Starting a new job

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Our top tips!

  • Congratulate yourself and be proud
    Getting a job is a huge achievement, so you should feel really proud of yourself. Imposter syndrome is common and it’s easy to doubt yourself, but you weren’t ‘just lucky’ – you have earned this!
  • Relax
    This is easier said than done, but it’s really important to relax. You will probably be feeling a mix of emotions: excitement, anxiety, relief and fear. Try to distract yourself the night before and take time to relax.
  • Do your research
    It will always look great on your first day if you walk into your new job with some understanding of what the company does and why they are successful. Do your research – it will not go unnoticed!

I'm starting a new job!

The first day at a new job is similar to a first day of school: you’re unsure where to go, who to talk to and what to do. It is an important milestone as a new job can offer further opportunities, such as promotions or references for future job applications. Whether this is your first job or you’ve started plenty of other jobs before, you’re still likely to feel nervous and apprehensive about how you’ll do, how you’ll get on with your colleagues and whether you’ll enjoy the role. It’s imperative to note that even though these feelings are pretty much unavoidable, they can be managed. Remember that your employer chose you for a reason and that you deserve to be there. You have earned this job opportunity.

Make sure you’ve done plenty of research into the company including their aims, their past successes and what they do. If you don’t really know anything about the company you’re working for, you won’t be able to make a good first impression. It can also be a great idea to research what past employees have said about working for the company. Websites such as Glassdoor, Ratemyemployer and Indeed are a good place to start. FairyGodBoss provides insight into female employees’ job satisfaction levels and provides a summary of whether the company treats people equally and fairly at work.

How can I prepare for my new job?

Showing initiative and asking your boss if there is any work you can be doing to prepare before your expected start date can be an excellent way to show you’re responsible and proactive. It will also help you to get a feel for the role. Doing preparation and getting extra practice and experience before your first day can really help ease your nerves.

Plan what you’re going to wear the night before so that you won’t have to think about it in the morning. If you’re not sure what the appropriate attire is, ask your supervisor or the person who offered you the job. They will be able to let you know about the dress code.

Make sure you know about the company’s social media policy. Some organisations don’t mind if employees post during working hours, but others prohibit this. Additionally, some posts may be unacceptable if they show you in an unprofessional light. 

The most important thing to do is try to relax. Starting a new job can be an exciting and important step in your career path. If you’re starting to feel stressed just take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’re not going to be expected to be able to do everything overnight. You will be learning lots of new things in the first weeks and months – it’s all new and it will take time.

What do I need to know for my first day?

Arrive on time

Find out and double check what time you’re expected to arrive. Plan to arrive 10 minutes before, taking into account the journey, traffic and parking time. You could even practice your journey at the same time of day so you will know where to go. 

Be prepared

Pack everything you need for your first day. This could include your job contract, ID, and bank details. If you’re unsure, ask your employer what you will need and make sure this is packed the night before, so you don’t have to rush in the morning.

Ask for help

It’s important to recognise when you’re not sure and need help. During your first few weeks, you’re likely to encounter new tasks that you’ve not had to do before. Reach out to colleagues or your boss as asking questions shows your initiative.

Have an open mind

During your first few days at work you’re likely to encounter a diverse range of people. All of your colleagues will have different interests and hobbies. It’s important to be polite and friendly. Each work environment will have a different atmosphere.

I think I might need some help... what do I do?

Starting a new job can be scary and stressful, with so much to learn right at the start. It is totally normal to feel like you are struggling at the start, and you will likely feel like this for a little while as you try to get your mind wrapped around everything. Make sure you reach out for support when you need it.

Get support!
If you think you are struggling, reach out to somebody and get the support you need.
Speak to us

Sometimes you can be struggling with things that you don’t want to discuss with somebody at your workplace, such as your relationship with your manager. If that is the case, reach out to our friendly mentors who can help you out! You can also speak to your family or friends, who can help you out.

Speak to your manager

Your manager will not be expecting you to know exactly what you are doing straight away, and will be used to new employees settling in. If you feel that you need some extra support, reach out to your manager, who will help you out.

Speak to a colleague

Reach out to your colleagues on day 1. Build up your network of contacts and people that can support you, as you never know when you may need someone in the office. Colleagues are great for support as they understand.

What if I don't like my new job?

If you find yourself struggling with the role or your colleagues, you can always start searching for another job. If possible, persevering with your current job for a while can help as you may find you settle in over time.

If you are having doubts about whether your job is right for you, it’s a good idea to stick with it until you can find another job, depending on your financial situation. If you decide to leave your job, it’s important to do so respectfully and to give your employer notice of your leave. The company’s guidelines on suitable notice time are usually stated in your contract, so double check this before making your final decision.

Before you make any decisions like this, discussing your options with a friend, family member of careers advisor can be very helpful. Getting your concerns off your chest can give you the confidence to stick with your job for a little while longer to see if things change. Everyone is different and not every job will suit you – think of it as an opportunity to figure out which career paths will suit you in the future.