You nailed the interview, wrote flawless follow-up emails, and now you’re preparing for your first day on the job. Although you made it through the hiring process, the first few days present a whole new set of challenges that can cause a lot of anxiety—but they don't have to. Here's what you can do to make the new job jitters disappear.
1. Absorb all you can about the company culture.
Before your first day, read and learn everything you can find about the company culture. This includes social media postings, websites, employer profiles, and any annual reports and printed material.
2. Discreetly conduct due diligence.
Also before you start, analyze SEC filings and financial reports. And develop a good sense of how the company operates, especially if you are joining at a high level.
3. Know your leadership team.
Study any available biographies and LinkedIn profiles of the leadership team, your team, and your supervisor (if you know who you'll be reporting to). Gain as much insight as possible into how to be a good employee and team member.
4. Arrive early.
Being on time is especially important on your first day (and during your first week). Arriving several minutes early sends a clear message that you’re motivated and ready to work. Take this extra time to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings and get comfortable.
5. Follow the 80/20 rule.
You’re there at your new job to contribute to company success and make a profit for the organization. Listen 80 percent of the time with the goal of understanding; ask open-ended questions the other 20 percent of the time with the goal of being successful in your new role.
6. Groom yourself.
Personal grooming is especially important on your first day. First impressions are, as you should know, extremely important. So having neat hair, neat nails, and clean teeth are essential. Another tip: Skip the cologne or perfume. Many people have aversions (if not allergies) to certain scents, so it’s best to go scentless, especially on your first day.
7. Dress appropriately.
Prepare your first-day outfit based on company culture AND the job you seek, not the position you were hired to fill. In addition, have your wardrobe prepared for the entire first week in advance. Polish and repair shoes. Tailor, hem, or repair ripped clothing. Iron, launder, and dry-clean dresses, shirts, and suits. Stock up on missing sundries. This doesn’t require going into thousands of dollars of debt, but a polished first impression will last long after your first day.
8. Bring portfolio and pen.
Depending on company culture, bring both an electronic and traditional paper tablet in professional business cases. You may be ushered into a training or meeting immediately upon your arrival. Avoid appearing hapless on day one with nothing for note taking. Do you want to send the message that there’s nothing important the company can share with you?
9. Be humble.
Remember that as the newly-hired employee, you have a lot to learn. Ask questions and be ready to receive constructive criticism. Don’t take anything personally; instead, respond to all critiques graciously.
10. Say “Thank you.”
Sending a quick note of gratitude to those who helped you navigate your first few days puts you in contact with your new colleagues and demonstrates that you’re excited to be part of the team.
Sharon Schweitzer is an international business etiquette expert, author, and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. A previous version of this article appeared on protocolww.com.