You finally got the dream job after spending months curating your resume, drafting cover letters and interning to receive this offer. Your first job doesn’t come with an answer key or syllabus of what to expect. However, preparing yourself and following a few rules prove essential to success in the workplace. You spend 40+ hours a week in the office working in close quarters with your colleagues, the people who possess the power to make working fun and exciting or awkward and grueling.
In order to make a killer impression, take a look at the ten things to do on your first day.
1.Arrive On Time
One of the most aggravating traits a person carries? The inability to show up on time to meetings, dates and events. The worst mistake you can make on your first day of work is showing up late. Go the extra mile, set up those ten alarm clocks minutes apart and prepare accordingly. If you live in a city with traffic, give yourself more time in case of an accident and check Waze to avoid slow roads filled with traffic. “I started my first job last September and I woke up three hours earlier to give myself time in case of a traffic jam or emergency situation. I ended up sitting in the lobby for an hour, but I felt relieved and ready going into the office,” said Boston College junior Olivia Cosio. Rather than pulling your hair out while sitting in traffic, treat yourself to coffee near your office because you can relax, knowing you made it on time.
2. Introduce Yourself
Don’t fear walking around the office, introducing yourself and informing your coworkers you just started your first day. “I strongly believe those I hire should introduce themselves to their coworkers on the first day of work or within the first week. It creates a relationship right off the bat and allows for a connection. I think with an introduction common interests are discovered,” said manager of Filene’s Basement Natalia Fishkin. Not only does it help put a face to your name but introducing oneself is a confident and friendly gesture that coworkers appreciate.
3. Adhere to Dress Code
The first thing your coworkers notice about you, even before you speak, always revolves around your appearance. Similar to showing up on time, take the extra minutes to clean up your appearance and pick an outfit that compliments the atmosphere you work in. If you work in a bank, try to dress pants and a dress shirt with styled hair. If you start working in a clothing store, dress like the style of the store’s clothing. Use your judgment and depending on the workplace, make sure to fit in and not stand out for outrageous fashion choices.
4. Ask Questions
Asking questions shows interest, concern and a sense of thoughtfulness. Don’t fear to ask questions that might appear “dumb.” As professors say, no question is stupid and other students might wonder the same, like you. Although a job does not equal the classroom, ask away anyways. “To be honest, during my first day of work I was extremely stressed and confused and I thought asking questions would make me look like I didn’t know what I was doing. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Not only does it help you learn but also helps you succeed in your task and show your colleagues you care,” said Boston College junior Julia Munnelly. Your boss and coworkers will appreciate your eagerness to learn more and your attentiveness and responsibility to fulfill assignments.
5. Observe and Listen
The best way to learn on your first day of work besides asking questions is to sit back and listen to coworkers. Seeing how they go about working, talking to one another and interacting with their boss tells you more about how you should act in turn. By listening to everything, you might answer those questions you previously had. This crucial tool also helps you learn the different faces and personalities in the office, which helps in the future when you need to build teams or find a group for social events.
6. No Distractions
Everyone’s experienced a situation where someone adjacent to you loudly chews their chips, slurps a milkshake, smacks gum in their mouth or watches loud videos on their phone. Not only does it irk you, but it gets distracting and annoying. Do not make the fatal mistake of scrolling through Instagram while working. Most likely, a coworker notices and takes that as a lack of interest from you. Playing around on your phone gives off a very poor first impression. The same goes for eating snacks during work –your coworkers do not want to hear how good those Doritos taste. To avoid this, prepare yourself a big breakfast and lunch to keep you satisfied throughout the day. (or even make use of the breakroom!)
7. Draft Elevator Speech
An elevator speech, by definition, is a 30-second pitch, detailing your background and position in the office. “When I was interning at the bank over summer, I created an elevator pitch for when I introduced myself to fellow internees, colleagues and bosses. I think it helped them recognize me in the office and also reminded them I am a student and allowed for good conversation,” said University of Miami junior Savannah Alario. This elevator pitch should be short and simple and an easy way for coworkers to remember you in the future whether it be to strike a conversation or remember your role within the company.
8. No Need to Overachieve
The workplace, no matter how cohesive and supportive, remains a competitive field, especially in certain areas of work like investment banking, journalism and residency in medical school. Coming in on your first day acting like a know-it-all rubs many the wrong way. You just started your job, so it might be too early to start telling people the right way to go about working. Know your place and respect your coworkers and their superiority within the workplace.
9. Remain Positive and High Energy
People get a kick out of working with somebody who brings energy and excitement to the office. No one wants to sit in a cubicle all day with a Negative Nancy, so even if your day takes a turn for the worse, remain positive and give off a happy vibe. “When I was working at Crate and Barrel and time seemed to be dragging, I always felt better and happier when I was around certain coworkers who always smiled and kept the energy high. It made me leave work in a good mood,” said University of Florida senior, Tara Berg. This helps create friendships and bonds in the world place and generates a sense of trust among coworkers, something extremely desired on your first day of work.
Highly underrated and often overlooked. You finally landed the job! Take a moment to be prideful and smile. The first day of work promises excitement and a hopeful future so enjoy every second and soak it all in. You worked hard to achieve all your goals and score the dream job, so take a moment for yourself to be happy and don’t forget to smile. Again, coworkers love spending time with happy people.