Starting a new job is pretty much a daunting experience for us all… you’re probably feeling nervous about learning your new role, panicking about meeting new people and feeling the pressure of making a good impression. Most of the time these worries will turn out to be for nothing, so stay calm and take note of these top 10 tips on how to survive your first week at work.
Plan your journey carefully to ensure you make it to work in plenty of time. This is vital in making a good impression, showing that you are well-prepared and keen to start the working day. Traffic can be heavier than usual during morning rush hour, so make sure you allow yourself extra time to be on the safe side; you’ll never get in trouble for arriving a little early. (Note that this shouldn’t just apply to your first week – do this every day and you’ll keep on the good side of your co-workers).
Being presentable is also a key factor in creating a good impression; you don’t want to look like you rolled out of bed 10 minutes ago. Make sure you wear appropriate clothing and look ready for the day ahead. If your workplace has a dress code be sure to stick to it; they have it for a reason so you don’t want to stand out for wearing the wrong thing. Dress for the job you want; your clothing makes a statement about who you are and where you want to go.
Being organised is key. Make sure you know where you need to be and when, and that you have all the equipment you need. Must-have items to take with you are pens (note the plural – pens always go missing!), a notebook so you can take notes in training sessions, meetings and whenever else necessary, a memo pad so you can jot things down quickly, and a diary to help you keep track of your time.
Do some background reading on the company and the job role; it looks great when you already have some knowledge and understanding about where you’re going to be working and what you’re going to be doing. Another useful tip is to go through what you’ve done each day when you get home in the evening, re-reading any notes you’ve taken to help you prepare for the following day.
Smile and be Friendly
Meeting new people can be one of the biggest challenges in starting a new job. It’s important to be conscious of your body language and facial expression to ensure you come across as approachable. If you’re shy or reserved it can be hard to put yourself out there, but if you smile and introduce yourself to people the rest will follow naturally. Why not offer to make a round of tea, or buy some healthy snacks to share around and help break the ice? Popcorn, for example, is a great mood-boosting food that can raise the spirits round the office.
A good way of creating a positive reputation in the work place is to offer help. Ask people if there’s anything you can do, even if this goes beyond your job description. A willingness to help others is a great quality to have and you will be respected for doing so.
The first week in a new job often involves extensive observation as you learn the ropes. Ensure you are attentive and ask relevant questions and request more detail or context when you need it. Remember, your colleagues were all new themselves once, and should be happy to help while you get accustomed to your new role.
It looks good to show an interest in your new work and be enthusiastic about listening. Pay close attention to what your new colleagues share with you and write down the answers to your questions, along with other useful information. You will learn a lot in your first week and it’s easy to forget what has been said.
Be Open Minded
Walk into your new workplace with an open mind. It can be very easy to over-think situations and worry too much, but if you keep an open mind everything should work out fine. Remember: this is all new to you so take it one day at a time.
Starting a new job also means starting a new chapter in your life where you’ll meet new people, gain confidence and skills, and learn new things about yourself. This is an exciting time so embrace the change in your life and have fun.
So, there you have it, our top 10 tips on how to survive your first week at work. If you follow these, you can turn that nerve-racking experience into a positive one, and before you know it you’ll feel like a proper part of the team. Enjoy it and good luck!