Starting a new job? A first day on the job is cause for nerves for any job seeker. How will my new colleagues welcome me into my new role? How firm is too firm when it comes to my handshake? What should I wear?! No matter how many times we’ve changed roles, without a little preparation, first-day jitters can really get the better of us.

We all want to make a good impression on our first day. Read on for our top tips to overcoming nerves on your first day in a new role.

1. Catch some z’s

Whether you’re heading off to work in an office or a construction site, showing up alert, energised and organised will make you feel solidly prepared for the day ahead. In other words, resist the urge to celebrate your new role with friends the night before and get to bed early.

2. Plan your route

There’s nothing worse than getting to work late on your first day. Check out the anticipated traffic at the time you’re expected to travel and make sure you allow for ample time to arrive a little early. Or, if you’re taking public transport, make sure you know exactly which train to catch, and when.

 3. Dress to impress

Now isn’t the time to protest the corporate dress policy. Dress conservatively on your first day, and give yourself some time to observe the dress code before donning any risky trends. For a corporate role, keep it simple and subtle, and avoid anything too “loud”. You don’t want to be known for that tie you wore on your first day for the rest of your tenure in the company.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

But, as a CEO I asked recently pointed out, you need to question your question before you question. Confused? Asking for clarification and advice on a task can project confidence and help you get it right the first time. Asking about something you already know the answer to or have been told is just a waste of everyone’s time.

5. Your attitude matters

Engagement or disengagement from your work environment is apparent from everything – the way you dress for work, the way you interact with co-workers, and even the way you sit at your desk. If you work with a scowl on and sporting a pair of headphones, people may assume you’re not thrilled to be there and don’t want to be approached. Make sure to get it right on your first day.

6. Say no to drama

Don’t get lured into office gossip on your first day. Workplace drama is a major time suck and focus stealer. Office conflict is an occasional, if inevitable, part of people working together in a close environment, but if you’re always first to fan the flames and make a mountain out of a molehill it will be noticed.

7. Write everything down

From general instructions through to how the coffee machine works, jot it down. Your nerves will be flying on your first day, so it’s important to keep a record of everything you learn so you can recall it later. You’ll be bombarded with new information, and it’ll be near impossible to remember everything. Keeping a written record will help you sail through your induction period.

8. Go big or go home.

Don’t hold back with your big ideas, but make sure the time is right to bring them up. If your boss is putting together a major client tender and you burst in to pitch something completely irrelevant, that’s certainly not ideal. Of course, management wants to hear any good ideas, especially something that’s come off your own back which could help the company run better. Use your first day to show some flair, but use it wisely.


Still feeling nervous? Here’s how to master the art of public speaking.

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