Tips for a Successful First Week at Your New Job

All your hard work has paid off and you’ve landed the job. Congratulations! You’re off on an exciting new journey where you’ll get to meet new people and gain more experience. However, as you approach your first day, it’s easy for your excitement to grow into nervousness, or even fear. Don’t worry, this is a natural reaction - change can be challenging. But you can ease your nerves by doing a bit of planning and preparation prior to starting the new job. We’ve compiled a list of tips to help make your first week run as smoothly as possible.

Plan ahead. Make sure you know the time and place you’ll be expected to show up on your first day. Even if your job is remote, training or orientation might be in person. You’ll also want to know if the role requires a uniform or if the company has a dress code, and dress accordingly. No matter the role or company, you’ll be asked to provide identification and other documentation. Make sure you know what you’ll need and have it ready to share. If you’re someone that gets uncomfortable walking into new environments without an idea of what to expect, consider requesting an agenda or outline of what the company has planned for your first week. Knowing this ahead of time will help you mentally prepare for each day. Everyone’s needs are different, so if there is any information, support, or resources you might need to feel comfortable and prepared, don’t hesitate to ask for it. 

Be on time. This is an easy way to make a good first impression. If you’ll be working on location, make sure you know how long it takes to get to where you need to be. Account for traffic and any other delays you may experience during your commute. Even if you’ll be working remotely, don’t risk being late. Coordinate with your new employer in advance to ensure you have all the necessary equipment and materials you’ll need to be able to get started on day one. Make sure you’ve tested all your technology beforehand to avoid any issues that might prevent you from starting on time. 

Be ready to learn. Get plenty of rest the night before your first day (and ideally every night) and do whatever morning routine you need to feel alert and mentally primed. No matter how many years of experience you have in your field, there will always be something new to learn. Every company has their own way of working and may even use different acronyms or lingo than you’re accustomed to. You’ll also need to familiarize yourself with a new team and company culture. Getting comfortable with all of this takes time, much more than a day or a week, but you can set yourself up for success by arriving with an open mind. You can learn a lot by observing others and being an attentive listener. Review all onboarding and orientation materials provided to you. Be an active participant during any training sessions - take notes and ask questions. Make sure you’re clear about what’s expected of you and how your manager defines success in your role. If at any point you get lost or confused about something, ask. It’s always better to clarify than to assume and get it wrong. 

Build Relationships. Get to know all the new people you’ll be working with. You’ll feel more at home and be more effective at your job as you become more familiar with your coworkers and create a support network. If introducing yourself to people seems a little intimidating, consider preparing some thoughts about what you might say ahead of time. But also remember that conversations are a two-way street, so be sure to ask questions. Learn people’s names and ask them about their role at the company. Do your best to engage with others whenever you get the chance. You might also consider scheduling informational interviews with coworkers if appropriate. This can be a great way to connect with your new peers, especially if you’re working remotely. Building relationships is an essential part of joining a new community, but it’s not always easy. When in doubt, just be kind, and most importantly, be yourself.

Go easy on yourself. At the end of the day, you’re starting something new and nobody’s perfect. You might have some awkward moments or experience some missteps, especially in the beginning, and that’s okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself when things don’t go as you’d hoped. Shake it off and move forward. As long as you’re striving to do good work and to be a meaningful contributor, you’re on the right track.

Your first week on the job can be stressful, but it can also be fun. This is the one and only time you will be new at this company. Remember to enjoy the experience and make the most of it! Listen to yourself and do whatever you need to feel grounded, prepared, and ready for day one. Hopefully these tips will help you shift any nervousness back to excitement so you can enjoy your first week at your new job. Now go get ‘em tiger!!!

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Cecilia Lopez

Cecilia is a social entrepreneur dedicated to helping people find meaningful work that contributes to a more equitable and just world for all. She holds an MBA in Sustainable Business and Systems Thinking, and after a successful career in corporate accounting, she began to seek opportunities to augment her impact. In addition to co-founding Handprint, Cecilia has served as a volunteer board member of Blue Sky Center, a nonprofit serving rural communities in the Cuyama Valley, and, a nonprofit dedicated to inspiring and supporting changemakers. In her free time Cecilia enjoys hiking with her partner and their two puppies, crocheting stuffed animals for donations to Blue Sky, and connecting with friends.