Sep 29

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5 Tips for Your First Day at a New Job

Congratulations! You’ve landed a new job (maybe your first out of college), and you’re not quite sure how to act and what to do on the first day. There’s no second chance at a first impression, so take the time to polish your dress shoes, make sure you’ve got a reliable ballpoint pen, put on a strong, confident smile, and go forth with these five tips to ensure your a successful first day on your new job.

Show up early, and stay late.

Early is on time, and on time is late. Set your alarm clock for a half hour before you’d normally rise, and test drive your route, so there are no unexpected surprises on your first day. Showing up early tells your new employer that you are organized and value your work.

At the end of the day, hang around until you know when your colleagues typically leave. Punching the time clock at 5 pm won’t score you any points if everyone else is staying until 6.

Dress the part.

Not every job requires a suit and tie, or a skirt and heels, but it’s same to assume that faded jeans and a graphic tee will be frowned upon. You may have gotten an idea of the office dress code at your interview, but give Human Resources a call if you can’t remember.

Take notes. 

Your first day on the job will probably whiz by in a flash of introductions, meetings, and trainings. There will be five different people named Amanda, and you’ll be expected to remember a complicated, multi-step process for operating the coffee machine. Invest in a sturdy legal pad, a small notebook, or a great note-taking app for your smartphone; you’ll thank yourself later.

Ask for help.

When your new boss gives you your very first assignment, try to gather all of the information you’ll need to complete the task. But sometimes, in a new job, there will be things you just don’t know. Asking for additional assistance won’t make you look stupid; it will make you look genuinely concerned with the quality of your work, and your boss will probably appreciate your attention to detail.

Socialize with your coworkers, but avoid office gossip.

Join your company’s kickball team. Bake cookies, and share the recipe. Tag along when your department goes out for happy hour. Taking part in office-sponsored activities, and showing interest in your coworkers will build and solidify important professional relationships.

On the other hand, it’s important to avoid the water cooler rumor mill. Remember that old saying, “believe only half of what you read, and none of what you hear”? That applies here. Your participation in gossip or trash talk — especially when you’re still the new kid in town — could have a real negative impact on the workplace.

Have a great first day!

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