First impressions count. You can’t turn up on the first day of your new job and wing it. Or you can, but it will be obvious and sure to underwhelm your boss. Holding previous part-time jobs is advantageous and always recommended, but they don’t prepare you for the reality of a full-time, career role. Your boss from your part-time job likely expected mistakes and even issues — they knew it was just a short-term gig. Your new boss will be less forgiving and have higher expectations. Before you start, do your preparation:
Get to know your company.
Even if you covered a lot during your interview, I recommend doing a more in-depth investigation prior to your first day of work. Set up news alerts about your company and follow their LinkedIn page to stay updated. It’s also a good idea to connect with your new boss and follow the CEO on LinkedIn to gain insights into their views and thinking, as well as the organization’s values.
Get enough sleep.
You can’t show up at work as your best self if you’re not taking care of your mental, physical, and emotional well-being. One easy way to invest in self-care is by building stress-reducing habits. The most important is getting enough sleep. In college, you may have been rewarded for pulling an all-nighter to turn your paper in on time. At work, this won’t be the case. A healthy sleep pattern supports numerous aspects of cognition, including memory, problem-solving and judgement — all things you need to perform well. Not to mention, you should plan to be in the office (or online) early on your first day. Sleep will help you do that. Punctuality not only demonstrates professionalism and reliability, but also reduces any panic you might feel around being late.
Plan your workwear.
Whether business casual or formal, choose an outfit that gives you confidence in a professional setting. If you’re unsure what’s appropriate for your particular organization, ask your hiring manager. You can also search the company on social media and gather inspiration from pictures of people in the office. If in doubt, err on the professional side. Having a work wardrobe ready for that first week will ease any anxiety. The last thing you want is to wake up, scrambling to pick an outfit and stressing about showing up on time. This doesn’t mean investing in a new wardrobe. You can even wear the same outfits twice in one week. Just be sure your clothes are clean and look fresh. During the first week, you’ll gain a good sense of what to wear and what makes you feel comfortable in this new space.
Prepare your introduction.
At some stage during the onboarding process, you’ll be asked about yourself. Don’t be too rehearsed, but have interesting facts ready, including your background, degree, and one or two meaningful hobbies you want to share. Consider the impression you want others to have of you. It’s not like a college get-to-know-you icebreaker where an outrageous statement gains you campus kudos. Equally, anything too stiff or contrived won’t flow. Be yourself. Keep it light and conversational with a little piece of information that stands out.
If you love sports or have an ardent passion for cooking, for instance, bring it up. These personal pieces of information will help you connect to others and make you more memorable. Guaranteed, someone will approach you with a similar interest. That’s how you’ll start building relationships, or even better, work friends.