Starting with a bang: How to approach your first day at work

By J&C Team

In many ways, the first day of a new job can be more nerve-racking than the job interview itself. Whereas an interview might last for an hour and come to nothing, suddenly everything feels very real when you turn up for work on day one. And while your first day is unlikely to decide your career, it is always good to make a decent first impression.

Here are 5 tips for making the most of the new challenge:

1)     Be enthusiastic. This is obvious but true, and one of the most important things to remember in any job. However, enthusiasm doesn’t mean saying yes all day and complementing everything. Just as important is your body language, and how you interact with other people.

2)     Ask for help. If you know everything on the first day the chances are the job will not be a very fulfilling one, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. As well as helping you progress, asking questions is also a great way to build a rapport with co-workers. In truth, everyone enjoys talking about themselves, and if you give them the opportunity to tell you about their job, you are likely to create a good working relationship.

3)     Take some initiative. More often than not the jobs you are given on day one are fairly simple. Once you have completed them, it is always a good idea to ask you can help anyone. By taking on more complex tasks you will be able to learn faster. Just make sure you don’t appear pushy, which brings us to number four.

4)     Don’t be the boss. Whereas asking people about their jobs can create a bond, telling them how to do their jobs is a great way to destroy any relationship. Working hard will naturally earn you authority over time, but for now it is more important to respect the seniority of others.

5)     Listen. On day one, learning is much more important than showing what you know. If you spend your whole first day talking and not listening then by day two you will not have acquired very much knowledge. However, if you can take in as much as possible – not only from your boss but also from your colleagues – you are going to progress much faster.

While it is important to make a good impression in the opening stages of any role, it is also helpful to see your first day not as a one-off test of your ability, but as the start of a learning curve, and the first of many important days in the future. It is not going to make or break you as an employee, but what you learn in your opening period will give you the basis to progress in your career. Good luck!

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Words: David Press, CEO of Proceed