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Andrew Arkley

First Day at Work: How to Make the Right Impression

First Day at Work

Congratulations! You’ve nailed the CV, impressed at interview, and are about to begin your new job.

Amazing, right? 

Yes – for sure – but there’s no denying your first day of work at a new company can be nerve wracking.

Whether it’s a first job, a change of career direction, or you’re building on your previous professional experience, there’s always going to be a lot to get your head around on day one.

Don’t panic, though. The Purple CV team are here to help ease you into your first day of work with our guide to getting it right.

Read on for some of the tips our staff and clients have found useful when starting a new job.

Don’t rush – prepare calmly, in advance

Make sure you’ve planned your route to work in advance. Check ahead for roadworks or tube closures. The last thing your nerves need is for you to be in a rush.

Aim to get near your work in good time. You can always go for a coffee or a walk around the block if you’re too early. 

Head in about five to ten minutes before your scheduled start time. Arriving too early might fluster new colleagues who are preparing induction tasks for your arrival. 

Of course – being late is a no-no on your first day of work.

Think about what you’re going to wear in advance too. You don’t want to be throwing clothes around your bedroom on the morning of your first day.

Does the company have a dress code? There’s no harm in dropping HR or your recruitment contact a note for guidance on this. As the saying goes: Feel smart, act smart.

Get up in enough time to shower and dress without having to rush. Maybe even wear one of your favourite outfits. Dressing well – in clothes you feel comfortable in – will help with your day-one confidence.

You might not be a breakfast person, but a bite to eat before workwill help give you energy throughout your first morning and stop you from clock-watching as lunch approaches.

Re-focus on the job itself

Take some time in the days before starting to go over the job description for your new role and remind yourself of your responsibilities. 

That way you’ll be able to go in with a real sense of purpose, not to mention knowing what to expect as the weeks progress.

If re-reading your responsibilities fills you with fear then consider the fact your new employer would not be hiring you if they weren’t confident that you can not only  do the role, but excel at it.

You’ve got this!

There may have been a gap between accepting the job offer and actually starting (depending on your notice period), so a period of re-familiarisation is helpful.

It might be helpful to write down any additional post-interview questions you have about how you can be successful in the role and about initial expectations. Having these in your back pocket will show your diligence and professionalism right from the moment you step in the door.

Don’t just think about your own role. Check out the company’s social media profiles. What have they been doing lately? Have there been any recent business-wins, major hires or perhaps social events?

Reassuring yourself about the company culture, and why you have decided to work there, will help lessen your anxiety over your first day of work.

Be friendly!

Okay – this might seem obvious, but you’d be amazed how many new starters go into their shells on day one.

Say “Hi” and introduce yourself to everyone you can.

Of course, in a big company, you’re not going to remember everyone’s names. That doesn’t matter. A confident smile and handshake go a long way to building the new professional relationships that will sustain you over the coming months.

If you get a chance, ask new colleagues about what they do in the company. This demonstrates a professional and personal interest which is often considered flattering – and well help you to better understand the workings of the organisation.

In large companies, office politics can be daunting – especially if you’re exposed to it on your first day.

While we don’t encourage involving yourself in office politics, it’s a fact of life in many businesses, and understanding cliques and groups from the start will help your smooth progression and happiness in the workplace.

If you establish that you’re friendly and approachable early on, you will start on the right foot in establishing trust.

If your new boss or co-workers invite you out for lunch – go. It’s a great way to get to know them socially and show you’re happy to blend into the team. Save bringing a packed lunch for another day when you don’t have so much on your mind. 

Likewise, if there are any upcoming social events that you feel comfortable with attending, make yourself available. Bonds of friendship will make work life much easier, a lot more quickly

Take it day-by-day

All your thoughts will be on your first day at work. And that is totally normal.

However, remember it is only one day.

New things are scary – and it’s totally natural to feel anxious about starting a new job. But remember it will pass.

Expectations from management and colleagues will be low. Everyone has been new once, and everyone knows that it isn’t an easy day.

If your fear is getting out of hand, remember new things always turn into familiar things. Reassure yourself that you’ve tackled the biggest hurdle – the recruitment process!

Also remember that while the first day at a new job is important, you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t go flawlessly. If it hasn’t gone entirely to plan workwise or socially, don’t beat yourself up. 

There’s always tomorrow. Keep things in perspective.

Your first day of work: Tips for getting it right

We get it.

You’ve got your new commute to content with, new names to remember, and you don’t even know where the toilets are yet.

But you can do this. Everyone is new once – and you have all the tools to succeed not just on your first day of work – but in your career.

Good luck, and feel free to get in touch if you’d like any further advice.

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