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Question – How can I get the most out of my first day at work?

Bagged a new job and heading in for your first day? Here are a few tips on enjoying yourself and making the most of the experience from our career coach.

Question: What are your top tips for getting the most out of your first day in a new job? Olivia, Manchester

First days can be daunting, especially if you’re young and haven’t spent much time in the workplace yet.

Some tips apply in every workplace. Show up on time, pay attention to what folks tell you and make notes (because there’s no way you’ll remember everything otherwise).

Smile, shake hands, and join in small talk when you are introduced to others. You’re going to spend a lot of time with these people, so it’s important to make a good impression.

Ask clarifying questions if there’s anything you don’t understand, your colleagues might assume a lot of knowledge on your part. As a new starter, you’re not expected to know everything, but you are expected to ask questions to find things out.

Depending on the size and culture of the organisation the day will be different.

A bigger organisation will likely group you with several other new starters, or a cohort of graduate trainees.

You might spend a lot of time with HR doing official on-boarding stuff such as office tours or mandatory health and safety training, get a pep-talk from a director, and be told about how to access important systems.

It can all be a bit overwhelming, and you might start thinking ‘when do I get to meet my team and do some real work…’

At a smaller organisation, a hard-pressed manager might have to fit in your onboarding alongside their day job. It could be hard to get their full attention for extended periods, and you might feel a little bit lost.

Don’t worry, onboarding (officially and unofficially) takes time. The overwhelm will subside, or your manager will find time to give you some attention. Whatever challenges you encounter on day one will usually work themselves out over the next week or two.

And relax! You can set the bar pretty low for the first day.

At the end of the day, if you know where the bathrooms are, can access your email, and remember the names of your team mates, you can count that as a good first day.