Top Tips to Succeed On Your First Day in a New Job

Aug 2, 2021

Elizabeth Houghton

Sutton Full Potential Founder

What a wonderful day! It’s the first day of your new job. You must be so excited and nervous. That’s natural.

The first day of a job is a very important day. Not only because it’s the start of a promising career for you, but it’s also the day when you get the opportunity to make a good first impression on your colleagues and seniors. How you handle your first day can set the tone for the weeks and months to come.

To help you, I’ve compiled a list of effective tips that you can implement to ensure you have a super successful first day on a new job. Plus, you are able to set the foundation for a successful tenure in your new company.

Dress right

Dressing according to your new job’s requirements and culture is a great way to make a positive first impression. While ironed and polished formal wear is the style in most places, some new-age companies do accept informal wear. Even then, it’s best to stick to smart casuals so you look professional and elegant.

Be at the office early

Plan your commute to the office carefully. It’s recommended that you do a recce before your actual first day on the job. Ideally, you should have reported to your point of contact 15 minutes before the stated time. This will give you plenty of time to calm yourself and get mentally ready to enter your new workspace.


A smile can be such a wonderful way to look kinder and more approachable. When you smile, people start to perceive you more positively and will be more likely to speak to you and welcome you with open arms. On the other hand, a person who doesn’t smile on the first day of a new job can look very closed-off and mean (even when they aren’t).

Proactively introduce yourself to everyone in the team

The best way to break the ice is to break it yourself. So don’t be shy, go ahead and say hello to your new team. This simple act of taking the first step to introduce yourself can actually reduce any tension that may exist whenever team dynamics change because of a new employee addition. Plus, you’ll appear very confident and proactive, which can create a very positive impression on your colleagues and boss.

Make a note of your colleagues’ names

While no one expects you to remember every name in the team, it’s still good practice to try and remember the names of the people you’ve spoken to. Referring to them by name can be a very personalized and respectful way of addressing them. Plus, your colleagues will appreciate the effort you’ve taken to keep their names in mind.

Prepare how you’re going to describe your past experience in 30-60 seconds

You’re bound to be questioned about your professional history when you start a new job. Instead of humming and hawing on the day, why not prepare your elevator pitch in advance? Remember the key points you want to highlight and create a small piece that can help you convey your story in under a minute. That way, it’ll be short, simple, and interesting.

Restrict phone use to break times

The first days can be slow and a bit boring too. But resist the urge to pick up your phone and browse through it. The fact is, everyone does watch the new employee to gauge how they are and how they may be on the job. You don’t want your new colleagues, or worse, your boss, to see you playing on your phone on the very first day of work. So, keep the phone on silent and use it only during breaks.

Find productive things to do if there’s no work for you yet

Continuing from the previous point, it’s important to find productive ways to spend your time. So, if you haven’t been allocated any work on the first day, ask your manager or allocated buddy for some reading material about the company. If there is none, ask them to share some material on any projects that they intend to put you on, so you can familiarize yourself with them. That’ll show you as a diligent worker.

Accept invitations for coffee/lunch from team members

Here’s the truth. You don’t have to spend lunchtime or coffee/tea time alone on your first day of a new job. Often, people are very welcoming, and you may even receive an invite to join them for coffee/lunch. If you do, say yes.

While it may initially feel uncomfortable to dine out with strangers, it’s really important to accept the welcome you’ve been extended. This is how you build your bridges and make friends. Plus, a lot of informal “shop talk” does go on at the lunch table, and you’ll be able to know more about your team in this intimate setting.

Listen with an open mind

Many of us come with prior experience from our previous companies. We may also have expectations of how things should be done. But it’s necessary for you to keep an open mind and listen to what your colleagues say. Doing so will help you seamlessly fit into your place in the team and do a good job.

These might seem too obvious, but it’s necessary to remind yourself not to pass judgment about the company’s processes or products/services. Instead, listen with an open mind and share how you can contribute to the team’s goals. Talk about how your skills can complement the team and how you hope to help them. They’ll appreciate your enthusiasm for the job.

Ask questions and clarify expectations

In addition to the previous point, it’s necessary for you to ask questions and clear any doubts that you may have. Clarify what your manager expects from you and how you are meant to contribute to the team. When you know what is expected of you, it becomes easier to align your actions to them more effortlessly.

Be careful about your body language

It isn’t just your words that can lead to miscommunications and awkwardness on the first day, but your body language too. It’s really important to be mindful of your body language and ensure it’s always upbeat and positive.

Small actions such as keeping your head held high, meeting eye contact, sitting up straight in your chair, not crossing your hands across your chest, etc., can make all the difference in the world. Your colleagues’ perception of you will change depending on this too.

Be energetic the entire day

Being energetic and jovial the entire day can show your new team what type of energy you will bring to the company. Such high energy, coupled with a happy attitude, can endear you to your new team.

Join in the company culture

Finally, be open to the company’s culture. Doing so will show your new team that you are willing to integrate yourself fully into the new company and participate in the company’s progress.

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