You’ve been working hard to prepare for a successful career and find the right job opportunity. Now that all the thank you notes have been sent to your new managers and your first day is set on the calendar, it’s time to set your sights on your next goal – acing your first day and starting your career off like a champ! Luckily, you’ve been through something similar before. You’d be surprised how similar the first few days of a new job are to the first few days of college. Here are five tips to consider while preparing for your first day at a new job.
Information is power!
Who remembers their first few days in college? Registration, looking for your classes, and wondering if you made the right choice of university probably topped the list. It was all so overwhelming. Similarly, your first day of work can be nerve-racking, but if you’re prepared, you’ll avoid the anxiety and set yourself up for success from day one.
The night before your first day, be sure to review all of the details you were provided, such as who you are going to meet, what the dress code is, and whether you need to bring anything. So often, new employees go to the wrong location at the incorrect time and ask for the wrong person. When starting a new role, it’s important to focus on making a great first impression that is memorable for the right reasons. Being prepared and having a plan will always make you shine.
Discuss and carefully review your benefits package.
There are several new decisions you’ll have to make regarding benefits after starting your new job. Many new employees make these critical decisions in haste because they haven’t thought much about how their choices will impact them down the road. It’s important to understand health care options, tax exemptions, and financial matters that impact your take-home pay and ultimately your budget. Ask questions and consult with HR or a trusted friend or family member who can help guide you on these decisions. If your new job offers a 401k option, consider enrolling so that you can start planning for retirement. Many new employees think they will get to it later and then miss out on the perks of early retirement planning.
Dress for the role.
For many of us, the best part of selecting our college class schedule was the ability to select all afternoon classes. As a career professional, that chapter has probably come to an end as most standard office shifts begin in the morning. Rolling out of bed and quickly finding something to wear may have been your routine. Every organization will have expectations from you regarding your attire. Your first day will be stressful enough and it’s important to control what you can. Based on the company’s dress code, select clothing items that work well for your role and set out an outfit the night before as you prepare for your first day. Revisiting the personal appearance expectations may not sound exciting but it will help ensure that you are ready to tackle your first day.
Traffic, directions and going for the win!
No one plans to be late on their first day but in all the excitement this can happen. Have you given yourself enough time to get ready and schedule in your commute time? Most commute times can be unpredictable during the morning and evening hours. It’s very important that you give yourself plenty of time to spare until you are more familiar with the ebb and flow of traffic. If you get there early, take a few moments to breathe, get into your best state of mind, respond to personal messages, and maybe even head to the restroom before you start the day. You will earn the respect of your new boss if you are early, and your stock will immediately be on the rise.
Lastly, exercise leadership.
Leaders have often said they had to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. For every new beginning (whether that be at school, work, or in your personal life) you need to always find ways to be a leader. If you’re new to your role, don’t get caught up in your title; instead, seek additional responsibilities and take on ownership early. You may feel like you are starting all over again. Focus on utilizing your past leadership successes and the approach it took to have your peers follow you. You’ll surely ace the next chapter!