Searching for a new job can be an incredibly stressful experience. Attending interviews for a potential position can be even more stressful.
And while accepting a job offer is very exciting and satisfying, it also comes with a fair bit of anxiety leading up to your first day at your new job.
Making a good first impression at your new place of work is ultimately even more important than the interview, as it can determine your trajectory within the company.
Worrying about that first day won’t do any good, though. Instead, make some practical preparations for your first day. That way, you’ll feel much more confident when you finally walk into the office.
Here are six things to do before starting a new job. You may also want to read this article on what to bring with you on your first day.
Read Up on Company History
No, you’re not likely to be quizzed on facts about the company’s history, but reading up on that very subject can prove to be a huge asset down the line.
It doesn’t matter whether your new job is in retail, consulting, or graphic design: knowing the company’s history and how it reached its current status and success is a healthy way to prepare for a new workspace.
If the company is large enough, you may find a Wikipedia article that provides an overview of the company’s purpose and size.
For smaller companies and startups, try the company website. There is often an About section that provides the company’s mission statement and overall goals, as well as giving hints towards how the company prefers to operate.
If you’re not finding any significant information anywhere online, then look into larger companies within the same industry, who create similar products.
Even if these other companies do things differently, you’ll still be getting a great look at the competition.
Sort Out Your Commute
There are few things that look worse than showing up late to your first day in a new job. It comes off as unprofessional, or potentially like you’re not interested in the job at all.
If your commute is a long one in a part of town you’re unfamiliar with, then it’s a good idea to plan out your commute ahead of time.
This can simply be looking for several different possible routes on a GPS service like Google Maps. Or maybe you want to do a practice commute on one of your days off.
Does your new company provide free parking on the premises? How bad is traffic likely to be during your commute? Is your car running well and likely to stay that way?
If you’ll be taking public transit to work, be sure to allow plenty of time for delays and missed buses and/or trains.
Some of these questions and concerns may seem like a symptom of overplanning, but being sure you know your way around the commute will put your mind at ease the night before going in to work for the first time.
This article also gives some helpful tips for making your commute a bit easier.
Build a Professional Wardrobe
If your new job hasn’t already provided you with the company dress code or uniform requirements, then try to think back to your job interview.
How was everyone dressed? Is business casual acceptable or was everyone in more formal attire like suits and pantsuits?
Even if your new workplace doesn’t have strict guidelines regarding employee clothing, it’s still a smart move to gather several outfits that are both professional and stylish.
Shorts are off the table. Pants must not have holes or tears, whether intentional or unintentional. Shirts should be free of stains of any size, and shoes should be in good shape and not visibly worn down.
This tip is for the psychological side of your preparations. Preparing yourself mentally for a new job is ultimately just as important as gathering all the proper materials.
Office environments often mean being forced to get along with many different people, all of whom have their own goals, quirks, and merits.
For better or worse, you’ll need to be friendly with all of them, every day, right from the start.
That’s why you should take a few moments, the day before your first shift, to prepare yourself to stay open to new suggestions and ideas, even ones that may seem outlandish or foolish at first.
Make a promise to yourself to stay positive at your new job, always looking for ways to improve your situation and advance within the company to a position you find fulfilling.
Brush Up on Your Computer Skills
With very few exceptions, most office jobs (and many non-office jobs) require employees to be at least proficient in all necessary computer programs and web services.
Your new job may involve a certain amount of SQL or data-entry. If you’re not already completely comfortable with these types of programs and tasks, take a weekend to do some research online.
You may not find information specific to the system your new company uses, but you will be able to find examples of similar systems.
If there’s a specific program that you tend to struggle with, look up several online tutorials that break down skills necessary for using that program.
Set Goals for Yourself
One of the most important things you can do before starting a new job is to set professional goals for yourself.
Once you become accustomed to your new job, it can be easy to get lost in the day-to-day responsibilities and lose sight of the big picture.
But you owe it to yourself to keep your career goals in mind and work towards them in small ways each week.
Even if you don’t see major improvements to you standing within the company right away, your boss and coworkers will take note of your ambition.
Adjusting to a new job can be tough, but if you set out with specific goals and a positive attitude, the transition will be much easier than you expected.
Try out these tips as well as some of your own and you’ll be welcomed into your new place of work in no time.