By Sheryl So, Account Executive at LCI
Starting a new job can be both exciting and scary. Even as you get older, the pressure to make a great first impression never leaves. After all, no one wants to show up late, appear unorganized, or seem ill-equipped to handle the job we were just hired to do. Luckily, I found Landis Communications Inc. (LCI) who welcomed me with open arms last Monday on my first day as a new Account Executive.
In addition to learning about my new clients and how things are done at LCI, I’ve also had to adjust to living in a new city and a new country. I moved to San Francisco from Toronto, Canada a few months ago. Thank goodness the language is the same but of course there are a few exceptions. For example, beanies are called tuques in Canada and sometimes the occasional “eh” slips out in conversation.
What helped me overcome my first day jitters? The following three tips I’ve picked up over the course of my 5+ years in public relations:
1. Put your best foot forward
Start by mapping out the route you plan to take to work. Be sure to set multiple alarms so you wake up on time. Next, choose an outfit that’s appropriate and comfortable enough for your first day. Whether you’re in construction or joining a start-up, there’s always a dress code. Take a cue from what your employer was wearing at the interview and go from there.
2. Take a break
On your first day, you’ll have a lot of new information flying your way. Your morning will involve multiple introductions, several briefings and maybe accidentally locking yourself in the emergency stairway (yes, this has actually happened to me).
All of a sudden, it’s 2 p.m. and you’re mentally exhausted. So take a break! Whether it’s a trip to the local coffee shop or to a nearby park, getting away from the office will re-establish perspective. A change of scenery can do a lot to clear the mind and recharge you in preparation for the rest of the day.
3. Ask lots of questions
It might seem simple, but many first-time employees make the mistake of not asking enough questions. They are assigned a task and quickly say, “yup, I got it,” or “sure, no problem,” even though they have absolutely no clue what is being asked of them.
As you’re being trained, take notes, and be sure to ask your manager or a seasoned co-worker for help if you need it. Establishing a help network is critical to increasing your chances of success.
If you’ve managed to end the day without setting something on fire (or getting fired, for that matter), congratulations, you’ve successfully survived your first day. Now you can breathe a sigh of relief and do it all over again tomorrow. But don’t worry it gets easier as each day passes.
Remember, you probably won’t feel 100% comfortable until 3 or even 6 months in. Just know that the first day of any job is a little awkward. Cut yourself some slack! You’ll be just fine.
We’d like to hear from you! Please send your tips on overcoming first day jitters to firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments section below.
If you liked this article, be sure to check out these other pieces on the LCI blog:
- LCI Blog: PR Predictions for 2013
- LCI Blog: What Social Media is Not
- LCI Blog: Meet the Media – Sophia Markoulakis, Home and Garden Writer for the San Francisco Chronicle