Avoid These 6 Mistakes Your First Day on the Job

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Starting a new job can be daunting. There are so many thoughts running through your mind while you try to maintain your cool in a foreign environment. All you can do to guarantee a smooth transition is prepare yourself every step of the way. Here are six mistakes to avoid on day one of your new job:

Mistake #1: Failing to prepare before your first day

The last thing you want to do on the first day of your new job is to show up unprepared. Get your personal ducks in a row prior to starting your new job so you can be fully present. This includes:

  • Scheduling appointments to avoid taking time off
  • Getting plenty of sleep each night (maintaining a healthy routine)
  • Taking a mini-vacation or planning a mental health day

It’s also a good idea to refresh your knowledge of the company and industry you’ll be working in. Are there any new trends, courses, or certifications you can complete beforehand? Has the company undergone any recent changes or implemented new software that you can get a head start learning about? Showing up on your first day prepared and ready to roll will immediately set you up to impress. 

Mistake #2: Failing to make a great first impression

Failing to prepare for your first day could say more about you than your work performance. You only get one chance to make a great first impression. So, it’s crucial to put your best foot forward as soon as you walk through the door (or Zoom into a room)! Here are a couple of ways you can prepare to make a positive impression: 

  • Arrive early 
  • Dress appropriately (grooming included) 
  • Have enthusiasm 
  • Keep your cell phone out of sight 
  • Take notes 
  • Listen when someone is speaking
  • Call people by their names 
  • Stay positive 

You don’t have to be the loudest, cheeriest person in the room. Just be the person you would want to be stuck in an airport with. The first impression is the most important. 

Mistake #3: Neglecting to meet with your supervisor ASAP

Entering a new environment is intimidating. To minimize the discomfort, reach out to your supervisor immediately to discuss priorities and plans for the day. Avoid waiting for your supervisor to come to you, unless otherwise specified, because you need to appear resourceful and eager. This is when those first impression tips will come in handy. 

Determine exactly how a typical day should look. This way you know what is expected moving forward. Ask your supervisor what your priorities are, how your success will be measured, and any initial questions you may have. Try to avoid being too needy but gather enough information for you to hit the ground running. 

Mistake #4: Participating in gossip

You absolutely do not want to be caught gossiping on the job. Every company will have some form of office drama that will eventually make its way to you. Until then, keep your lips zipped and your eyes on the prize. 

It’s important to not let your desire to make friends within the office influence inappropriate behavior. Your number one priority should be to make a good impression all around so that your future at the company is bright rather than short. 

Mistake #5: Having NO plan for what success looks like

Every business is goal-oriented, which means its employees should be too. How are you going to help your company reach its goals? What are your personal goals within your department? What does success look like to you? How do you plan to grow within the company? These are all questions to consider when starting a new job.

Be sure to lay the groundwork for your future on the first day so that you have goals to work towards. U.S. News states that senior executives often employ a 100-day success plan when starting a new role. This guarantees that these executives are documenting even the smallest wins in order to build a reputation within the organization and maintain perseverance. 

Mistake #6: Failing to ask for feedback

It can be a little scary and uncomfortable to ask for feedback. Some people like to assume that no news is good news; however, it is in your best interest to ask your supervisor for feedback. It doesn’t have to be a formal meeting. You can make it a natural part of your conversation at the 30 and 60-day mark, just to check-in and see how you’re performing so far. Although it’s never fun to hear the negatives, constructive criticism can inform you of weaknesses so that you can work on turning them into strengths by the 90-day mark. 

Don’t forget to enlist support from experienced professionals. If you worked with an experienced recruiter to find your next career opportunity, consider asking them to review your 90 plan. Since your recruiter is familiar with you and the company, they should have a unique perspective on what might be considered a successful start.

Most importantly, remember that learning to live and embrace any discomfort will allow you to grow professionally and personally. It also lets your supervisor know that you are mature enough to handle criticism and eager to be coached. However, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is forgetting to smile and have fun. They hired you because they like you. Let your excitement and enthusiasm be known! The future is bright!

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