Great news! You’ve been offered the role of your dreams, you’ve accepted, and you start next week. This is an exciting time, and if you’ve been out of work for a while it might feel like the hard work is over. Of course, it’s really just beginning. Soon your new job will begin, bringing many challenges, and between now and your start date you might suddenly find a big empty space in your schedule ahead.
Rather than twiddling your thumbs and crossing days off your calendar, you might think about how you could prepare to commence your new role. Turning up unprepared on your first day will probably not turn out to be the best option – while you might meet expectations you’ll probably fail to make the great impression you’d hope for among your new co-workers. So what can you do in advance of the big day to be sure of starting your new position in top form? Think of this as your checklist to make sure everything goes as well as it can.
Refresh your skills:
This may not be strictly necessary, but if you’ve been out of work for some time, you will want to make sure you can hit the ground running as far as your understanding of the work and knowledge of the industry go. If you’re moving into a new industry, or into a much more senior position, it’s virtually essential to be extra, doubly, triply sure you know your stuff.
No doubt you’ll have done a ton of research for the interview, but now that you’re in, you can know that it’s worth spending even longer finding out about the company and the role. It’ll be especially valuable to find out about the people you’ll be working with – if you can find staff profiles on the website, it will be beneficial to learn to put the faces with the names of management and the others in your department.
While it’s not an absolute necessity, those who are bad with names will now find it easier to introduce themselves to others when that start as, rightly or wrongly, first impressions count for everything and a part of making that impression includes whether you can recall your new boss’s name. If there is no ‘meet the team’ section of the site, try searching LinkedIn instead.
Take a break:
This might sound like a bit of a contradiction. Shouldn’t you be spending the time between the offer and your start date as productively as possible? Well, yes – and sometimes the best way to prepare yourself for a new challenge is to clear your mind beforehand. Especially if you have an interval before the job that can be measured in weeks or months, you will probably want a break at some point to rest up from the stressful task of searching for work. What’s more, if you’re determined to put in the hours to impress in your new vocation, it might be some time before you get to take a vacation again – whether mentally or physically. Take some time out – then you can turn up on your first day refreshed and ready to make waves.
Look the part:
There are all kinds of things you should bring with you on your first day, even if you haven’t explicitly been told that this is the case. For example, you need to make sure you’re wearing the right clothes, and that means not waking up on the morning of your first day to find all your pants are in the laundry. If you’re not sure what to wear, the days prior to starting are your opportunity to find out. The question of what else you’ll be expected to bring depends on the type of work, but for an office job you’ll want to carry a notepad and pen as you’ll no doubt have plenty to take note of. Some documentation to set up payroll would be a good idea. Bring your lunch money and you’re ready to go!
Arrive on time:
On the list of ways to jeopardise your position early on, there are few things you could do on your first day that are more catastrophic than turning up late…so make sure you leave home in plenty of time. It’s obvious enough that we shouldn’t have to say it, but common enough that we feel we do. Yes, this applies even if you know where you’re going. You might find there’s more traffic in the mornings than there was the day of your interview, and of course it always pays to be a few minutes early as well (but not by more than about ten minutes). It’s important to save the phone number of your contact at some point prior to your start date – that way, if you are late you can call, explain, and still hope to make the best impression possible on your first day.
Author: Paul Breton is Marketing Executive with online recruitment specialists Blue Octopus Recruitment in Otley, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom.