First Day on the Job: Do’s and Don’ts

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You rocked the interview, and landed the IT job you wanted. Congratulations!

First impressions are everything, though, so you still have a few things to consider before you start your new gig. Here’s a guide to making sure your first day on the job is a rousing success — or at the very least, making sure you don’t sabotage yourself.

 

And if you need to cram in some last minute training so you can impress the rest of the IT folks on your first day, you know where to go!

Do: Adjust your attitude.
Don’t: Let prior experiences affect you.

You could be experiencing a whole range of emotions as you start your new job. Maybe you’re giddy with excitement because you landed a dream job, or maybe you’re feeling anxious and a little resentful after taking a less-than-perfect position.

No matter where you fall on the spectrum, it’s key to go into your first day with an enthusiastic and open-minded attitude. This will lay a great foundation for forming good working relationships with your colleagues.

Employ those ever-so-important IT soft skills from the start and it’ll improve your focus and ability to take in new information.

Do: Take care of your appearance.
Don’t: Be too casual right out the gate.

First impressions aren’t created based on attitude alone. While over time, of course, you’ll want your good work to speak for itself, it’s unavoidable that you’ll be judged on appearance when you walk in the door the first time.

(And unfortunately, the stereotype of the IT guy has created some unfavorable assumptions.)

First thing’s first: Pay attention to your grooming and hygiene. Get a haircut if you need one, take a shower, brush your teeth — common sense measures, of course, but there’s no shame in needing a reminder.

Next, dress professionally, even if it means overdressing a bit on your first day. Depending on your workplace, this might mean a suit or at least slacks and a nice shirt, or a dress for women.

If in doubt, ask your new manager about the usual attire. Or skim our IT dress code post!

Do: Arrive early (and plan to leave late).
Don’t: Be late!

Being on time is crucial for making a good first impression. It’s even better to plan to be early and wait a few minutes at your car or a nearby coffee shop than to plan to be exactly on time and run the risk of traffic or other transportation issues.

Arrive a few minutes early on your first day, but not too early that you inconvenience anyone. (Ten minutes is a good bet.)

While your schedule may get more flexible over time, don’t plan for a long lunch or a rigid stop time on your first day. Take cues from your manager, and don’t leave first unless you’re explicitly told to do so.

Our IT Soft Skills course goes into great detail about time management, team building, and even dress code! It’s worth

Do: Be honest.
Don’t: Be a know-it-all

No one expects you to know everything on your first day. So don’t pretend!

If someone uses a word you don’t know, if you forgot where the bathroom is, if you don’t understand your paperwork — just be honest about it.

And when it comes to IT, if you want to truly be successful, never stop learning. Whether you just passed your Network+ cert or you’re a newly minted Cisco Top Gun, you really shouldn’t have a “know it all” mentality.

Being open and asking for help when you need it will set you up to succeed, and also make you more relatable to your boss and coworkers.

Do: Relax and have fun.
Don’t: Sweat the small stuff.

First days can be overwhelming. Don’t worry — everyone was new once, and soon enough you’ll be one of the pros trying to make a new coworker feel at home.

There’s plenty advice out there for not just acing your first day, but for how to be more productive, get a raise, get a promotion, do more in less time… the list goes on.

If you try to do it all, you’ll drive yourself crazy. So relax and enjoy yourself in your new job.

Also, here’s a great list of reminders of why you enjoy working in IT in the first place!

We hope these tips help inform and even allay some worries before the big day. Congratulations on taking a new step in your career.

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