Starting a new job can be stressful. All the new coworkers, new processes, and new responsibilities often feel incredibly overwhelming. However, in order to grow in your career, change is necessary.
During the week prior to the start of your new position, do what you can to prepare yourself, and you should find that your first day goes by smoothly and with few — if any –speed bumps along the way. Taking the time to do the right kind of prep work will help alleviate a lot of your first-day jitters and minimize your stress levels.
Consider asking yourself these four questions to help you prepare yourself for any new job:
1. What Will I Wear?
Plan your first-day outfit in advance based on the weather and any dress-code-related information you received from HR or the person who hired you. Planning a few days in advance will eliminate any last minute stresses and decrease the likelihood of a wardrobe malfunction.
For the first day, regardless of the organization you’re working at, the best choice is to dress in business attire. It’s always better to be over-dressed than under-dressed: you don’t want to give off the impression that you aren’t taking the position seriously. Play it safe, dress nicely, and assess what is considered appropriate attire once you’re in the office.
2. Who Am I Reporting to or Working With?
Find out who you are working with and conduct your own mini-background checks. Learning about your colleagues and/or boss will better prepare you for when you actually enter the office. Become familiar with the people you’ll be working with, and you will feel more comfortable in your new environment.
Take a look at the LinkedIn accounts or other business-related social media profiles of your coworkers to learn their names, positions, and interests. When you’re meeting numerous coworkers all in one day, this little trick can do a lot to help you remember names and faces.
Familiarizing yourself with the people in your office is important because you will likely be talking to them in the future — or at least running into them in the hallway.
Another great resource for learning about your coworkers and managers is to check out the company’s “About Us” page. For example, our website is structured so that we have a specific team page that houses photos and titles of all of our employees, broken down by department. For anyone starting a job with us, it’s a great resource for familiarizing themselves with their new coworkers.
3. Where Is the Office Located, and What Is Around It?
Check public transportation schedules in advance and determine what route you want to take on your first day. If you’ll be providing your own transportation, do a trial-run, or at least make sure you know exactly how to get there. Use a program such as Google Maps to determine the best route possible and your estimated commute time, and you’ll know how much travel time to allow yourself on the morning of your first day.
Plan to wake up a little earlier than needed so that you can handle any delays that may arise. You want to show up to your first day of work at least 15 minutes early in order to collect your thoughts, make a good first impression, and calm your own nerves.
It’s a good idea to scope out some lunch spots prior to your first day on the job, too. Find out what coffee shops are nearby or what convenience stores are close. Familiarizing yourself with these destinations, although seemingly trivial, can make you feel far more comfortable as you start your new endeavor.
4. Why Did I Get Hired for This Position?
Don’t let the first day jitters get the best of you — you were hired for a reason! Be polite, use workplace etiquette, and do the best job you can on your first day. People will notice your effort and willingness to learn, and they’ll appreciate all your hard work. Ask questions when they arise and don’t be shy or embarrassed if you are unfamiliar with certain aspects of the new job.
Take a deep breath and mentally prepare yourself for this new experience and the new chapter of your life that is approaching. Do your best, ask questions, and — most importantly — be open and willing to learn.