Ok so the media would have us believe that while the big R word is still implanted in everyone’s heads, (that’s recession, for any of you lucky ones who have managed to avoid the media horror stories) that no one could possibly find a new job in the ‘current climate’. However for those of you lucky souls that are about to embark on your new job, here’s a checklist of things to ensure you make the most out of your first day.
1) Dress for Success- It’s a sad fact of life but the way we dress really influences how people respond to you. Avoid looking scruffy at all costs and make sure you dress for your environment and are aware of the dress code. If you are allowed to dress casually, don’t embarrass yourself by wearing a suit, alternatively if it is a smart environment, perhaps trainers and shorts might not go down particularly well. If you were too excited at interview to ask what the office dress code is like, make sure you call them beforehand so you can be prepared.
2) Be Punctual- Ok so it’s an obvious one, but getting ready for your first day might just mean you end up faffing too long, and don’t allow enough time for the traffic on your new work route. Get up bright and early, make sure you are aware of how long it will take you to get in the office, and get there early to make that stellar first impression. Of course it would be advisable to keep this up, as there is no point making a special effort on your first day and then strolling in at twenty past nine every other day!
3) Notes, notes, notes- You are most likely going to be bombarded with a lot of new information that people expect you to absorb instantly. But let’s face it, we’re human and sometimes we need a bit of help. Make notes as you go, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. There’s nothing worse than nodding along as if you understand and then asking people weeks later for help on something they think you should know. People will be much more understanding if you ask for help on your first day, no one expects you to be a superhero. Unless that’s your job...
4) And You Are?- Your new colleagues are lucky and only have to learn one new name, but you are surrounded with a sea of faces and about as much chance of remembering them as memorising the periodic table in an hour. So my advice, make a sneaky table chart- and jot people’s names down as and when you know them. Yes, it might be sad, but find a way that works for you. People will appreciate the effort you’ve gone to by remembering their names, and you don’t have to tell them about your chart!!
5) Throw yourself into Office Life- If your work colleagues invite you for a coffee at lunch, don’t hide behind your computer and eat your soggy sarnies by yourself. Make a discerning effort to bond with your fellow colleagues and get to know them, you will have to work with them day in, day out, so take the opportunity to find out what they are like and what they do, rather than being left on the sidelines. If you refuse their company it may make it just that bit harder to infiltrate the office banter.
6) Be Friendly/ Take Initiative- You don’t have to suck up to fit in, so I’m not suggesting you put a shiny apple on the boss’s desk, but why not offer to make everyone a coffee? Just a small gesture will show you are amiable and willing to fit into your new environment, something that everyone will appreciate. If the photocopier is out of paper or the water cooler needs changing, don’t just walk away, ask where the paper/ water is, and show that you are a team player in every respect.
7) Avoid Disputing Office Protocol- Whether you disagree with the office rule that you can’t take cigarette breaks, or you think something could be done more efficiently, you are not going to be popular being the one to say it. ‘At my old work we...’ or any derivative of this phrase should be avoided at all costs. Just accept things are going to be different from your old job and find a way to accept any new customs or ways of working which you may be unfamiliar with.
Good luck on your first day!!