First impressions are hard to change. Even after months, assumptions made upon first meeting someone can linger and colour your face-to-face interactions1. So it's little surprise many of us want to appear and perform our best on our first day of a new job.
However, moving into a new role can be stressful at times and this anxiety can impact your performance. To help you prepare for your first day in a new IT or tech job, here are a few helpful hints.
1. Accept that you don't know everything
The best way to make a good impression on your first day is to stop worrying about impressing anyone. No one expects a new recruit to start achieving great productivity immediately, and acting as though you're infallible is a great way to set yourself up for failure. It's important on your first day to accept that there are things you won't know.
Of course, that doesn't mean you shouldn't try your hardest. When given a task, be sure to try doing it yourself first and then ask for help if you need it. Your manager and coworkers will appreciate the honesty, and much prefer that you're willing to address gaps in your knowledge quickly rather than trying to tough it out.
Asking for help is also an opportunity to identify someone on your team who can act as a mentor for the next few months as you adjust to the workplace.
2. Focus on learning the process
Every workplace has unique processes, including variations on agile work, and learning these can be the biggest roadblock to productivity. You'll be comfortable with the basic tasks of your role after having studied for years, but the specific ways your new workplace operates cannot be learned in the classroom.
Ask plenty of questions to understand your day-to-day internal processes as quickly as possible. Not only will this help you become productive faster, it'll show your team that you're invested in the workplace and making a concerted effort to learn the ropes.
Don't focus on your performance so much that you forget to socialise.
3. Balance your role with social connections
Lastly, don't focus on your performance so much that you forget to socialise. Your first few days are when your coworkers will form opinions about you for better or worse, so this is the perfect time to show that you're keen to embrace the company culture and form working friendships.
Ask your colleagues what they usually do for lunch to open a dialogue, and don't be afraid to ask if you can join them.
When everyone is wrapping up, it's also a great idea to send a quick thank you email to anyone who answered your questions throughout the day to show your appreciation and reinforce your social connection.
Your first day can be daunting, but it should also be exciting. This is the first page in a new chapter of your life – so be sure to make it a good one. With the support of the team at 920 Career Agents, you'll do just fine. Get in touch today to talk about your career.
1When judging other people, first impressions last, Cornell University