5 Things You Need to Know When Starting Your First Job

Meg Timbrell
Content & Social Media Manager
3 min read

It’s only natural to be nervous about making a good first impression, so here are our top 5 things you need to know for starting your first job.

Your first day at a new job can be extremely nerve-wracking, whether you’re starting your first part-time job alongside studies, or going into a graduate job. The main thing to know is that you’re not expected to know everything, and that making mistakes is totally normal. 

Take care of your appearance

First impressions are key, so dressing appropriately for the job is the first step in showing you're ready for what's ahead. Of course, this is totally dependent on what role you’re entering into. Turning up to work in a café in a suit and tie, or to a high-end banking job in dirty white trainers are obvious no-goes. Jobs will often state what their uniform or dress requirements are, so take note of this.

If you’re not sure or can’t find the information, then there’s absolutely no harm in contacting them to ask: employers often expect this from new employees. When going through the interview process for the job, make a mental note of the kinds of attire that those around you are wearing if you don't feel comfortable asking.

It's noticeable if you haven't taken care of your appearance, and to your employer, this will translate into your work ethic and the care you put into your new job. So make sure you shower, and don't forget the deodorant on your first day!

Attitude and enthusiasm

Despite your appearance being a key part of a first impression, the real impact is going to be made by your attitude and enthusiasm to a job. No one is going to want to work with someone who looks like they don't want to be there. Display interest in your job, even if it’s not what you want to do for the rest of your life. If this is the case, think about the reasons you applied for the job in the first place. Enthusiasm can make those around you feel more confident in your ability, leading to promotions or career advancements.

Making mistakes is normal

The most important thing to know during the first few days of the job is that you’re not expected to know everything, and that it is totally natural and actually expected of you to make the odd mistake. Everybody makes mistakes and is afraid of making them, even your big scary boss, believe it or not. 

The important part about mistakes is that if you do make one, always own up to it. It’s a lot worse further down the line if you’re caught out to have lied or covered something up. Honesty and communication on the other hand will be respected. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Another equally important thing to know in the first few days with communication is not to be afraid to ask for help. Ask as many questions as you can when you’re starting out. It’ll make the job a lot easier and maybe even more enjoyable. 

However, asking for this help can sometimes feel intimidating and like you’re letting them know your weaknesses. More often than not they won’t think anything of your question and will respect your initiative in trying to find out. You have to remember that you’re the newbie, and you aren’t expected to know everything yet. It’s better to ask right at the start than for it to be too late, and you’re 6 months in and expected to know. 

Make sure you’re directing any questions you have to the right person, and try not to badger someone who can’t help you. The right person to approach is usually the person who trained you, or perhaps the first person who met you when you started out.

Do your research

Turn up to your job with that little bit of extra knowledge up your sleeve. For instance, if you’ve never worked behind a bar before, have a look online at tips and tricks that will help you get a head-start, such as learning to pour a pint. Or, if you’re entering into a more high-end job, let’s say in a marketing company, research more about the company itself: its ethos and clients for example. Feeling confident with what you are about to enter into will enhance your enthusiasm and improve your first impression.

Our final piece of advice is to make sure you smile; it will trick your mind into thinking you're relaxed, as well as making your new colleagues like you more. Good luck!

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