Top 10 Tips: Your First Day of Work
September 17, 2015
So, you’ve completed your degree and you’ve landed your dream job in a hospital, clinic, or medical practice. You’ve worked hard for this moment and deserve to feel proud.
Although you’re probably very excited, your first day of work can be nerve-racking.
Before you go in for your first day (or night, if you’re working the late shift), make sure you are fully prepared to do your best and impress your boss and coworkers.
First impressions are everything, and you want to show that you were the right pick for the job!
Your First Day of Work:
1. Plan to Start Early
As you did with your interview, plan at arrive to your workplace about 15 minutes early. This shows that you are organized and eager to start the job.
If you expect a lot of traffic that could cause delays, plan to leave with plenty of time.
If you get to your new job earlier than about 15 or 20 minutes, then take this time to grab breakfast or coffee.
You never want to underestimate traffic patterns and arrive to work late, especially for the first day, so it is better to be extremely early than late.
You can use Google Maps to get an overview of traffic on your first day of work. Just type “traffic near [location]” and it should bring up any accidents or delays in the area.
If your new place of employment has coffee or food, this is also a great time for you to interact with others and get to know some of your coworkers before your busy day begins.
Getting to know them while getting a cup of coffee or having a bit of breakfast at work is a great way to develop work relationships that will pay off in the long run.
As many first introductions are a brief introduction and a handshake, this is a great opportunity for you to get your foot in the door with your new position and get a little more comfortable in your new role.
In addition, these new acquaintances might provide you some valuable insight in how to be successful in your new position.
Arriving early isn’t just recommended, it’s expected. In addition, arriving early helps ensure that you create a strong first impression on your employers.
2. Stay a Little Late
In addition to arriving early, Nerdwallet also advises to plan to stay late.
Bolting for the door at exactly 5 o’clock might rub some people the wrong way and it may be interpreted that you aren’t happy with the position or don’t want to be there.
Take the time at the end of your shift to provide your boss with feedback, ask questions, and follow up with anything.
When you leave late, it showcases to the employer that you want to be there and are committed to providing value to the employer.
An easy comparison is somebody who would leave before closing hours – it would send off the signal that you aren’t happy and want to leave as soon as you can.
When you take the time to ask your boss for some feedback, seek additional clarification, and follow up on something earlier in the day – you showcase to your employer that you’re committed to learning and performing the best you possibly can in your new position.
In addition, one great benefit of staying late is to see how the company culture is when closing time is near.
You will get a glimpse into how people react when the closing time is near. Are they relieved to get away from the job, or do they seem like they enjoyed their time at work?
Sometimes it takes a while to figure out whether or not you will enjoy your new job, and one way to figure that out is to see how others react.
Another opportunity that is available when you leave late is to thank those individuals and coworkers who took the time to help you out on your first day.
Showing your appreciation to both your coworkers and boss is helpful for leaving a positive memory on your first day of work.
3. Keep a Positive Attitude
Show up to your first day with a smile and positive can-do attitude.
Be enthusiastic about the position, show that you’re eager to learn, and be friendly to anyone you meet.
This, alone, can go a long way in making a great first impression on those around you, and shows that you’re a team player.
In today’s competitive job marketplace, employers not only want qualified candidates but they also want employees who want to work hard for the company.
In addition, if you are happy to be in your role with the company, you are going to be more eager to learn new things, try new tactics, and continually strive to bring additional value to the employer.
When you keep a positive attitude throughout your first day, you’ll also notice all the benefits that the position has.
In some cases, when people are upset that they have to start a new job, they only think about all the negatives that a job has to offer, instead of all the benefits.
By keeping a positive attitude throughout the day, you can once again showcase to your coworkers and employer that you are eager to learn and develop a lasting commitment with the employer.
One way to make sure you keep positive attitude throughout the day is to focus on the small wins you have in your new position. This might be remembering someone’s name after meeting them for a few seconds and then running into them later on in the day.
Or even tackling a new task that you have no experience in, and learning the basics of how to operate or run the task.
It’s important to remember that on your first day your employer is just looking to introduce you to some of your coworkers, understand some of the policies and procedures, and get comfortable in your new environment.
Focusing on small wins throughout your first day of work will help you with keeping your positive attitude throughout the day.
4. Do Your Research
Again, this is something you probably did before your interview(s), but you will want to conduct more in-depth research before the big day.
You should research all aspects of the hospital or practice, if the information is available, and also learn all you can about the doctor or supervisor you will be working under. Knowing their likes and dislikes can help you make a connection with them and easily avoid mistakes.
It pays to be well informed about any situation that might arise during your first day—and week, for that matter!
In some cases, your employers or boss will once again ask you what you are looking to achieve in their organization.
Another question that might be asked is what can the employer or company do for you to make sure that you are comfortable and succeed in your new position.
If you are well versed in what the company does, and can give a solid answer, then you’ll be ahead of the pack.
In addition, knowing what your role is going to be, will help you understand more about what is being asked of you on a daily basis as they educate you on your job responsibilities.
Doing your research before your first day of work is a great way to show some added initiative, and highlight how excited you are to be working for the employer.
The more you demonstrate that you know, the less employers feel like they have to train you and go through a lengthy on-boarding process.
If you can showcase that you can provide immediate value upon your first day of work, they will be thankful they made the decision to hire you over some of the other candidates.
One great way of doing your research is to revisit the hospital, healthcare facility, or employer’s website.
If you already reviewed it prior to your interviews, you should refresh your memory before your first day of work to ensure you are comfortable and know some of the important details.
If you already know the team members you will be working with, you can also take the time to try and find their bio or profile pages on the website.
This way you can learn a little bit more about them, and could potentially have a conversation starter as we mentioned earlier.
Another element of doing your research for your first day of work is to make sure that you review on-boarding materials. Take the time to review all the documents and information they send you as a pat of the new hire process.
These documents, infographics, and videos have a lot of great useful information that you can use to become more comfortable in your new role.
Some things that you could review as part of your research for your first day of work is to review some of the employee handbooks, employee benefits packages, employee benefit enrollment packages and plans, vacation and paid time off procedures, employment contracts, and any additional information they might wish for you to know – like a company dress code.
In addition, you want to set a good first impression by demonstrating that you valued them sending you that information, and took the time to review it before your first day.
A great benefit of reviewing the info is that it might reduce the amount of onboarding process necessary if you demonstrate an understanding of the information they provided.
Another thing that your research can help you with is knowing who to meet on your first day, and knowing what you need to say or provide them with.
The individual who might help you get acclimated on your first day might not have all the answers to the questions you need, and doing your research before your first day of work will ensure that you know who to talk to or what to do if you have any questions about certain subjects.
Doing your research before your first day of work will help provide valuable insight and make your transition into your role a little bit smoother.
5. Ask Questions
While you’re learning the ropes during the first day, ask questions. They don’t expect you to know everything, but they do expect you to want to learn.
Don’t be afraid to ask about any and everything that pertains to the job.
It shows you want to be as successful as you can, that you want to do things the right way, and that you are interested in how things are done.
Everyone worries that they should feel obligated to know their entire role on their first day, but in reality it is perfectly acceptable to feel unsure or not understand your position on the first day of work.
In fact, employers and coworkers will commend you for your recognition that you are not perfect, and need help from time to time.
It is incredibly beneficial for you to listen to any feedback you receive and then make adjustments based on some of the comments you receive.
Another good tip for your first day of work is to write down answers to questions you had earlier in the day, so you can refer back to them later on when you speak to your boss or coworkers when you leave late.
Writing down some of your questions and concerns is a great way for you to remember to ask later on, and will also showcase that you are committed to improving each day.
Throughout your first day, you don’t need to demonstrate a complete understanding of your role, but instead should demonstrate that you can do a portion of what is being asked of you and are willing to learn the role throughout your time with the company.
It’s important not to worry about coming off as completely clueless by asking a lot of questions, as it’s important to remember that your colleagues also had questions on their first day.
In addition, it’s better to get some of your questions and concerns out of the way early, so you don’t have to stress later on down the road when the company expects you to start performing full time.
6. Introduce Yourself
Practice introducing yourself the night before.
You should make steady eye contact and present a firm handshake.
You’ll want to come across as confident and friendly to your coworkers and all of the people you’ll meet, especially on the first day of work.
On your first day of work it is important to avoid isolating yourself. For some this will be a challenge, but with a little practice you can easily get the hang of it.
You want to try and make friends with everyone you meet. One great way of doing this is to introduce yourself to everyone you run into on your first day of work.
It is easier to make friends on your first day of work, than worry about having to rush to catch up and get to know everyone when you’ve finally settled in after a while.
For those individuals who are naturally uncomfortable in social situations, you don’t have to force yourself to get to know others. A simple introduction will do just fine, and you’ll see that it goes a long way in making yourself comfortable in your new role.
Some companies prefer that everyone keeps to themselves, so you just have to be aware of the social settings and try to align with them.
7. Take Notes
Write anything important down!
Taking notes of expectations, goals, and people’s names and positions will make it easier to ask questions about anything you might be unsure of.
When we write things down, we also have a better chance of retaining that information. This will also convey that you’re dedicated to your new position and build confidence with your employer.
If you worry about feeling awkward running around with a notepad on your first day, then feel free to take notes in a mobile or tablet device.
It doesn’t matter how you take the notes, as long as you take the notes.
Many people prefer to bring a notepad on the first day of work, simply due to the fact that they have already brought in a briefcase or tote to bring in any other mandatory documents that are associated with a first day of work.
When you ask questions later on after your shift, you’ll be glad you took notes throughout the day.
8. Practice Good Listening Skills
Good listening skills are essential and will help you excel at your job.
Yes, the first day of work is usually overwhelming, and you are loaded down with a ton of new information, but if you pay attention and show that you remember your coworker’s names, for example, you will seem more likable.
Also, bosses want good listeners as employees, because it shows them that you are able to pay attention and get things done right the first time, which will catapult you into career success.
Even though you may feel bombarded at times, focusing on the task or person in front of you will help filter out any unnecessary distractions.
One great way to earn the trust of your new employer is to simply listen to them.
New hires are brought in for a variety of reasons, and one clear way to determine why you were hired and how you can make an impact on the business is to just listen.
We’ll go over some of the best listening skills for you to showcase on your first day of work.
The first active listening skill you should practice is to be attentive and stay relaxed. By staying relaxed, you will be able to process more information coming at you and won’t forget it later on in the day.
The next active listen skill you should demonstrate is to maintain eye contact when the speaker is talking to you, and try to picture what the speaker is saying.
When you visualize what the speaker is saying to you, you can develop memory cues as to what they said earlier in the day.
As we previously mentioned, many employers bring new hires on for a variety of reasons – most likely to solve a problem that they can’t answer.
The thing is, you don’t have to solve that solution on your first day. Some people feel obligated to demonstrate that they have all the answers on their first day of work, but that isn’t true.
It’s better to listen to everything the employer is saying, so you can have a clear understanding of what you need to do in your new role.
The next active listening skill you can demonstrate is to wait for the speaker to pause before you begin asking follow-up questions.
When you wait for a pause, you can get a clear signal that the speaker has finished their thought and is leaving room for you to answer or speak your opinion.
It is also a good habit to wait for a pause to ensure that you don’t interrupt the speaker, which is typically perceived as being rude.
The next active listening skill you should follow is to give the speaker regular feedback. One such way is to give comments that might reflect the speaker’s feelings, such as: “You must be excited about that.”
The last active listening skill you should follow on your first day of work to ensure good listening skills is to also pay attention to what isn’t being said to you.
During your first day of work, there will be plenty of cues and signals thrown at you, and it’s important for you to take note of these.
When you speak to someone, you can register plenty of non-verbal cues. Some of these non-verbal cues might include the way they act when speaking about a certain subject, the way their face behaves.
9. Communicate Professionally
This is vitally important.
Even though you probably demonstrated your professional communication skills for your interviews, you will want to continue to do so while at work.
You should enunciate your words, speak clearly, and avoid mumbling. Make sure your tone of voice is not too loud or soft.
You want to come across as an individual they can rely on to ensure the job gets done.
Although all work place environments differ, depending on the culture, you will want to talk to everyone you encounter in a professional manner.
Wait until you are sure of the culture before using any lingo or slang that may be inappropriate.
It’s advisable to stay conservative with what you say until you’ve had a chance to feel the place out.
One way to ensure that you communicate professionally is to use simple words. While you might be in a profession with highly educated individuals, the truth is that not everyone will be on the same vocabulary level.
This means that one way to ensure that your message gets across properly is to ensure that you speak in a professional manner that everyone can understand your meaning without others feeling lost.
When you use ambiguous words, others might not understand your intent and feel lost – causing you to explain yourself once again and waste valuable time on your first day of work.
10. Show What You Know
Lastly, this is your time to shine!
Be sure to show your employers what you know, and speak up if you have any ideas or comments about something.
The days of the “yes man” are coming to an end, and more employers want to hear the ideas of their employees rather than them simply agreeing with everything.
Constructive criticism is a great thing. Without it, without trying to poke holes in whatever you’re working (metaphorically speaking), it would be much more difficult to find areas of improvement.
They want to see those awesome skills and experience you shared in your interview put to good work.
Well that’s it for this Top 10. Good luck with your first day of work in your new position!
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