Whether fresh-faced student/graduate or battle-hardened professional, those first few hours of a new job or internship are often among the most stressful and daunting of our working lives.
There are new bosses to impress, umpteen co-workers’ names to remember, IT networks to get your head around and chunky induction packs to plough through. If that wasn’t bad enough there’s one of those new-fangled cappuccino makers to get to grips with.
Here are our top DOs and DON’Ts for kicking things off on a positive note:
Get off to a good start
Start the day as you intend to finish it – in a nice, calm, orderly fashion. Pick out what you’re wearing the night before, get an early night and make sure to wake up to a good breakfast. Leave yourself plenty of time to get to the office, ideally arriving about 10-15 minutes early. If you can, do a dummy run of your route to get the timing right.
Have your introduction ready
With so many people to shake hands with there are an awful lot of first impressions to risk getting wrong. Prepare a 30-second elevator pitch outlining who you are and what you’ve been doing. Think about how to discuss the virtues of your new role with your manager and colleagues potentially in earshot.
Ask the right questions
It’s essential that, in amongst all the small talk, you’re able to source and retain the critical information that you need to hit the ground running. Prepare a list of questions to ask at your induction or orientation meeting or when face to face with your mentor or department head. If nothing else your curiosity will hopefully be interpreted as interest and enthusiasm by the people who matter.
Turn down an invitation
Putting your hand up and getting involved is a sure-fire way to make a positive first impression. Equally, the more people you meet the sooner you’ll be able to get the lay of the land and to understand the organisation’s structure and hierarchy. Strike up conversations with people and say yes to everything, whether that’s sitting in on a meeting, or going for a coffee or after-work drink.
Try too hard
Day one is all about keeping things simple – there will be plenty of opportunities for quick wins and revolutionary ideas over the coming weeks. While you should avoid rushing out the office at 5 pm sharp, you don’t want to be staying late into the night for appearance’s sake either. The last thing you want to do is to burn out in week one.
As important as those first few hours are, remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. You’ll get plenty of other chances to impress if things don’t go exactly to plan. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself, and do your best to relax and enjoy the day.