. You could get some of this information after your first day, and you may need to read some of it at home. Save this paperwork so that you can review it later if needed.

Related: What Is Onboarding?

4. Ask plenty of questions

New hires have a lot to learn, and asking questions now can help improve your performance in the future. For example, you may need to ask which tasks to prioritise or how often your supervisor prefers to get updates. Being inquisitive also shows that you want to do well in your new position.

5. Be friendly

Smile, be cheerful and introduce yourself to as many of your new coworkers as you can. During breaks, you can start conversations by asking about which restaurants people enjoy eating lunch at, what the best coffee shop in the area is or if your coworkers have any exciting plans for the weekend. Trying to get to know your co-workers on a personal level can encourage them to think of you as one of the team. Investing in professional relationships early can also help you advance in your career.

6. Prepare an elevator pitch

Give the people you meet a short explanation of your work history and your new job. Tell them where you worked last and what you'll be doing in your new position. You can also prepare to talk about why you changed jobs. On your first day, your employer may ask you to introduce yourself to the rest of the team, so having an elevator pitch prepared can help you make a great first impression.

Related: How To Make a Powerful Self-Introduction (Tips and Examples)

7. Eat lunch with your coworkers

If your boss or some of your co-workers invite you to lunch, consider taking them up on the offer. Eating lunch is a great way to make friends and find out more about the people you work with. You may even end up sharing a meal with your coworkers frequently, which can help you build strong professional ties and advance in your career.

8. Observe others

In most work environments, learning from the right co-workers is important. Listen to people's conversations carefully and watch their behaviour. This way, you can focus on emulating the most successful people and making friends with the people who can help you most. You can also get useful advice about how to succeed at your new job.

Related: How To Improve Your Listening Skills (With Tips)

9. Be available to your supervisor

Your first day at work could be extremely busy. Between talking to your co-workers, getting essential training and completing the onboarding process, remember to check in with your manager a few times. You can ask questions or just ask if they need anything. If your supervisor sends you an email or tells you to come to their office, respond immediately. This demonstrates both respect and enthusiasm.

10. Pay attention to your body language

Being conscious of your body language can help you ensure you align your actions with your words and intentions. Make eye contact with your colleagues during conversations to show you're actively listening to them. You can also stand and sit up straight to appear more confident and professional.

Related: Types of Nonverbal Communication (With Definition and Tips)

11. Relax

Relaxing on your first day can improve your productivity and help you focus on what's important. Make sure you're well-rested by getting a good night of sleep before work. You can also prepare for your first day in advance by planning your outfit, packing your bag and prepping your breakfast ahead of time. This can help you feel calm and confident on your first day. Throughout the day, take a few moments to practise deep breathing or a short meditation exercise to promote relaxation and decrease stress.

12. Clarify expectations

Make time to meet with your supervisor or employer on your first day to clarify what they expect from you during your first few weeks with the company. Often, new hires have an onboarding and training process to complete, but it can be helpful to understand how your role may change once you've finished these requirements. You might also ask which team members they suggest reaching out to if you have questions about specific tasks.

Finally, make sure you ask about any large projects or tasks you may be responsible for to ensure you have all the resources you need to be successful.

13. Stay positive

Maintain an upbeat and positive demeanour on your first day by focusing on how excited you are for your new role. This can make you seem more approachable and help you connect with your colleagues. It can also show your employer that you're grateful for the opportunity to work for their company. Your positive mood may even make your coworkers feel happier by simply being around you.

14. Be yourself

Strive to communicate with your colleagues authentically so they can get to know who you are as a person. You might choose to share facts about yourself or look for shared interests you may have with your new co-workers. Some great topics to discuss during breaks include pets, hobbies and activities and favourite restaurants. You can discuss your family, your hometown or your previous job roles as well. Look for opportunities to join in conversations if you have something relevant to contribute. This can help you bond with your co-workers.

15. Say goodbye when you leave

When you're ready to leave, thank your supervisor for hiring you and let them know that you enjoyed your first day. If they feel talkative, you can talk to them about your day and how you plan to handle future projects. Wish them a good night and tell them you look forward to seeing them tomorrow. This can help you ensure you leave a good impression at the end of your first day.

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