10 Tips for a Successful First Day at a New Job

Thursday, February 18, 2021
10 Tips For A Successful First Day At New Job

Congratulations on the new job! 

Once the initial feeling of celebration subsides, though, you now have to face your first day.

Starting a new job is exciting, but it can also be nerve-wracking. You have the opportunity to make a totally new first impression, and you should definitely take advantage of that. It doesn’t have to be as scary as it sounds.

You got the job for a reason, so remember that.  follow these 10 tips to ensure you have a successful first day at your new job and leave feeling like you’ve set yourself up for long-term success.

Err on the side of overdressed.

As you plan your first-day outfit, err on the side of overdressed. Even if you’ve read or heard that the company dresses casually, business casual or a somewhat formal business attire will never steer you wrong.

Rather, being underdressed will make a less positive impression. If you slightly overdress the first day, your level of effort will make sense to those around you. However, if you severely underdress or even slightly underdress, that impression can stick with you.

If you know for certain that no one at your office wears a full business suit and tie, opt for a business casual or slightly elevated business casual look. The idea is, overdressing (within reason) is always better on the first day.

Be prepared with questions.

Though your outfit requires physical preparation, you should be mentally prepared for your first day as well. This includes having a list of questions for your boss and coworkers. 

Though you don’t want to try too hard, you also shouldn’t feel the need to pretend like you know what’s going on when you’re new to the office or company. People will be expecting you to ask questions, so take advantage of that time to be new and not have all the answers.

Your questions will also showcase your interest in the company, willingness to learn, and readiness to do the work.

Arrive early.

Especially on the first day of a new job, plan to leave and arrive early to make up for any confusion about where to go or the process of arriving. And, of course, you’ll want to leave a positive first impression.

Getting there early will allow you to settle in and avoid some first day stress and will also give you a chance to meet some coworkers or your boss before people really start getting to work for the day.

You will also demonstrate your professionalism and commitment by showing up early.

Know your worth (and stay humble).

Before you head to your first day at a new job, know what you’re bringing and offering to the company, your boss, and your coworkers. Have a solid understanding of your strengths and what you bring to any group or project so you can show up that first day confident in yourself. 

And, at the same time, show up with humility and a willingness to listen and learn from others. Your coworkers will absolutely notice and respect your confidence, but they also want to know you’re a team player and aren’t trying to completely change the culture of the office or company. (This, of course, only applies if your job isn’t to specifically change the culture of a company.)

A balance of confidence and humility might sound difficult, but knowing your worth inside will show through, while you remain respectful of the situation into which you’re entering as a new hire.

Introduce yourself to as many people as possible.

Once you’re at your new office or working in your new company, introduce yourself as the new hire to as many people as you can. People like to meet new folks in the office for some fresh energy, and by introducing yourself on the first day, you’ll set the stage for better relationships moving forward.

You’ll also start to get a feel for the company by meeting as many of your colleagues as you can, asking them questions, and taking mental notes. And you might as well start your time at this new job by making friends! Having allies is never a bad idea.

Find a mentor or buddy.

Not only should you meet as many people as you can on your first day, but you should also try to find a mentor or buddy who can help you through your first few weeks at your new job.

Maybe the company has already assigned you a mentor or buddy, but if not, it should be somewhat clear right away who is willing to take on this kind of role.

Having a mentor will help you have a confidant if you run into any issues down the line, and a mentor will also help you navigate the waters of your new company from the perspective of someone who’s been there.

Then, when you’ve been there a while, you can be a mentor for a new hire as well!

Get lunch with coworkers.

If you usually like to bring your lunch to work, skip it--at least for the first day. Some of your coworkers will want to get lunch or go out to lunch with you to get to know you better, and many companies organize first day lunches anyway.

You don’t want to skip the first day lunch. This initial social gathering can help set the tone of camaraderie between you and your colleagues and also help you get to know the company culture better by asking questions in a less formal environment. 

Besides, it’s more fun! You can bring your lunch most other days if you prefer.

Take notes.

You should definitely take mental notes as you meet people and get to know the company better, but you should also be prepared to take physical notes. Bring a notebook or iPad with you, and take down names of people, company jargon, protocols, etc. 

Sometimes, the adrenaline rush of a new experience can take over, and though you might think you’re absorbing all of the information you need, you could forget it later, after that rush has worn off. So, just take notes in case!

Then, when you get home from your first day, you can review the names of people who you met and guidelines you learned. This will help you come back on your second day even more prepared! People will also be impressed if you can remember everyone’s names after just one day of work.

Keep an open mind.

Though you might have expectations about your new job based on what you learned in your interview or what you’ve read or heard, you should always be prepared for your expectations to be wrong. 

Keep an open mind about what the company is like, what the expectations are of you, what your office space will be like, etc. Some people bring decorations for their offices on the first day, only to find an open concept office with no room for their family photos.

By showing up with an open mind, you won’t be disappointed by what you find and will be able to much more easily adapt to any changes as they happen. You will also show respect for the process and for the way the company has run before you arrived.


Finally, though the first day can be anxiety-inducing, do your best to relax. Be yourself. It’s easier said than done, of course, but you will survive, and people will like you, as long as you show up as you are and follow these basic tips. 

If you are prepared for the first day and show up with intention and an open mind, the experience should be relatively fun and easy. Know that you might get overwhelmed with new information, and that’s okay. 

Taking notes and meeting new people will help with any of those first-day jitters. Try to relax and have fun!