First Day of Work: How to Plan, Prepare, and Succeed

July 22, 2014

If you're like me, first days make your nerves go insane. However, if you plan and prepare for your first day it will calm those nerves as well as make a great impression on those around you. No matter what type of job you are preparing for these few steps can help you shine in your new job almost immediately.

What tools or equipment will the job require?

Many construction type positions require that you have your own safety equipment when arriving on your first day. Make sure you know what tools and equipment you will be required to have. Be proactive and ask the HR person that you are communicating with a list of all the required and preferred equipment for the position. Also make sure you get all this equipment together the day before you start and make sure it is still in proper condition. Have all your supplies by the door or in your car ready for you to leave the next day.

Test drive or map out your route to work.

Make sure and be aware of traffic fluctuations and be sure to be 15 mins early. The most disrespectful thing you can do is to be late on your first day, it tells your employer you don't appreciate the opportunity.

Dress for the job.

If you are working construction obviously you don't need to show up in a suit. However important questions to ask your HR adviser what the dress code is. Does the company have a uniform, specific color, can you wear anything? However, even if you are working construction, no rude or distasteful shirts. No one wants to see your collection of Family Guy tees. Keep it simple. If you are starting work in an office, ask what type of attire is expected. Is it business, business casual, or casual. Every office is different and has its list of do's and don'ts. Make sure you get a full understanding of the expected dress code. Ladies, as much as we all appreciate the body that we were given, work is not the time to display it. Make sure your attire is classy, covering, and conservative. Expressing your style and body is for off the clock time.

Bring your lunch and snacks.

Since you don't know the schedule of the day, it's important to pack your lunch and snacks and be prepared for anything. One of the employees at our agency works as a roadside flagger. This job consists of directing traffic in hot weather and standing for long periods of time and not knowing when you will be relieved. She brings a small cooler with an assortment of snacks and beverages. She also brings appropriate clothing and a large brimmed hat to keep the sun off her when she is working. She comes prepared. No matter where your job is, it's important to learn the lunch routine where you are, in the meantime be safe and pack a lunch.

I don't think anyone needs to be reminded to pay close attention on their first day but something you might not have thought of is taking notes. Bring a pocket-sized notepad and jot down relevant information like names, coworkers' advice and other things that you deem important to remember. This helps prepare you for the next week or month on the job so that you can make the best impression possible.

Listen and learn.

Although your personality is probably amazing avoid being too eager to show your true colors try to restrain at first instead focus on learning about others. However it's important not to be too quiet if you are introverted try to perk up and smile and add to the conversations where appropriate. As time goes on you will learn the ins and outs of your coworkers and know what is and isn't appropriate.