How to Have a Great First Day at a New Job

It’s your first day at a new job – maybe even your very first job. You’re tired, nervous and want to start off on the right foot. As every high school football coach used to say, “Prior planning prevents piss poor performance.”

First impressions start long before you meet your new coworkers. Start preparing now by finding out as much as you can about the company and industry. Think critically about how your new role will fit into the company’s mission.

Find out the appropriate dress code and if you’re expected to bring anything with you on your first day.

Don’t Be Late

You should always show up on time for work, but it’s especially important for your first few weeks on the job. Once your boss knows you’re capable of being responsible she’ll be more likely to let it slide if you’re a few minutes late someday.

Ask your new boss or the recruiter you worked with when you were interviewing what time you need to show up. Then plan on being there at least 10 minutes earlier.

Smile, People Will Like You More

Studies have shown that smiling increases your likability. Smiling is one simple thing that you can do every day – Just smile and say ‘hello’ or ‘good morning’ to everyone as you walk down the halls.

Do this even with people you haven’t met yet. When you’re eventually introduced to them they will remember that you seemed polite.

First impressions start before you enter the building. Act as though you’re being watched, even when you’re a few blocks away from the office. Don’t cut people off in the parking lot and make sure you hold open doors for anyone rushing to catch the elevator.

You never know who you may bump into. For all you know that jerk you flipped off at the stoplight could be the company president.

Fit In

I’m not recommending you become a corporate drone, but you shouldn’t show up to your first day at a new job with a pink mohawk if everyone else looks like the cast of Mad Men.

There are ways to express your personality and all offices will have different policies, but err on the side of being too conservative until you’ve had a chance to test the waters.