How to handle the first day

Avoid first day jitters with some helpful advice on survival

Avoid first day jitters with some helpful advice on survival

If you're about to begin a new job and have been attacked by a case of 'starting day jitters', the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) has put together a list of pointers to help you survive those dreaded first few days.

  • Don't arrive too early on day one. Five minutes early should be enough to show you're keen, and to let you get a feel for the place.

  • Dress conservatively. After one day in the office you'll be able to establish what dress is or is not acceptable.

  • Ask questions. Staff won't expect you to know where everything is and how things are done.

  • Try and get to know the system set-up. Learn about your PC, the photocopier and fax machines. Make enquiries and have a notebook handy.

  • Be honest. Don't try and sound knowledgeable about something just to impress colleagues. Spend a lot of time listening, and if you don't understand, say so.

  • Try not to get involved in office gossip - it'll do more harm than good in the long run.

  • Smile - it makes you more approachable.

  • If someone invites you to go for lunch then accept. Don't take sandwiches until you establish what the lunch arrangements are.

  • Don't leave at 5.30pm on the dot - see what everyone else is doing before rushing off. In the same vein, don't hang around late if it's unnecessary.

  • If you're bored, ask for work or use the time to find out more about how the place is run.

  • Don't moan or get upset if things don't work out the way you expect.

  • Be proactive and enthusiastic; and introduce yourself to new colleagues.

    "The first few days are always stressful, but don't forget that there's work that needs doing, otherwise you wouldn't have been chosen for the position. Things are not going to be perfect but a bit of common sense, and the above tips should help you feel more confident and in control," adds Tim Nicholson, chief executive of the REC.

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