Starting A New Job Tomorrow? Here's How to Rule Your First Day

The 5 Secrets to Ruling The First Day at a New Job
Sometimes it feels like getting the job is just the first hurdle. Here's our best advice if you're starting a new job.
Your resume made it past HR’s critical eye, you aced a grueling set of back-to-back interviews, and they offered you the job with a salary you can actually afford to live on. You’d think that means the hard part was over!

But the idea of starting the first day at a new job can give your stomach butterflies that remind you of the first day of school or that time you had to go on stage in the school play. First impressions, not knowing where to go, what to do, or any of your new coworkers...it’s a bit daunting!

Here are a few ways to ensure a successful first day when starting a new job.

get there EARLY (BUT NOT TOO EARLY)

Once, I timed my new commute wrong on the first day. Thankfully, I wasn’t late, because in my anxious state to be on time, I actually ended up arriving 45 minutes early. I ended up sitting awkwardly in the lobby until my new boss arrived an hour later.

While it didn’t do any harm, my nerves only grew for every minute I sat waiting—and I’m pretty sure security thought I was crazy from that moment on.
You never know when you might need someone’s assistance down the road, or when the person you’re chatting with in the bathroom might turn out to be the CEO.

BE PREPARED TO TAKE NOTES

Yes, this means bringing paper and pen. No tapping away on your iPhone. And make sure it’s a professional-looking notebook, like a Moleskine.

Write down everything—from where the office supplies are kept to how your boss expects calendar invites to be formatted. 

Trust me. You think you’ll remember everything and inevitably you’ll end up either remembering wrong and getting called out on it or having to ask again.

You don’t want your boss to think you weren’t listening the first time around.

STARTING A NEW JOB MEANS TURNING OFF YOUR PHONE

I’ve worked in offices where it was perfectly acceptable to look at my personal phone, send texts, and make calls. I’ve also worked in offices where it was definitely frowned upon. Watch what others seem to do and clarify, if necessary.
These types of things are often in a company manual. Try to figure it out without having to ask. You don’t want them to think you plan on being on your phone 24/7. If it does turn out to be okay, leave the ringer off. No one wants to work next to the person whose phone goes off constantly.

MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION

You never know when you might need someone’s assistance down the road, or when the person you’re chatting with in the bathroom might turn out to be the CEO.

In my first job out of college, at a small nonprofit, my boss brought in several candidates for the position. As the office’s Administrative Assistant, she asked me to greet the candidates and make a point of casually chatting with them while they were waiting to get a sense of their personality. Only one actively engaged me back.

Guess who got the job?

While you already have your job, remember that most of the office probably hasn’t met you and making a good first impression is the key to winning people over.

BE PREPARED TO START YOUR NEW JOB BY ASKING SMART QUESTIONS

In this day and age, where we have tons of information at our fingertips, there is no excuse not to be prepared. A bit of Googling can usually produce a list of the senior leadership at the company.

At a previous position, I had someone who was blatantly unaware of who our company’s CEO was and the CEO was a well-known individual, even outside of the company. It left an impression on me (not a good one, by the way) about that person and their preparedness.

Don’t ask things that can be found with a quick search and make sure you search for answers ahead of Day 1. Do ask smart questions about things like office culture, your boss’ preferences, and expectations around your job.

LISTEN & LEARN

Your first day at a new job is the day to listen and learn.

When I’m nervous, I tend to say the wrong thing and regret it. If you’re anything like me, take advantage of the opportunity to sit back, learn, and take it all in. Focus on the office and soak up what your new team and boss tell you.

What are your best tips for starting a new job?