Preparing for your first day
So, they offered you the job. Congratulations!
Starting a new job is always a bit nerve-wracking, especially if it’s your first full time job.
Will you like the people? Will they like you? What should you wear? What if you make a mistake? With all of this going through your mind it would be a miracle if you weren’t nervous.
Fortunately, everyone who has started a new job knows exactly how it feels. So, your fellow workers will be trying their best to make you feel welcome.
What can you do to make the move into your new job a bit less daunting? Here are a few ideas to help you get ready for work.
What to do before you go?
- Try to get an early night, even although you may be too excited to get to sleep.
- Get your clothes, and everything you need to take with you, ready the night before.
- Set at least one alarm clock.
- Try to eat breakfast – it might be a while before your first break.
What will you wear?
- This depends on the job and the company, so check out how the other workers dress.
- Clean, smart and appropriate is the bottom line – dress fairly conservatively until you know the score.
- Some larger companies and organisations have a ‘dress code’ – ask if they have one.
- If you need to wear a uniform your employer will tell you in advance, and usually supply it – if in any doubt just ask.
- You may need to wear protective clothing or footwear, especially on building sites or in workshops – check with the employer whether or not they’ll supply these or if you need to buy them.
How will you get there?
- Check bus or train times in advance (going and coming back).
- Set off early just in case of unexpected delays (such as a traffic jam).
- Have a back-up plan in case the bus or train doesn’t show up on time.
- If you’re driving, do a practice run before you start and allow time for rush hour traffic.
- Take a copy of the directions or a map if you don’t know the area.
- Do everything in your power not to be late, but if you are ever a victim of ‘circumstances beyond your control’ (accident, emergency, train strike) apologise and explain.
What do you need to take with you?
- Money (make sure you have change for bus fares, lunch and snacks).
- Starting letter (take the letter offering you the job and telling you who to report to).
- Lunch (take something to eat and drink, unless you know you’ll be able to buy lunch at or near work).
- Work clothes and tools (if you need things like work boots, overalls or tools the employer will usually tell you in advance, but if in any doubt ask the employer before you start).
What should you do when you arrive?
- Ask for the person you’ve been told to report to.
- Smile and try to relax.
- Listen carefully and watch what’s going on.
How can you make a good impression?
- Concentrate, listen and be prepared to learn.
- Work hard and show initiative.
- Be polite and friendly.
- Be on time.
- Don’t get involved in gossip or back-biting.
- Keep your sense of humour.
What if you don’t understand or can't remember what they want you to do?
- Ask them to explain it again.
- Keep asking questions until you’re clear about what to do.
- Write instructions down – jotting things down is OK. There’s a lot to remember in a new job.
What if you make a mistake?
- This is bound to happen at some point, so don’t panic. Everyone makes mistakes, especially when they’re nervous.
- Own up, ask how you should have done it and do it again.
What if you feel that you're not going to like the job?
- It’s easy to feel overwhelmed on your first day – there’s so much to remember and learn, so try not to panic.
- When you get home and have the chance to talk about things you’ll soon put things into perspective.
- Fitting in takes time – you won’t get the real feel of the place and the people on the first day, or even the first week – don’t expect too much too soon.
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