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4 Things You Need to Know Before Your First Day On the Job

​From school to your career, first days are always exciting, scary, exhausting, and memorable. The right preparation will make ...

​From school to your career, first days are always exciting, scary, exhausting, and memorable. The right preparation will make your first day at a new job a major success. Every time you begin another position, make sure you know these four things.

1. How Long Your Commute Will Take

Showing up late on your first day won’t help your first impression—which is why you want to know exactly how long it takes to get from your front door to the office. Even if you manage to show up on time without doing a practice run, you’ll probably feel stressed during your commute.

To avoid any anxiety, do a practice run a couple days beforehand. Match the traffic conditions as closely as possible; for example, going on Sunday at 2 p.m. won’t give you an accurate read compared to Tuesday morning.

2. The Executives’ Names and Faces

What if you bumped into the COO in the kitchen on your second day of work and started chatting? This would be a good opportunity to forge a connection, right? Definitely…if only you’d known he was the COO.

Avoid making this mistake. The week prior to your start date, start memorizing the names and faces of the organization’s executive board. You may also want to do this for your department.

3. What to Wear

Every office has different dress codes, so figure out yours to ensure that you don’t wear the wrong thing. Keep in mind that it may be different from when you interviewed. To illustrate, if you came in on a Friday where everyone was wearing jeans, chances are they’re more formal during the week. On the flip side, if you interviewed the day of a big event, people may have been more formal than usual.

First, see if your welcome email or onboarding guide mention the clothing policies. If not, ask someone within the company about the typical dress code—your boss, the person who’s coordinating your orientation, or a friend. Just shoot them a quick email that says, “Hey, wanted to clarify the dress code. What do people normally wear? Thanks!”

4. What to Expect in Your Role

There’s a strong chance you won’t be doing any real work on your first day. Most brand-new hires spend the time getting their computer and other equipment, learning important rules and procedures, settling into their desk, meeting their team members, and doing other administrative tasks.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend ample time getting up to speed on your responsibilities. Review your notes from the application process, the company’s profile on an employer review site, the organization’s website, the original job description if you still have it, and anything else that’ll shed light on your core functions. Yes, you likely already know these details, but going over them again will make them crystal clear in your memory. Not only will you feel calmer and more prepared, you’ll also be ready to dive in on your second day—when the real work begins.

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