In a few weeks, I will be an official employee at my dream company.
In the past when I started a new job I would show up on the first day bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with no idea of what I was supposed to be doing or where I was supposed to go.
Often times this resulted in me looking and feeling awkward or out of place.
The idea of this blog piece is to shine a light on the process of preparing for your first day and help you access all the tools for a successful transition into your new professional opportunity.
As kids, we would prepare for the first day of school by going out and buying all our school supplies and sometimes a new outfit.
We would attend back-to-school night where we would meet our teachers and fellow classmates.
You would spend time walking down the halls exploring different classrooms and ultimately gain a better understanding of where you would be learning for the next year.
The first day is always a big day filled with excitement and eagerness to get started.
So here are five steps to help you master your first day at work!
Step One: Plan Your Departure
Getting a new job typically means you are leaving a job.
One way to alleviate some of the stress is to take some time to plan and get organized.
If you’re currently employed, be sure to give notice to your employer (two weeks is typical)
No one likes a no-show.
Providing notice is also a way of respecting the professional connections you've made.
You never know when you might have to reach out in the future so it's best to leave on good terms.
Step Two: Plan Your Arrival
This is usually a step that many people forget or neglect however when done right it will ease your stress levels and leave you feeling prepared for your first day.
If you can arrange to have a few days off before the start of your new job I would highly encourage it for a few reasons:
- It allows you to decompress, relax and start anew with a refreshed and engaged brain.
- You can take a drive to your new job location. See how long it will take you from point A to point B. This will also ease any stress or worry that you may have about finding the building or getting lost on your first day.
- Try and plan a small visit to the office to see what it looks like and to have an opportunity to meet your co-workers. When I started working at my previous job I did this and it was so nice to see familiar faces when I showed up on my first day.
Step Three: Make A To-Do List
Having a To-Do list is extremely beneficial besides who doesn't like the satisfaction that comes with crossing things off?
I may be a little biased because I believe To-Do lists are the greatest way of staying organized however please use whatever organization method that works best for you!
Documenting everything you need to do before showing up on your first day allows you to have a “clean slate” on day one.
Also, this is a great reminder to really utilize step two and make sure you have some time off before your first day so you can arrange all of your appointments prior to your start date so you don't have to ask for time off right away.
Step Four: Research, Research, and Research
You should already have a clear idea of what your job entitles and the day-to-day responsibilities but it's always a great idea to start learning about the company.
Expand past the about us page on the main website and start looking for articles or interviews where your company talks about their history, products, services, or any new and upcoming projects.
If the company has a mobile app, take some time to download it and get familiar with how to use it.
Or if the company has free products and services explore how they operate.
This is a step that many people miss so by doing this you are already ahead of the competition and well on your way to a successful transition.
Step Five: Show Up
First impressions are everything.
Be sure to arrive at the office early and ready to learn. My dad always said if you’re on time you're late.
Being early allows you to take your time in setting up for the day while looking more organized and put together.
Another part of “showing up” is your appearance.
The best advice I ever got from a manager was “ Dress and act for the position you want” essentially look at every opportunity as an interview for your next job.
Someone is always watching.
Bonus Step: Don’t Stress
It's natural to worry or stress over a new job in fact I would be worried if you weren't!
But try to remember that you landed this opportunity because of your current skills and personality.
This new job should be an exciting fun new opportunity for you to grow as an individual, personally and professionally.