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7 tips for a successful first day at work

First day nerves? The good news is we’ve all been there, and we’ve all made it through OK. Everyone understands how you’re feeling and nobody expects you to turn up on day one and know everything, make zero mistakes, and churn out a ton of work. But if you still need a bit more convincing, here are our top tips for a successful first day at work.

Be prepared

Do a bit of reading about the place and people you’ll be working for – you can look at their website and you can read through any information you’ve been given along with your contract. Familiarising yourself with the products or services they offer and history behind the business could help you feel more comfortable on day one. And as a bonus, it also shows the boss you’re keen.

Get a great night’s sleep – it’ll help you manage your emotions more easily, focus better, and generally feel more in control. Don’t forget to set your alarm and wake up with plenty of time to prepare.

Have your commute details all worked out in advance too. If you’re not rushing, then you’re less likely to forget something and you’ll start off feeling more relaxed.

Make a good first impression

First impressions definitely do count. Wear something appropriate for the job (if a uniform hasn’t been provided) and look smart. Take the extra time to iron your clothes, have a shave, do your hair, and clean your shoes. If you look professional, you’ll feel more professional.

Make sure you arrive on time, if not a little bit early. Employers will look really favourably on good timekeeping; it shows commitment and enthusiasm as well indicating that you’re reliable.

Show confidence

Even if you’re quaking in your boots, keep a smile on your face, give your colleagues eye contact when they speak to you, and shake hands firmly. Try and remember to speak up so that people don’t have to ask you to repeat yourself. Even just acting confident can give you real confidence.

Be enthusiastic

Pay attention to everything you’re told or shown. You won’t be expected to remember it all, but your colleagues will appreciate that you’re trying. You can always ask for a pen and paper and jot down any notes you can refer back to later.

Make sure you fully understand what your job is and what is expected of you, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Check your work

When you’ve been shown how to complete a task, take a minute to check everything is correct before you move on to the next one.

Nobody is infallible, and especially not on your first day. If you can find and correct any errors, it’ll boost your self-esteem and build your colleagues’ confidence in your abilities.

If you’re really stumped, or if you think you have made a mistake you can’t fix, don’t sit there stewing on it – just ask for help. Most people are only too happy to help out the newbie and would rather show you how to do it right than have to fix something later down the track.

Take your time before you leave

Don’t be the first person to rush out the door. If you haven’t finished your last task, just take that bit of extra time to finish up – it’ll save you time in the morning and your effort will be appreciated. Make sure you tidy up your work area before you leave too.

Thank everyone who has helped you on your first day – not only is it polite, but it’s a great way to ensure they’re still keen to help you in future.

Think positive

You’ve been hired for the job above all the other applicants because your employer saw the potential in you and must have thought you would make a good addition to the team. So remember – you can do this!

By the time you walk through the door on your second day, everything will already feel a whole lot more familiar and it won’t be nearly as daunting.

Learn more

We have lots more tips and information on the world of work on our website here.


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