I had my first day in the office of my new job this week and whilst it was exciting, it was also a bit scary.

I was with my previous employer for over 10 years, so it’s been a long time since going through this experience and it led me to think of some tips for the first day that I could share.

Smile.  I know that this can be challenging sometimes when you’re feeling nervous, but putting on a nice smile when you first meet new people will help you to create a positive first impression (remember you only get one).  Smiling will help you to feel more relaxed, and will make you more approachable, assisting you in starting conversations with your new work-mates.

A firm handshake.  This is an important one as well.  A nice firm handshake displays confidence, whereas a “dead fish” handshake gives an insipid impression.

Listen.  Sometimes, when we get nervous, our mouth starts to work of its own accord, but the early days of a new role is your chance to hear from others and learn from them. 

The other advantage of being an effective listener is that people naturally like to talk about themselves, so allowing them to do so will subconsciously have them feeling better about their interactions with you. 

Don’t talk too much about your previous employer.  This principle is important if you left your previous employer on either positive or negative terms. 

If you feel positive about your previous role, don’t tell your new peers about how good it was and all of the things that your new company could learn from them.  That’s really annoying.

If you left your previous employer on a bad note, complaining and putting them down won’t win you any friends and will leave a negative first impression.

Ask lots of questions.  You only get one shot at being the new guy, so make sure that you take advantage of this by asking lots of questions in your first few days.  You’re better off asking silly questions in your first week than making mistakes a few months later because you were too proud to ask.

There you have it.  Five simple tips for your first day in your new job.  I hope that they are helpful.

For the record, I have had a very positive first couple of days in my new role and trust that I have been able to put these principles into action effectively.

Do you have any other tips for people starting a new job?

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