Top tips for starting a new job
23rd October 2019
Starting your new job should be an exciting time, but it’s completely normal to also feel nervous. The best way to combat any worries you have is to be prepared, making you ready for any obstacles that you’ll face on your first day. In this guide, we reveal the top tips you should follow before you begin your new job.
Do your research
If you have used a legal recruitment agency to help land your new job, then you’ll likely already know the ins and outs of your new role, and won’t be caught off-guard with any responsibilities. However, there’s no harm in dedicating a bit of time before your first day to research more about the company.
We spoke to Becca, who writes about travel and lifestyle on her blog. Becca tells us her top tips for starting a new job: “Research, research, research! Have a thorough read around of the company you’re going to be working for, their policies, their stances on big issues and some of their recent successes. I’d then also recommend doing a lot of research around the sector that you’re going to work in - what’s currently in the news and what is the latest release, finding or breakthrough. The more you know going into the job, the more of a natural you’ll feel when you are there! This also means that when people start throwing jargon and acronyms around, you won’t be totally oblivious to what is going on.”
Melanie Allen, a life and career development coach, shares her advice on what to do in preparation for the first day: “Find out as much as you can about the organisation from the website or anywhere else that has information. Including;
- Their values or mission statement
- How many employees there are
- Who the partners are
- Who their clients are
- What clients say about them (remembering that only the positive statements will be on a website)
- What the organisation or company specialises in (if it does)
- Read through your job specification and person specification”
Decide what to wear ahead of time
You don’t need to be wearing the latest trends or expensive clothes, but looking smart, clean and professional on your first day, can help make a great first impression.
Melanie continues: “Decide what you will wear ahead of time: make sure it is washed, dry-cleaned, ironed, polished – whatever is appropriate. Put it all together, ready to put on without thinking in the morning. If you’re not sure about the dress code, too smart is better than too casual.”
If you’re unsure of what to wear, follow some tips to help you look more professional, even if you think the dress code is informal, the extra effort on your first day will be appreciated.
We also spoke to Abigail from the lifestyle blog What Abigail Says to find out her top tips, she shares: “Make sure you're feeling great about yourself. Get a haircut, plan your outfit and have a relaxing weekend before you start so you go in feeling refreshed and on top of your game!”
Becca also adds: “Wear something smart but that you feel comfortable in. This is important because you don’t want to spend your first day worrying about how you look and thinking about how you don’t normally wear clothes like this. Research the company’s uniform policy and go slightly smarter than needed - it’s far better to be overdressed than underdressed!”
Have all your practicalities covered
Make sure you’re aware of what documents you need to take on the first day of your new job, such as your driving licence, passport or P45. If you haven’t been told to bring anything with you, it’s worth sending a quick email to double-check this is the case.
Rachel, the founder of Rachel Coffey Coaching, provides coaching for individuals and businesses. She tells us: “Make sure you have all of the practicalities covered off in good time - travel, documents, what you are going to wear. Having to do it last minute causes unnecessary stress.”
Practice your travel route
Turning up late, even by accident, to your new job will make a terrible first impression. To avoid this happening, you need to plan and practise the route you will be taking.
Becky from The Lifestyle Blogger UK, shares: “The best thing I think you can do to prepare for your first day is to drive the route the time you would normally be going in to see if it takes you longer and to see what the traffic/parking is like.”
Even if you completed the route during your interview process, give yourself even more time to arrive on your first day. Rush hour, traffic accidents and train closures can cause unexpected delays, so be prepared with plenty of time to spare. If you arrive too early, head to a café that’s close by to your new place of work and wait until it’s an appropriate time to arrive.
Arriving calm and collected on your first day may be more easily said than done. However, there are some ways you can feel more at ease. If you have done your research and prepared your outfit, documents and anything else you will need in plenty of time before your first day, you’ll be less likely to panic.
We asked Laura Kate Lucas, a fashion and lifestyle blogger, who shares her advice: “Take advantage of the fresh start and enjoy it. Starting a new job can be quite daunting, but you will quickly make new friends and you can use it as an excuse to get yourself some new workwear and a clean diary.
“Don't panic! Everyone has been in this situation before so there is nothing to worry about. A lot of people can get themselves worked up and struggle to sleep the night before a new job, leaving you feeling tired and run down on your first day. Take time to relax and unwind the night before; have a bath and get in bed with a calming tea and good book. You'll have a much more enjoyable day if you get some rest and wake up feeling fresh.”
Rachel also tells us: “Ensure the way you are thinking about your first day is positive and helpful. It is natural to have nerves but keeping thoughts positive will allow you to go in feeling confident, rather than having to worry about situations that are never going to happen.”
Make a great first impression
All the preparation you have done leading up to your first day will be noticed by your new employees, but you must also try your best to seem enthusiastic and appreciative to be there.
Melanie lists have some guidelines for how to make a great first impression:
- “Be on time
- Be well-groomed
- Show respect for the organisation
- Show interest, ask questions and listen to the answers
- Show willingness – ask what you can do/how you can help if you have downtime
- Introduce yourself to colleagues, find out about their jobs, duties and responsibilities and how it fits into the workflow
- Don’t talk about yourself unless you are asked. Keep the conversation work-related.”
Abigail adds: “Just be nice! Try to engage in conversation with those around you - where are they from, have they worked at the company for long etc. Just making yourself seem approachable can be a great first impression. Also, if you can, try and buddy up with someone on the first day so they can show you around!”
Asking questions on your first day on the job will make you seem interested and excited to be there. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to get to know your new colleagues as well as ones about the company and your new role.
Karen Perkins, a life, career and business coach adds: “Don’t be afraid to ask questions, people love to help you settle in! Find out who the most useful IT, social organiser and admin person is. I like to ask new colleagues three questions; What do they do in their job role, what do they love about their job and what they think would have been most useful for them to know when they started. Asking questions builds trust and future collaborations which will help you later. Just make sure you do listen. Take a notebook/tablet and write things down such as names and login details that you can refer back to.”
Update your LinkedIn
Even before you’ve started your new job, you can use LinkedIn as part of your research. Look at the company’s profile to find out some more information and you can even look at the profiles of current employees, although you may want to change your settings to private viewing before doing so.
This tip is recommended by Rachel, who says: “Have a look at who your colleagues are going to be, either on the company website or LinkedIn. Having a heads up on names and positions makes you seem prepared and means your less likely to slip up.”
Wait until you have been at the job a couple of weeks until you update your job status on LinkedIn. As your network, and those at the company, will be notified about your profile update, it’s best to avoid doing it straight away in case you find out the job isn’t a good fit for you. When it’s time to update your profile, change it to include your job title, company and anything else you think is relevant, which may include a list of your new responsibilities.
If you’re hoping to land your dream job soon, make sure to browse our current job opportunities in the legal sector and be prepared with our top tips for starting a new job.