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8 Tips for Having a Great First Day at a New Job

happy_face_anonymous_yoh_blog.jpgStarting a new job can be as equally exciting as it is stressful. The first day is one filled with the anticipation of working on new projects with new people, but also the pressure to make a great first impression on bosses and coworkers.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Sure, the first day on a new job may be a little awkward, but there are ways to make sure your Day 1 sets you up for a great Day 2, an excellent Day 3 and so on and so forth.

From the First Day Experts at Yoh, here are our eight tips for making the most out of your first day on the job.



Make an insider tip checklist

There are so many things to learn on your first day that go beyond your job description. Things like, what time the office opens, when most people take lunch, the best places to park, conference rooms, your phone number, etc. Some companies may have very structured on-boarding process and will cover all of this, but even they can miss a few things.

Have a list of all the “insider” things you want to know on the first day and make sure you ask about them. Or at least, find the best person to ask. This will enable you to get the information you need, it shows you’re organized, and it takes the some of the pressure off the person leading your first day orientation (someone who, in many offices, is volun-told to do it).


Grab a lunch date

At Yoh, we often make a point of taking our new team members out to lunch to get to know them, talk a bit about company culture and give them a chance to ask any questions they have. But whether your new coworkers ask you to grab some grub or you ask them, getting some lunch with colleagues is a great forum for you to make some allies, learn about what the company is really like and get your questions answered right away.


Draw a coworker name roadmap

For some, the most stressful part of starting a new job is the fear that a new colleague will approach your desk and you won’t remember their name. And that’s fine—no one is expected to remember everyone’s name the first week, let alone the first day on the job. One trick we use to remembering as many names as you can is during the first meet-and-greet walkthrough. When your new boss is giving you a tour of the office and introducing you to everyone, draw a map of the desk layout and jot everyone’s name down on the map as you do the rounds. That way, when you stop by someone’s desk or take a stroll around the office, you can use your map as a study guide to reference where people sit and who they are.

And, of course, if you forget someone’s name—just ask! Calling a coworker “buddy” or just “boss” is rarely a good look.


Have an elevator speech ready, sort of

Throughout the course of your first day, you’re going to be asked all kinds of questions, both personal and professional. Where are you from? Where did you work before? Are you caught up on Game of Thrones?

It’s important to answer these questions not just honestly, but in a way that showcases your personality and abilities too. And while you don’t want to have a perfectly refined script at the ready, it will be good to know what you’re going to say when asked those common questions.

  • “I grew up just outside the Philadelphia area but my family now lives in Northern Virginia.”
  • “I used to work in the web development side of ABC Corporation doing things like JavaScript code, designing and implementing test cases, and updating software design. I came here because it will allow me to explore the design side of things more, which I really got into.”
  • “Of course I’m caught up on Game of Thrones. Couldn’t believe it when *REDACTED* died and am really excited for *REDACTED* to go back to King’s Landing. Next season should be wild!” (This is a spoiler-free blog post. You’re welcome.)


Be professional, but not overly formal

From email etiquette to dress attire, it’s important to be professional on your first day at the office, especially before you discover what the true tone and culture of the office actually is. However, there is a line between being professional and being overly formal, and it’s one you don’t want to cross.

Showing up to a casual office in a pants suit or replying to all emails with “I hope this message finds you well. Best regards, John” is a quick way to get unfairly labeled early on. Try to remember what you saw people wearing when you went in for your interview, and stick close to that. Or, simply send an email to HR or your new boss and ask. And when it comes to email and other office etiquette, use your coworkers as a guide.

Don’t pretend to know everything right away – ask questions

You won’t know everything you need to know on your first day, and that’s fine—you’re not expected to. Pretending you know the ins and outs of the job after just a few hours or rejecting someone’s offer for help doesn’t show confidence—it shows arrogance.

In reality, people learn faster when they ask questions and seek help. If you don’t know how something should be done or the way a particular software works, reach out and ask. Most people are more than willing to help the new team member out.

Also, don’t be afraid to question things

The reason your new employer brought you onto the team isn’t just because you bring a needed skillset to the company. You also bring different experiences and perspectives that have helped you get to where you are professionally. Use them.

If a process or project at your new job doesn’t seem like it’s being done the right way or could be done in a more efficient manner, speak up and offer a solution. Bringing up inefficiencies may not be something you do on your first day, but identifying problems and using your past experience to offer solutions should be something you’re thinking about starting Day 1.

Say “yes”

Whether it’s an offer to grab after work drinks (alcoholic or otherwise), offers of assistance, or offers for advice, always say “yes.” Accepting invitations from coworkers helps you build important relationships from the get-go and make allies you can count on for help later on. It also shows everyone that you’re ready and excited to be a part of the team and are willing to accept assistance from those you work with.


First days aren’t the most important days you’ll ever have at the office, but they do play a vital role in setting the tone for the rest of your career at your new company. So, remember: be open, be honest, and be early. And of course, be excited! It is your first day at a new job, after all.



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