First day at work

First Day at Work: How to Prepare and What To Do (2024)

Firstly, I would love to say congratulation on your new job offer. I guess that’s why you’re here wanting to know all you need to know or do in preparation for your first day at work. I guess you have some level of anxiety in you right now. If I’m correct, I need you to know that, that’s very natural.

The first day at work anxiety is that quirky feeling we feel when we are attempting a new task or moving into new terrain. You want to deliver as promised. Yet, you’re not sure of what the style would be like in your new workplace. You don’t want to disappoint your new boss, but you’re not yet sure of all he expects from you. You’re not sure how to conduct yourself acceptably among your new colleague in the new office. These are natural freaky-feelings. It is a form of performance anxiety.

There are a couple of things you need to do, learn, and know to perform your job as expected. For instance, you will need to: meet your new coworkers, get acclimatized to different areas of your office or building, make a good impression, learn more about your responsibility, the company’s rules and policies, and so much more.

However, as simple and exciting as the above tasks are, many new employees tend to flop on their first day at work. Hence, the focus of this article is to address and proffer a reliable and sustainable solution to the flimsy mistakes and ugly experiences that could have been avoided by employees on their first day of work. So before I continue, I would like you to sit up and get rid of anything that could divide your attention as you read through this article.

The Anxiety of First Day at Work

The anxiety of first day at work is what most new employees grapple with or cannot even handle. The first day at work can be very overwhelming because you are about walking into a completely peculiar and unfamiliar environment. Research in the Sciences established that people are “hard-wired” to feel anxious in pretty much any new situation. It is, therefore, a natural thing to feel anxiety on your first day of work.

Specifically, most employees feel nervous or uncomfortable on their first day of work because of the new work environment and the heightened urge to impress at the workplace. This urge — if too much — often takes them off-track and ultimately results in an awkward moment that lingers in their memory for some time.

What is your temperament? Are you an introvert or an extrovert? It does not matter which, you are prone to get nervous or anxious on your first day at work.

However, you can beat your anxiety and at the same time, resist the huge pressure to be perfect on your first day at work by being as meticulous in planning. Your preparation towards your first day at work will help you feel less nervous and more confident. Preparing yourself with a lot of positive things ……..will surely calm your nervousness and boost your confidence.

First Impressions In The Workplace

First day at work

There are many things in life that you can do again and again. But making a first impression on your first day of work is not one of them. First impressions in the workplace are one of the crucial parts of your first day at work as it can affect how your boss and new co-workers will perceive you throughout your stay in the workplace.

It is human nature for new co-workers and colleagues to form perceptions about the ‘kind’ of person you are based on initial impressions. These immediate judgments can turn into long-term perceptions that may impact your career trajectory, and ultimately your success, at the organization.

The reality is — and will always be — that people make an assumption of you within a few seconds you meet. First impressions, therefore, are fast, firm, and very sticky. So, aren’t you eager to know how to successfully make the first impression on your first day of work? I know you do!

Follow me down the page as I share some of the proven tips on how to make positive first impressions in the workplace on your first day at work

1. Dress Appropriately

There is usually a dress code set for the workplace. This varies depending on gender and the organization or company you are working for. During your recruitment exercise, chances are that you are a bit familiar — if you are a good observer — with what clothing to put on or which outfit is good and acceptable on your first day of work. So all you just have to do is to tailor your first day at new job outfit towards what other employees put on during your interview.

There are three main clothing options expected today: business professional, business casual, and casual.

Business professional typically means that you’ll wear a suit and tie to work. This is usually found in more traditional industries, such as financial services or banking.

Business casual is typically a step down from professional attire. It often means that you would wear khaki pants and a dress shirt, or something similar. This dress is very common for many fields, including engineering, marketing, and accounting.

A casual dress typically refers to jeans and a casual shirt.

Never underestimate the power of dressing. The way you dress can impact first impressions significantly. While you may be tempted to maintain and suit your style, follow the workplace dress code as much as possible.

2. Be Punctual

A trivial, but very important element of making a good first impression is punctuality. Punctuality, they say is the soul of business. If you want to prove to your employer that you’re excited and humbled to be working with the company, then there’s no better way to do that than to show up early.

Being on time to work is expected. Arriving a bit earlier — 5 to 10 minutes— than your new co-workers is recommended if you want to make a strong impression. To help get you to work on time, ‘know your commute route and how long it will take you to get to the office beforehand.’

3. Introduce Yourself

Since your workplace is a new terrain. Perhaps, no one knows you yet except your interviewer(s), you will likely have to introduce yourself. Introducing yourself to everyone you meet will not only leave a good impression, it will boost your confidence as well and help everyone to see you as a confident person. More so, it will facilitate relationship building in your new workplace.

Remember, your introduction should always target the person you’re meeting, so restructure it if necessary to appeal to your new colleagues and to make the right first impression.

4. Listen More, Talk Less

On your first day at work, listen 90% of the time, and talk just 10% of the time. Listening more than you talk can be one of the hardest skills to learn, especially for extroverts. However, you don’t want to get the reputation as the “office know-it-all” — or worse, someone who always has to have the limelight.

If you have a legitimate contribution, make it. If you’re told to speak, do it confidently without sounding proud or arrogant; but if not, do more listening and absorbing during those first days on the job.

5. Smile and Be Friendly

Being friendly is one of the proven, and easiest ways to make a good impression on your first day of work. As opportunities arise throughout the day to talk to people, smile, and be friendly. They will likely ask you about yourself, but be sure to also ask about them as well.

Have your 30-second introduction speech ready, but after that, shift the focus off of you. Get to know what they do and what they like. Asking questions about the person you’re talking to makes you instantly more likable than the person who just wants to talk about themselves.

Also, smile as much as you can (without faking it) to show your co-workers that you’re excited to meet them.

6. Master People’s Names.

Again, you’ll gain a reputation for attention and thoughtfulness by memorizing the names of everyone you meet. There are a variety of memory strategies that will help you match names and faces. There is no bigger compliment than using someone’s name when you speak to them, especially during your first days at work.

Showing enthusiasm for learning about your coworkers and job makes a positive first impression and helps build excellent working relationships.

Questions to Ask on the First Day of Work

As a fresh employee, there are loads of questions you are expected to ask on your first day at work. Asking a question is one of the indicators that tell your employer you are inquisitive and open to learning. Though much of the first day of work is spend listening, you can and should ask questions when necessary. So, how do you come up or know the kind of questions to ask on first day at work?

It is very simple! To integrate more in-depth questions on your first day, make sure to have enough background on the company. Also, ask key questions that tell you how to properly operate in your new workspace.

Asking questions on your first day at work helps you learn as much as possible about your new job, coworkers, manager, and the company. If you need clarification about a certain point during your onboarding, make sure to ask it at the right time. Keep a list of questions you need answers to and jot down answers you receive so you can reference them anytime.

When you have a thorough understanding of your duties and how you can contribute to the company, you will feel more confident about your role.

Below are some topics and questions you may want to ask about:

Duties – Find out about the range and type of tasks you will be doing. Be clear about it. Avoid assumptions. Assuming may cause misunderstanding and misunderstanding about your job description may result in being charged for the negligence of duty.

Workplace policies – Find out about your workplace’s policies and procedures. This includes things like:

o emergency procedures

o social media and IT use

o visitors in the workplace

o meal and rest breaks and

o public holidays and sick leave procedures, etc

What To Say On Your First Day At Work

People not only make assumptions about you based on what you wear but also what you say. The words you choose are all part of the impression you make.

If you use slang or off-color phrases, you are negatively impacting the impression your co-workers will have of you. While being completely eloquent at all times is not expected, be sure to use your words carefully. You will be judged by your words.

Be real. Don’t fake it. Be official.

First Day At New Job Checklist


First day at work

As a new employee, one of the things you should put In place if you really want to have an organized and fulfilled day at your new workplace is called ‘checklist’. Right now, I know you are curious as to what checklist do you need to keep here, and why you need it when you already knew how to make a good first impression in the workplace on first day of work.

Relax! But ensure to read the remaining content of this particular subheading with all raptness.

Simply put, First day at new job checklist implies a deliberate and intentional effort towards your overall success on first day at work. It is a list of all the things you need to do in order to ascertain your success and fulfillment as a newbie in the new work environment.

In no particular order, I will share with you some of the basic required checklists for a fulfilling day at the workplace.

1. Get Your Outfit Ready

Nothing is as worse as walking into the office on your first day of work and realizing that you are outrageously underdressed. This may make you feel a little uncomfortable and debar you from making a good first impression to your employer and co-workers. So, I would recommend you get your clothing for the first day of work a week or a few days in advance. This will enable you to wash, dry, iron, or hem any of the clothing items.

While you may want to dress to impress, ensure you choose an outfit that suits the company’s dress code. However, If you are unsure of how you should dress on the first day, you can call your company’s human resources representative or your new manager for advice.

2. Test Your Commute

There is nothing more mortifying than being late on your first day of work because you did not know the duration of time you would spend on the road. Whether you drive in your car or use public transportation on your first day of work, you need to know exactly how long the commute will take.

Before your first day, take a trial run at the route you will take to determine how much time to get to work. You can as well identify alternate routes just in case your chosen route is a busy road.

Complying to this will make you look committed, prompt and it will give you chance to settle in and say your “hellos” to your co-workers before the working day commences.

3. Get Your ‘Elevator Pitch’ Prepared

Elevator pitch (also known as an elevator or introduction speech) is a short, persuasive speech you use to introduce yourself to your new company. Its purpose is to explain the concept, quickly and clearly, to spark interest in who you are and what you do. It is not a time to throw suggestions for improvement in the workplace. It is to promote yourself professionally and make a good impression.

An elevator pitch should not be more than 30-seconds. Make it so short that your message can be passed and understood within half-a-minute. So for your first day at work speech, I would recommend you prepare beforehand by following the tips.

 Begin your elevator speech with the introduction of yourself; including what you do and how well you do it.

 Don’t forget to add a good conversation-starter. This can be a fact about your career, that can catch your new boss or co-workers’ attention.

 Include, your uniqueness, and site proofs of your previous results.

 Check what you’ve written, then re-write. Make it sound more like yourself. Get rid of redundant sentences.

 Recording your pitch is a good idea too. This will help you to check if you aren’t using redundant words. Also, be careful not to sound proud or arrogant.

 Time your speech while you read naturally. Be sure to stay within 30 seconds. Anything longer can be too long.

 Practice. Practice. Practice.

For more clarifications, you may want to read my post on how to prepare speech and deliver effectively. You’ll find it very helpful.

4. Prepare Questions Related To Your Job

You’re probably nervous about the first day and there will be things you need to check with the manager and the team. But when you are nervous, you might forget to ask them in the heat of the moment.

You may be nervous on your first day at work (especially before your intimidating boss) and forget to ask questions that are necessary and related to your new position.

Be on the safe side by creating a list of questions you need to ask to make the first day smoother and help you kick start your career in the job.

The question can include things like:

 In case I need to make some clarifications later, who do I contact?

 What exactly is expected of me to do?

5. Know Your Company’s Recent Successes

Prior to your interview, I assume you would have done a lot of research about your new workplace. However, it is not a bad idea to do a RE-SEARCH. Educate yourself ahead of time by conducting some research to familiarize yourself with what this company does well and what projects have been recent successes.

This will help you to look and feel confident, knowledgeable, and prepared.

6. Get your materials together

First day at work, as I said earlier, is usually stressful if you fail to prepare well. Hence, the need to get together what to bring on first day of work.

You will be needing materials like a bag – for keeping relevant documents and new hire paperwork, notepad, pen, laptop, or any other supplies you could need on the job for recording important introductory information.

In essence, make sure you get all the materials you will be needing in one place, the night before to prevent scurrying around, looking for them in the morning.

7. Get A Sound Sleep

This may sound like the most unserious thing to do when you’re feeling that ‘first day at work anxiety’; but guess what? It’s about the most important on your first day at work checklist. It’s been observed that lack of sound sleep can cause an inability to focus and pay attention. Lack of quality sleep can also make you forgetful. You sure don’t want all of these on your first day at work.

Getting a sound sleep is important, because, without it, all your preparations ahead of your first day at work can be soiled. Think of it, how will you feel to be caught dozing on your very first day at work! That’s horrible. Isn’t it? Prevent this horrible sight by deciding to have a sound 6-8 hours sleep the night before the d-day.

How To Make A Good Impression On Your Boss

If you are reading with all raptness, I said earlier that first impression affects how your boss and new coworkers will perceive you throughout your stay in the workplace. Hence, the need to master or know how to make a good impression on your boss.

So, let’s start this journey on three tips about how to make a good impression on your boss. These tips are not arranged in any particular order, but they are all necessary to give clues on first impressions in the workplace.

1. Display The Ability to Work Without Supervision

The truth is that your boss hired you so YOU could do the job – and no one else. Therefore, proving that you are capable of making decisions and working effectively on your own without supervision will surely impress your new boss.

The ability to work without supervision is an enormous help to your team. You move the team forward, in that they don’t have to check in with you as often. Your boss won’t feel compelled to micromanage you or unnecessarily hover over your work. After all, your success is the degree to which you help your boss and help your team to be successful.

2. Accept Feedback Willingly

It is a good thing to think you are capable, but avoid being defensive when your new boss is giving you feedback. Even if it feels like the tiniest detail, understand that your boss intends to make you fit for the job and not just to pick on you.

Comments from your boss or co-workers are not to pick on you and make you feel awkward about yourself. It’s most likely to encourage you and help you be the best. Accepting feedback willingly and going one step further by implementing it. I bet that this will give a sure sign that you take your role seriously – and that will go a long way to impress your new boss.

3. Volunteer

Volunteering yourself to work is one of the quick ways to impress your boss.

To do this, you first need to get comfortable with your position. Then, check-in with your boss to make sure you’re on the right track, open yourself up to additional opportunities at the company. Volunteer to take on new tasks or join committees. Being open to these opportunities is a great way to meet other colleagues, demonstrate leadership, and be a team player.

One rule here: be sure not to let volunteering for other tasks affect the main tasks you’re employed to do. More so, ensure to check in with your superior now and then to make sure you’re doing all that is expected of you before taking up new tasks. One major advice here; Don’t get too worked up trying to impress your new boss, so much that, you end up being a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’.


In Conclusion,

I want to believe that you have digested this piece and understood what to expect and the things you need to do for your first day of work to be memorable. Your first day at work can be exciting as it sets the foundation for all of your future interactions at work. Therefore, make every possible effort to be prepared by practicing all you have just read in this article.

I always love to get feedback from my audience, kindly drop a comment.

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