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4 minute read

Essential Tips on Surviving Your First Day at Work

You’ve cleared the interview. Now, comes the other hard part: Settling in.

A group of people happily having a conversation

A new work environment, fresh faces in your team and a whole different set of office dynamics. These are some of the adjustments you would make during your first day. And it can be daunting. 

But, the changes can be just as exciting as you tackle new challenges and learn more skills.

Amanda Augustine, a career expert at TheLadders, an online job-matching service platform, advises newcomers to be on their toes. 

“The first three months of any new job are an extension of the interview process,” she says. “From the first day, you need to be on your game.”  

Looking for career guidance? If you are exploring career changes and need professional advice, register for a complimentary session with WSG’s Career Coaching today.

Unsure of where to start? Here are 6 ways to make the most of your first day of work: 

1. Take initiative to introduce yourself

Introduce yourself to everyone in the office: Your team, your bosses and even the cleaning lady down the corridor. 

Workforce Singapore’s Career Coach Allen Tan agrees and adds on: “Don’t be afraid of asking questions about what is expected of you too.”  

But remember to keep your introductions short and concise. The best way is to prepare a 30-second elevator pitch that will capture their attention, highlight your career experience and pose a question. 

2. Dress the part

To avoid a frustrating and stressful morning, plan your outfit the night before your first work day. Keep your choices as professional as possible. When in doubt, check what are HR’s policies on dressing. 

During orientation, you can observe what others wear. Gradually, you can match your wardrobe to better suit the office dress culture.

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3. Setting expectations with your boss

On your first day, you are bound to be busy. In fact, settling down and filling up administrative work will have you scurrying around and dividing your time for multiple people. 

Aside from making sure you catch a breather, you should dedicate some time for your immediate boss to define expectations and key deliverables. 

“Ask your boss how your success will be measured and over what time frame,” says Roy Cohen, a top Wall Street career coach in the US. By getting context and expectations from your boss, you are one step closer in excelling in your job. 

A man dressing smartly for first day of work

4. Find out who you will be working closely with 

Try to identify the people that you will be working with the most and introduce yourself to them. These could be the people seated around your desk, the supervisors you report to, or the junior staff that you are in-charge of. 

The best way to get to know them is over lunch. So, never turn down a lunch invite. Ask them questions on what they do and how it relates to your role, or simply chit-chat about celebrity gossip. 

Not only will you establish genuine relationships with your co-workers, but you’ll get the chance to read their personalities outside of an office setting. All these can help you find your way around the workplace.  

Read Also: 5 Working S’poreans Share How They Landed Their First Jobs When They Were Still Young and Inexperienced

5. Make friends with a veteran 

As a newcomer, your first day will be overwhelming. To find your footing in a new environment and excel, you will need a mentor to guide you through your career. 

Ideally, a mentor-mentee relationship should be based on mutual trust, openness and the willingness to learn. 

By establishing a strong working and personal relationship with your mentor, you can receive guidance that can propel you in your career. These include: getting honest feedback, developing your current skills and expanding your network. 

Having a mentor produces results too. Louise Tagliante, founder of Protégé, a women’s mentoring organisation based in Singapore, shares these sentiments. 

She elaborates that their mentees have been speaking up assertively, achieving promotions and gaining more confidence in asking for promotions or international jobs. 

6. Prepare yourself for change  

Whether you’re a fresh graduate entering your first job or a seasoned worker with years of experience, your first day at work can be the most nerve-wracking. 

To make it memorable (in a good way), head into your new workplace with an open mind. 

Things will be different from your previous job. And you might find the pace to be totally opposite of your previous life. But be patient with yourself as you slowly adjust to a whole new environment.  

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