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Having a great first day at your new job

The first day at a new job is important, and it can create a lasting first impression on co-workers and supervisors. You can make your first day at a new job easier by being prepared, asking smart questions, and being friendly and adaptable. In some jobs, the first day is just like many others. In others, you may spend most of your first day in virtual or in-person training or orientation. Here are some additional details about the first day at a new job.

Preparing for your first day

Here are some ways you can get ready for your first day of work.

Arrive early

On your first day, make sure you arrive at least a few minutes early to avoid being late and making a bad first impression. Make sure you get plenty of sleep and you're well-rested. If you've never made the commute before, visit a nearby cafe or restaurant around the time you normally start work. Repeat this a few times to get an idea of how long a typical commute takes. If you work from home, test your electronics and internet connection before you need to start work.

Review information carefully

Review any onboarding or orientation materials carefully to make sure you know exactly where you should go and what you need to bring with you on your first day. This paperwork may also tell you about benefits like health care or vacation time and company rules and procedures. Many employers provide an overview of regulations and then go over what people need to know in detail during training.

Take some notes

For a lot of jobs, bringing a notepad or a laptop to take notes during your first days can be a good idea. However, some organizations may not let people bring their own electronics or supplies to work.

Dress conservatively

Until you learn more about the company culture and dress code, choose conservative outfits. When in doubt, dress the same way that you would for a job interview.

Prepare your workspace

If you plan to spend some or all of your time working remotely, make sure you have a quiet, comfortable place to work where you can attend remote meetings if needed. You may need to add internet service to your home or update your computer. People who work in an office may want to bring some pictures of family members or decorative items.

Asking questions

One of the best ways to set yourself up to meet and exceed a new boss's expectations is to ask smart questions. That way, you can learn more quickly, avoid mistakes, and showcase your desire to get the hang of your new position. Here are some good questions for the first day at a new job.

What should I focus on today?

The first day of a new job is usually very different from the subsequent days. You could spend most of the time training, setting up your new office, or even attending a retirement party for the person who used to have your position. When you arrive on your first day, ask this question to show that you're a team player and you're ready to hit the ground running.

Who should I try to meet this week?

Asking your supervisor and co-workers who you should get to know can help your career. You can network with others and learn more from their experience. They can also help you adjust to your new position.

Who do I report to when my manager isn't available?

If your manager isn't at work, you may still need to ask a question or get permission for a special procedure. Asking who you should speak to if you can't reach your direct supervisor demonstrates initiative and the ability to plan ahead.

How does everyone communicate with each other?

Many companies use particular apps for virtual meetings. Employees at some organizations communicate with each other on social media, and you may need to start using a corporate email address. It's also a good idea to know who you should contact if you need to call in sick in the future.

How do performance reviews work?

Knowing the criteria that your employer uses to evaluate you lets you get a better performance rating. You can work to improve the traits and abilities that your employer cares about most. You'll also know which behaviors you should avoid.

Being friendly

Here are some ways you can introduce yourself and start forming relationships with co-workers on your first day.

Introduce yourself

Prepare a short explanation of who you are, why you chose the position, and your previous experience. Be ready to explain your new role to people who may not be familiar with it. You can give a more detailed introduction by uploading your resume and making it easy for people to search for you.

Observe the social landscape

Watch how people interact with each other to find out who gets along best with who. You can also watch your co-workers to find out if people tend to be casual, make jokes, or talk about topics outside of work. Some companies encourage these behaviors to increase teamwork, and others want people to be more serious and focused on work.

Say goodbye

Before you leave for the day, take a few minutes to say goodbye to each of your co-workers and wish them a good night. If they helped you with training or orientation, thank them. This helps you make a good impression and stay on friendly terms with everyone.

Your first day at a new job can be the start of a successful career. These tips can help you prepare for it.

Related reading: Things to know on your first day at a new job

Here's how to get ready for a new job.

Here's how to decide whether you should take that new job.

Here are some things you should know before starting a new job or career.

Interviewing and resume tips:

How much work history to include on your resume

Best (and worst) resume words

Ways to stay calm in interviews

Questions to ask your interviewer

How to answer why you left your last job

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