If through a combination of hard work, persistence and good old fashioned luck, you’ve just landed your first job – congratulations!
Once the celebrating is done, before you know it, it will be time for your first day. It can be an intimidating, nerve racking experience (remember your first day of school?). Use these tips to make sure you have a stellar start on day one.
1. Be sure that you have all the details you need
Do you know exactly where the office you are supposed to be reporting to is? Who will you be asking for at reception? Are there any particular documents you need to take? Go ahead and send an email to HR asking these and any other pressing questions you have. Remember, they are no longer the people you’ve coaxed, coerced and negotiated hard against, but are supposed to be your allies now!
2. Get the dress code right
Getting your attire right on the first day is key to making a good first impression. Here’s our expert’s advice on some fail-safe options. Getting a current employee’s opinion on the company’s dress code can be a good place to start. If you don’t have such a contact, ask your manager – it won’t be the silliest question you ask him/her! Remember that while you may be able to dress a little less casually than at an interview, the first day may not be the best time to bust out the shorts and flip-flops, no matter the weather!
3. Take a pen and notebook
Even if you are joining the central stationery repository (if such a thing existed), carrying your own pen and a small book is still highly recommended. ‘What, even in this digital age?’ you ask? Well consider the very realistic probability that one of your first day trainings does not involve a laptop or tablet – do you want to be the person furiously tapping away key notes on your phone, or the smart organized one with a pen and paper to hand?
4. Bring lunch or at least a snack
Your first day is going to be full of new learnings and challenges. So the last thing you want is to have to think about what you’re going to have for lunch (we know that by 12 o’clock you will be thinking about eating it anyway!). Unless you’re working for a company that provides meals and snacks through the day, bringing along a bottle of water and some light bites is never a bad idea.
5. Take cash
Another rapidly disappearing asset (for various reasons) is cash in the wallet. It’s your first day, and you are unlikely to have been paid yet, but to prevent any calamities, carry cash! Just in case the public transport system is on strike and you need to jump in a cab to the site you’re working at that doesn’t have an ATM around for miles.
6. Plan your route to work and leave extra time
Finally, like with the interview, some research will stand you in good stead. Figure out your route, and add a good 15-20 minute buffer over whatever timeline Google Maps/TfL recommends. Even the most seasoned city experts can get it wrong in the morning rush hour (this author is a case in point!). Turning up on time is another key element of making a good impression – imagine a senior manager has taken some precious time out of his schedule to welcome you first thing.