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How to Deal With Your First Day Nerves

7 mins

Starting a new job can still stir deep feelings of stress or worry. The combination of a fre...

Starting a new job can still stir deep feelings of stress or worry. The combination of a fresh team dynamic and working conditions in an unfamiliar surrounding is enough to make even the most experienced work feel a certain level of anxiety. To help you ease your first-day nerves, here are six helpful tips when entering a new workplace:

  • Go in prepared
  • Don't overthink or expect to know everything
  • Look and play the part
  • Take in one day at a time on your new job
  • Be on your best behaviour
  • Familiarise yourself with your new workplace, get comfortable and take charge!

#1 Go in prepared

It's a cliché saying but 'failing to prepare means preparing to fail' holds much truth in many scenarios and especially when it comes to this. Why: preparing ahead of time will help you take your mind off some of the nerves by diverting your attention and give you that extra confidence boost!

Spend some time a day or two before the morning of your new job and consider what you'll need for your first day. Do you need to prepare the clothes you'll be wearing? Bring in personal documentations for Human Resources? Figure out transportation? The list could be endless, but if you prepare ahead of time, then the morning of your first day will be breezy and not filled with stress.

Make a list, double-check you have everything you need and set aside your belongings the night before. And since it's the first morning of your new job, it may be a good idea to set your alarm earlier than you need to have plenty of time to get to the office.

It would also be a good idea to review the information you've received about the job and on the company. You must familiarise yourself with what is expected from you, whether that's the responsibility of your job, appropriate workplace behaviour or others. It may have been several weeks since your first interview, so it's best to review this information before you step into the office for your first day.

#2 Don't overthink or expect to know everything

While it might be tempting to try to take on all the tasks, you should make allowances and allow yourself to feel unsure at this stage. Try not to panic, overanalyse or overthink each detail. Minor errors are given when starting a new job, and no one will expect you to get into the swing of things from the moment you walk in.

Instead of trying to excel at everything straight away, use the first few days to get to know your new job, environment and your team. Building solid working relationships and gaining a good understanding of how the team works will be crucial as the weeks progress.

#3 Look and play the part

There's a good chance that you'll be meeting a lot of new people in your first few days, so it's best to dress and behave professionally at all times. New colleagues are far more likely to be receptive towards a friendly, professional individual than those who are not. Being respectful, keeping distractions to a minimum and being cooperative will go a long way towards building professional relationships.

Better yet, go the extra mile and prepare an elevator pitch about yourself in anticipation of questions regarding your background from your new colleagues. Your elevator pitch should communicate who you are and what you do effectively. The trick to creating an excellent elevator pitch is to hone and enhance the highlights of your career, your new job, specialisms and background. Remember to keep it as concise as possible.

#4 Take in one day at a time

As with any new role, you're likely to receive an overwhelming amount of information on the first few weeks. To avoid missing out on crucial details, carry a notebook or writing pad along to write down notes as you go.

Don't be afraid to ask questions on the job if you're unsure about something and always ask for a repeat of information if you feel that you didn't quite catch it the first time. There's nothing worse than pretending you know everything and giving yourself more stress. You're far better off clarifying things from the beginning than doing so later on.

#5 Be on your best behaviour

It's no secret that first impressions carry a certain amount of weight when building new relationships. Be on your best behaviour and try to leave an excellent first impression by being friendly and approachable from the moment you walk in. Don't forget to be genuine and express an interest to get to know the people around you.

Don't fall into the habit of keeping to yourself on the first few days and take the initiation to engage and talk to people even if they aren't in your team. A simple gesture like offering to make tea, asking people about their day and what they do can spark conversations! After all, you never know where your job may lead to or who you may be working with in the future.

#6 Familiarise yourself with your new workplace, get comfortable and take charge

Once you've been given a tour of the office and met everyone, it's time to settle down and make yourself comfortable. The average worker will spend 35 hours a week in the office, so it's essential that you make your new working environment as comfortable as possible.

Depending on the company, you may be allowed to decorate your desk or the area around it. Just keep in mind to not go overboard or excessive in decorating. The aim is to make yourself feel more at home and not distracting others. Once you feel more settled in, let your confidence shine and own any projects no matter how small or big each task is. 

In summary, everyone gets nervous no matter the seniority or where you are in your career path. The best thing you can do is to give yourself time to ease into your job and calm your first-day nerves by preparing ahead. Think and focus on the bigger picture instead of worrying or dwelling on minor details. Use our six tips and make your transition into a new job that much easier. Good luck!