21 Things You Should Do On Your First Day Of Work

Though that first day at your new job may be stressful, it’s important to channel your nervous energy and start things off on the right foot. 

1. Prepare and ask questions.

Mark Strong, a life, career, and executive coach based in New York, says although the first day really is more about listening; you can and should ask questions when necessary. 'Generally, you're trying to demonstrate your curiosity and desire to learn. Beware of asking too many questions on the first day, though. You have plenty of time to master the job.'

Taylor says it's a good idea to prepare by writing down both practical and general questions about how you can be most successful in the role. 'By now you have enough background on the company to integrate more in-depth questions at your orientation meetings,' she says. 'Have a list of questions handy for managers you think you might meet. Make sure you also have a contact in HR in case you have very basic inquiries before you start or on your first day.'

3. Show up early.

Get there at least 15 minutes early, suggests Teri Hockett, chief executive of What's For Work?, a career site for women. 'If you haven't done the commute before, practice it a couple of times during rush hour a week before so that you're at least somewhat prepared for the unknown.'

6. Smile.

'It may have taken a while to reach this point, after searching, interviewing, and landing the job, so don't forget to be happy and enjoy the moment,' Hockett says.

Strong agrees, saying: 'We all know that first impressions matter. Smile when you meet new people, and shake their hands. Introduce yourself to everyone, and make it clear how happy and eager you are to be there. Your co-workers will remember.'

7. Look and play the part.

'This is not a good time to show that you're so relaxed that you can walk around with your coffee mug, be a phenomenal joke-teller, or wax on about the day's major business headlines,' Taylor says. When in doubt, take the conservative approach in how you dress and what you say and do. Be as professional as you were in the interview process.

Hockett suggests you determine the dress code in advance so that you don't look out of place on your first day. 'This is important because sometimes the way we dress can turn people off to approaching us, or it sends the wrong message.' Ideally, you want to blend in and make others and yourself comfortable. If you're not sure what the dress code is, call the HR department and ask.

15. Learn the professional rules.

On your first day, your employer will have a description of your responsibilities -- either written or verbal. This is what you should do to be successful at your job. 'With that being said, there is usually a gap between what you should do, and what actually happens,' Parnell says. 'This is important because while you shouldn't neglect any articulated duties, there may be more that are implicitly expected of you. It is usually best to find this out sooner rather than later.'

18. Pay attention to your body language.

Your body language makes up the majority of your communication in the workplace. Assess what you're communicating to better understand how others may perceive you, and make any necessary adjustments.

19. Use people's names.

Meeting all of your new coworkers can be a bit of a whirlwind, and you can sometimes get so caught up in things that you forget people's names.

In a post on LinkedIn, sales training specialist James Lee recommends addressing your fellow employees by name on your first day. This will aid your memory and also build a rapport with your new coworkers.

'If you met someone earlier in the day, remember their name and say, 'hi,' to them directly the next time you see them,' Lee writes on LinkedIn. 'If you don't remember their name, own up to it and ask politely to be reminded. Again, this is a show of respect, and it is also a way to boost their first impression of you.'

One way to help yourself remember, and to build a rapport with your new coworkers, is to address your fellow employees by name on your first day.

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