10 things that you should definitely do on your first day at work

Susanna Kahr

Congratulations, you did it, you’ve landed a new job! After spending hours on countless motivational letters, dealing with scary interviewers and diligent bosses, the time has come – your new job starts in a few days. A little extra adrenaline and a few butterflies in your stomach are perfectly normal. Of course, you want the start of your new job to be as smooth as possible and to give your new boss the best possible first impression. So, here are 10 things you should definitely do on your first day at work so you can put your best foot forward.

1. Ring, ring!

Do you love sleep? So do we. But today is not the day to take advantage of those extra five minutes. Get up a bit earlier instead. Plan to wake up a quarter of an hour earlier, so you can start your day right with a leisurely coffee and a good, hearty breakfast. This way, you’ll be fuelled up for your first day at work and you won’t unnecessarily stress yourself out by frantically brushing your teeth while searching for a matching pair of socks whilst your dog runs off with your car keys. We’ve all been there. But, as we say “the early bird gets the worm,” so starting your day earlier will set you up for success!

2. Dress up, baby!

Speaking of socks, it’s no secret that first impressions are the most important. So think back to your job interview, to the people you met, and have a think about the type of industry you’re working in. Are you going to work in a bank where you’ll need to wear a pantsuit and tie everyday? Is it a young start-up where everyone runs around in baseball caps and sneakers? Or is your new employer happy for you to wear jeans and sneakers everyday? Regardless of the dresscode at your new office, make sure that you prepare an outfit that works, and more importantly that makes you feel good!

3. Sorry, I’m stuck in traffic!

Arriving late is always embarrassing. Even more so if it’s your first day at work, as it can reflect badly on you and make people think you’re not good at time management. In the days of Google Maps and scheduling apps, it’s easy to find out how long your new commute will be well in advance. Make sure you actually give yourself more than the recommended amount of time, just this once, because a few extra minutes can’t hurt and this will also give you time to take a deep breath before you walk into your new office.

4. Hello and Hi

Maybe you’d rather come in quietly, find your place and wait. At some point in the day one of your new colleagues will inevitably come over and welcome you, right? Whilst that might ease your nerves, we don’t recommend it. Most of your team members will find out that you’re new through the company’s internal communications and will want to meet you. So, take a quick walk around the office, nod, shake hands and learn a thousand new names – we’ve all had to do it once. Go for it, it’ll make a great first impression.

5. John, no sorry I meant Mr. Smith

What seems like a normal round of introductions is actually your chance to get an insight into the company culture in your new office. Do your colleagues introduce themselves by their first names, Tom, Sandra and Paul? Or as Mr. Huber, Miss Baker and Doctor Miller? How they introduce themselves to you, tells you how they want to be addressed – or rather, how it works in the company. Since the first day of work is not necessarily the best time to step out of line, make sure to take note of who likes things to be be more formal and who is more relaxed.

6. Coffee break

It’s good to break up the long morning, as it will surely feel like you woke up hours ago! Your salvation: Coffee! Whilst standing in front of the beloved espresso machine, make sure that you don’t get hypnotized by the streams of coffee and milk flowing into your cup, instead look up and chat with the other colleagues in the kitchen. Because as we all know, the kitchen or water cooler are the homes for gossip in every company. You could get asked about your old job, your hobbies and your relationship status. Just go with it, or take the initiative to steer the conversation the way you want to, by asking about the company and the characters that work there. Who knows how many gossip lovers you will win over!

7. Questions about questions

Back at your desk, your to-do list is beginning to take shape. You’ve got your first assignment, but have no idea how to solve it. It’s all good, take a deep breath. Before you overcome with nerves, check if you’ve understood everything with your new colleagues or your team lead. They will likely be very happy to help you, because by asking them about it you’re also showing them that you are not the new know-it-all, but are grateful for their help. Plus, your new boss will surely be keeping an eye on you on your first day and will quickly see that you’re getting stuck in and not shying away from new challenges.

8. Lunchtime

Food, food, food! Did you hate lunch break at your old company? Well, unfortunately we can’t guarantee that there are 3 Michelin star chefs, fusion-food and cake at your new one. However, we can almost guarantee that lunch on your first day at work will be really important. Instead of unpacking your lunch at your desk, grab the next available chair at the lunch table and try to work your way into your team’s conversations. Show interest in them (even away from meetings) and dare to ask questions about everything from work to life outside work. Because great colleagues will not only make your first working day better, but could also become your next work-BFFs.

9. It’s okay!

Mistakes happen, whether you’re a specialist in your field or a beginner. There’s no reason to hang your head in shame. You accidentally called your boss the name of the cleaning lady? You tripped over your neighbor’s power cord, causing his screen to black out? You came too late for your first meeting because you were lost in the maze that is your new office? No worries, we’ve all been there! Your new colleagues might laugh or acknowledge your rookie error with a wink, but play along and you’ll make an awkward experience into a funny one. Who knows, maybe the same thing happened to them once too?

10. Say goodbye to your boss!

First day done! Instead of shutting everything down and taking off, you should take one last trip to your boss’s office. Thank them for the warm welcome to the team, the introductory round and any initial training or support. Have they just gotten a coffee and are feeling talkative? Don’t be shy, tell them about your first day, your challenges, your questions and the projects you’re looking forward to working on. Because one thing’s for sure, nothing is better than a good laugh at the end of a busy day!



Can you remember your first day at work? Was it awesome like every day at your job or was it the beginning of a disaster? Was it love at first sight between you and your work-BFFs? Or was your boss a nightmare right from the start? Tell us all about it in your kununu review!


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