Guide to surviving the first day of your new job

What to say and do on your first day at a new job

The first day of a new job can be extremely stressful but exciting at the same time. There is a lot to think about including what to wear and how early you need to arrive to the office. 

Just follow these tips and you will blitz your first day. 

Find out what to wear on your first day

The best way to suss this one out is to pay attention to what people in the office are wearing during your interview stage – if you notice everyone is in corporate wear, make sure you follow suit. If everyone is in smart casual, it is still a safe bet to arrive for your first day in a suit – always better to be overdressed than underdressed. During your first day you’ll get a really good sense of how others present themselves at work so it will be much easier making a wardrobe choice for the second day. 

Arrive early or at very least be on time 

Make sure you arrive at your new job early or at least be on time for the first day. You don’t want to be known as the person who is late. If you are driving, ensure you leave plenty of time in case of traffic jams. Check public transport timetables the night before you start a new job and if possible try to catch an earlier service in case one is cancelled. 

Be confident

On your first day try to remain confident, even if you feel overwhelmed. The company hired you for a reason so take the day’s events in your stride and once you feel comfortable in your new role you can start suggesting ways to improve your position. 

Familarise yourself with your new office

You will very likely be taken on a tour of the office when you start a new job, so you may not even need to ask where the toilet is. But if you’re not sure, don’t be shy – it can be a good way to break the ice with your new cubicle buddies.

Ask lots of questions about your new role

If there is a concept that you don’t understand in your new role, or a task that you don’t know how to do, then write down a list of things you’d like to ask and arrange a time with a knowledgeable staff member or supervisor to go over your questions. They may be able to give you some training and guidance in these areas – or at the very least point you in the right direction so you can do some further research in your own time. 

Be organised 

Depending on what your new job is, you could be thrown in the deep end and be asked to start working on a project straight away. If that’s the case try to be as organised as possible and prioritise what you need to do. You would have learnt how to manage deadlines while you were at university, so don’t stress and do one thing at a time.  

As the saying goes – ‘a new job is like a holiday’ so enjoy the experience of starting a new job, meeting different people and working for a different company. Remember that you were hired for a reason so good luck!

Don’t forget these tips on your first day in a new workplace:

  • Arrive at your new job on time
  • Be confident
  • Ask plenty of questions
  • Be organised

Give it a go:

Everyone will experience the first day of a new job, so just stay on track with the tips above and you’ll make a great first impression. But if you make a mistake on your first day at work such as saying a colleague’s name wrong or you accidentally break a chair, don’t stress. Someone has probably already made the same mistake before. Remember tomorrow is a new day and people will eventually forget.


CPA Career Mentor


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