Starting a new job can be nerve-wracking, but with the right plans and strategies in place it doesn’t have to be a scary prospect. Discover our starting a new job checklist, with top tips and advice, so you can make sure you start your new role on the right foot.
When you start a new job, you want to make sure you start off on the right foot and impress your new boss and colleagues. But it's often easier said than done. New job nerves are inevitable, trying to run before you can walk can be a thing, and a new job is one of those major life changes that can simply throw you off kilter.
The good news is that with a plan in place, you can quell the nerves, put your best foot forward, and navigate this new job landscape with confidence and success. In this article, we’ll provide you with a six-point checklist that will ensure you start your new job on the right foot and help you avoid any missteps.
When starting a new job it’s important to make a great impression but also give yourself time to settle in properly. In a recent LinkedIn poll, 49 percent of respondents stated they need a few months to feel comfortable in a new job, and 41 percent estimated at least one year.
Ready to make a great first impression? Here’s our new job checklist to get you into the right mindset for starting your new role and not putting a foot wrong:
Choosing the right outfit to wear on your first day will help you make a great first impression. Your attire should project confidence, poise, and professionalism as well as make you feel comfortable and part of the team. You’ll probably have a good idea of the dress code from your interview, but if not, make sure to find out so you can dress accordingly. Lay out your work attire the night before your first day, so you’ve got one less thing to do in the morning.
Alongside your outfit, packing your bag ahead of your first day is also a good plan to avoid any last-minute stress. Make a list of everything you need to take on the first day, such as any documents HR has requested, ID, notepad and pen, packed lunch, water bottle, mobile phone, and a sweater or jacket.
Using some stress-reducing techniques that work for you can help quell the new job jitters. Stretching exercises, deep breaths, and visualizing something that calms you can help to reduce your stress levels. Outside of the workplace, activities such as meditation, journaling, yoga, and music can also help regulate your feelings.
Getting stuck in traffic, taking a wrong turn, or hopping on the wrong bus is stressful enough, especially en route to your first day in a new job. Research the route and, if possible, try to complete a practice run at your typical commuting time before the first day. This will allow you to check out the parking situation, walking distance from public transport to your office, and (maybe most importantly!) where to grab a decent coffee.
If you have any questions before the first day, don’t be afraid to reach out to the hiring manager or human resources and ask them. As long as you’re not bombarding them with irrelevant questions, they will typically be happy to help and impressed by your enthusiasm.
On your first day, you’re going to be meeting lots of different people, so having some interesting talking points ready to go will ensure you aren’t at a loss for words. Try to avoid cliches, like the state of the weather or traffic, and talk about any sports you participate in, interesting activities, or upcoming vacations. Make sure to ask your coworkers appropriate questions too, so you can learn more about them at the same time.
Once you’ve arrived at work, make sure you introduce yourself to your new coworkers and team rather than hiding behind your desk. Meet people in your department, be social, and build rapport so the team knows who you are and that you’re happy to be there. This is also a great opportunity to learn who does what and who you can approach for help if needed, while also mentioning that you’re keen to support the team too once you’ve learned the ropes.
If you’re looking to maximize your potential in the first few months in your new role, check out Career.io’s groundbreaking First 90-Days plan to get started.
Creating a “starting a new job” checklist will help you feel more confident and relaxed about your new role, thereby enabling you to start off on the right foot.
Be prepared to make a great first impression. Select your outfit, pack your bag, research the commute, get plenty of sleep, and set your alarm so you're ready to go.
Think of some smart questions to ask and interesting small-talk topics. Be ready to introduce yourself and build connections with your new team.
Helen is an experienced freelance writer with a strong background in job search and career advice, in particular resume best practices, interviewing, and personal and professional development. Before Career.io, Helen worked for high-profile recruitment firms and in the field of HR management, so she has a strong sense of what recruiters are looking for in a potential employee as well as experience in supporting career growth and development.