How to ace your first day

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After you’ve blitzed the interview, you receive a call: You’ve landed the job! But it’s now the night before your first day. We’ve all been there, all the small and unnecessary questions that nag us and keep us up all night. You have to figure out, where’s the office again? How do I actually get into the office? Which tube line am I getting on? Sure, starting a job is a stressful experience but it’s hopefully a positive step in the right direction for your career. This blog aims to give you advice on how to impress on your first day.

#1 Before you’ve even arrived

A good way to make an initial impression can lie in the preparation you do prior to starting. It is to complete those tedious admin tasks before you’ve even stepped a foot in the door.

Adjust your LinkedIn profile to the appropriate job title and ensure you’re within the company branding.

Location! Make sure you’ve mapped out your way to the new office, allowing time for possible navigation slip-ups. There’s nothing worse than turning up late on your first day!

Prepare an outfit the night before; If it’s a global finance or consultancy company, chances are a stylish suit will be in order. Elsewhere, you might get away with something more casual. If in doubt, you can always contact the company to find out (or they might tell you).

Plan your route, and possibly practice your commute in. Arrive early, but not crazy-early (20 minutes is fine, an hour might leave you biding your time in the local Pret).

Bring all necessary documents. The first day at a new job often involves a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy. Go ahead and bring all your documents — driver’s license or passport and NI number.

Bring cash, so it’s less awkward if you go out to lunch/drinks with new colleagues (tossing in £10 is casual, whereas asking someone to put your share on a credit card is awkward). Also, have cash handy in case something unexpected happens, like an office raffle or charity campaign where everybody’s putting in a couple of quid.

Work to understand the org chart and hierarchy right away, so you can position yourself appropriately.

Don’t bring lunch, this is a great opportunity get to know your co-workers.

#2 It’s 9 AM – your first morning

You’ve made your way to the office, and due to your trail run the weekend before, you have plenty of time to spare and are able to pick up a coffee en route. Stress free!

Have a sit down with your new manager and discuss what you can expect from your first week and make sure you get an intro into the organisation, structure & culture. Make sure to ask questions that didn’t come up in your on line research.

Now your day is underway, a great way to impress your new boss is to take your time to go around to each desk and introduce yourself. Make sure that this is done when you have some free time, before work for example and not when you are expected to be getting on with another task. For each desk you visit, it’s always worth noting down who they are and what they do. This will not only help you understand your co-worker’s roles, but it can also begin to build relationships within the office.

#3 Network: It may sound odd, but you won’t be in this job forever, and strange things do happen in business. If you do your job well and are friendly with your colleagues, they may help you get a promotion, or even put in a good word for you elsewhere if things don’t work out for you in this company. You clearly don’t want it to come to that, but remember – who you know is as important as what you know.

#4 Wrapping up the day

When your working day is drawing to a close, be sure to linger around a little bit longer to make sure your HR paperwork is all completed. Darting straight out the door, might give off a bad impression. Reflect on the day before you call it a night. Write down any questions or queries you have from your first day and a short to do list, if appropriate.

Questions you may want to ask your Manager;

  • What are the metrics my performance will be judged by?
  • What are your expectations for my first week?
  • What would you like me to have accomplished in the first three/six months?
  • How often will we sit down together?
  • Do you have more of an open-door policy, or should I email you with an agenda and arrange a face to face?
  • Is there anyone else I should be speaking with today?

Now to relax…

Congratulations, your first day is officially over… It wasn’t that bad, was it? In retrospect, what went well? How did it compare with your expectations? As is a tradition with some companies, a pub visit may be in order for you. Be sure to go along and get to know people outside work hours. But, be cautious. Don’t drink more than a couple. There is nothing worse than being the poor sod that ended up humiliating themselves after too many vinos in their first week. Uncomfortable flirting, throwing up in a corner, or letting loose your destructive drunk alter-ego, will most probably go down like a lead balloon. Even more so when you’re new!

Finally, have fun: you’ll spend a lot of time in work, so do your best to make it enjoyable. Make friends, do the work well and open up your own opportunities. It’s your career, so make it a good one!


Are you an EA, PA, or business support professional looking to take your career to the next level? Executive Partnerships can help. We’re a specialist recruitment agency working with leading companies and organisations to connect them with talented staff. Learn more at

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