How to Survive your First Day on the Job

Most of us have been there, some of us still go through it from time to time, and a lot of us have yet to experience their first day at a new job. It’s like going to school for the very first time. Everything is foreign and new, there’s a slight hint of excitement, but most of it is clouded by the fear of the unknown.

Whichever category you fit into, this article was written to help ease that transition into a new environment and work culture. This way you will feel more comfortable and give your most authentic self an opportunity to shine through. Who knows, you might even make a couple of friends on that first day.

To get you started we’ve created a guide to help you survive your first day at the new job:


Dress to Impress!

  1. I cannot stress enough the importance of dressing up the first day of work – don’t go overboard, just make sure you look good and professional. Studies show that people make a judgment about you within the first five seconds of meeting you, and if it’s a bad judgement, it can take up to eight subsequent meetings to change that person’s impression of you.
  2. Dressing better, makes you perform better. It doesn’t only influence the way people see you, but it influences the way you see yourself. It’s called Enclothed Cognition (
  3. Be sure to make sure that you dress according to your company’s dress code, if you’re unsure, phone your manager and ask. This may mean, “Does that mean I wear a suit and tie/a pencil skirt and blouse?  This way you can be absolutely cerrtain you understand the dress code.


Remember People’s Names

One of the key attributes of charm is being able to recall someone’s name. A name is the sweetest sounding thing to anyone in any language.

You’re going to be meeting a lot of new people, and we all know how difficult it can be to remember twenty people’s names right off the bat. So the two easiest ways to get you over this hurdle is:

  1. Name association – As soon as someone gives you their name, try to associate it with something or someone you know. For example, if you met a Bruce, I would associate it with Bruce Lee. Which has proven to make names stay with you much longer.
  2. Use the person’s name in conversation, instead of, “So how you doing today?” Rather use “Samantha, how are you today?”
  3. Repeating the person’s name three times in the initial introduction e.g.

“Hi Diedre, my Name is Johnathan – Diedre am I pronouncing your name correctly? – Excellent, tell me Diedre how long have you been with the company?”


Be Punctual and Organized

In keeping with the premise of creating good first impressions on your colleagues, nothing can throw away your hard earned approval faster than being flimsy with your timing. This includes arriving late for work, or even worse, team meetings. It’s respectful to those that have managed to keep to a schedule and arrive on time.


Don’t be a know-it-all – Keep an Open Mind

Lastly you may be tempted to show everybody that you know what you’re doing and that you weren’t hired for your good looks. This can be detrimental because nobody likes a know-it-all. Remember that when you enter a new company you need to figure out the organisational culture and that comes with time. Keep an open mind by giving people an opportunity to show you the ropes and introduce you to new things.

Stay tuned for part two of this article on how to survive your first day on the job.

If you enjoyed this article and want to learn more on professional behaviour and social skill development then click HERE.

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