Have a Great… 1st Day!

By Joe Stein

At WNYJOBS, we are optimists when it comes to our Job Seekers. We believe that all of our readers will find success in landing their next position, hopefully with a job found on our website or paper. With so many pages of job opportunities, there are many options for a Job Seeker who follows our advertisements.
 
With the assumption that Job Seekers are already thinking about their 1st day in their new position (who doesn’t think those pleasant thoughts), we wanted to provide some tips on how to prepare for that big day. The focus this week will be on the 1st day, but for more information on a longer-term on-boarding plan, or keys to sustaining success at a new job, please reference the archive section of our website at www.wnyjobs.com.
 
1)      Prepare the Day Before – Eliminate the stress associated with getting ready for work by already laying out your clean/pressed 1st day clothes (stay conservative until you understand the dress code), preparing the coffee maker, having gas in the car, etc. Anything that will assist you in getting ready for work and arriving on time, without stops along the way.
 
2)      Develop Your Sleep Pattern – If you have been out-of-work prior to beginning your new job, chances are you are on a sleep pattern that can’t be sustained when working. Whether it may be late nights or a mid-day nap, sleep can often veer from the more traditional pattern. A week before you start your new job become disciplined with your sleep and rest at those times appropriate for your new job. This is especially true if you are going to work an odd shift, such as going to a night shift.
 
3)      Perform Final Studying – In the time between you accepting the position and starting, you will most likely have between several days to a few weeks to perform final preparations. This is a great time to do any final research on the company or review any of the documents provided by the Hiring Manager. Anything that will make you better informed for your 1st day is a good idea.
 
4)      Expect to be Overwhelmed – On your 1st day, you will be presented with more information than is possible to absorb. The key is to try to filter out what is not immediately needed and focus on what is essential to start you on a successful path. By understanding and accepting that you will be overwhelmed, you will go a long way to managing any stress.
 
5)      Arrive on Time – Provide yourself with plenty of commute time and arrive a few minutes early on your 1st day. If traffic is light and you arrive real early, you can use that time to drive around the immediate area to see what is surrounding your new employer (i.e., places for lunch).
 
6)      Come Prepared – Bring a notepad and pen with you to your 1st day. Don’t rely on your employer to automatically provide this. By having these tools already, it displays that you are eager and ready to be trained. Take good notes when being trained, along with noting the names of people you are introduced to. This will help you when attempting to remember who you have met on your 1st day.
 
7)      Be Humble – The 1st day is primarily for listening. Most of your speaking should be in the form of asking relevant questions. This is not the time to criticize anything you see, or begin talking about how well your previous employer used to do something. You will have time to try to change how things are done later on after you have established yourself.
 
8)      Make “Friends” – Unless you were a referral and know people at your new company, you will probably be a stranger to most, if not all. It is OK if you do not “click” with everyone immediately, there will be plenty of time for that. I do suggest, however, that you attempt to reach out to people and introduce yourself. It is even better, if your new supervisor tours you around and handles this responsibility.
 
9)      Stay Positive - Be cautious with sharing any 1st day concerns. Reassure anyone asking, that everything is great. There will be opportunities to share concerns in the upcoming weeks if you are still drowning in new information. The 1st day is not the time for anyone to conclude you are negative.
 
10) Don’t Overdo It – Starting a job is not a sprint, but rather a marathon. You may be very tempted to do an all-nighter and review every document, manual, or policy presented to you. It is important that you are fresh for your 2nd day of your new job. Very few employers will expect you to know everything after day one.
 
11) Review Your Day – At the end of your 1st day (and each subsequent day of your on-boarding), review your day for 10-15 minutes when you arrive home. What did you learn, what went well, and what do you need to do tomorrow?
 
First days are exciting, but they can also be stressful. Proper planning and the right attitude, however, can help remove the anxiety created by the 1st day on a new job. Consider some of the tips above and help place yourself on the right foot, immediately.
 
As always, best of luck in your job search.