Tips for your first day in a new job

Published on: Wed, 05 Oct 2022
By: Claire, redwigwam

Are you starting a new job?

Whether it’s your first day in a new role, or your first ever job, feeling nervous is understandable. Even the wigwammers who’ve been temping for years feel a twinge of nervousness on their first day!

We asked our wigwammers, and the redwigwam team what their tips would be for someone on their first day in a new job. Here’s what they said…

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Take it one day at a time

Whether you’re temping for a couple of days, or starting a permanent job, don’t try and learn everything in your first day.

As a temp, you will need to hit the ground running – so you’ll be expected to crack on with the work, but it doesn’t mean you need to know the names of everyone in the building and a full breakdown of the company ethos.

If you’re there in a permanent position, you make spend more time getting to know your colleagues and it’s unlikely you’ll be expected to crack on with every aspect of your job in the first couple of hours.

Your new employer will set the tempo and should lay out what is expected and when – and if they don’t, ask.

Plan your journey

It might seem obvious – and seasoned wigwammers who work in multiple locations over a week are used to it – but make sure you know where you are going and how long it is going to take to get there.

Take in external factors too – are you driving in rush hour? Do you need to change trains? Where are you going to park? It’s worth factoring in a little extra time on your first day – way better to be early than late.

Allow an extra 10-15mins for the commute, just in case!

Dress appropriately

Some businesses operate a dress code, others are more relaxed. If you’re not sure, it’s probably better to ask what the company dress code is. You don’t want to turn up in a full suit if everyone else is wearing jeans and trainers – or vice-versa.

If you need to wear a uniform, find out if it is provided on the first day – and ask what you should wear if it is not. Hospitality jobs will often ask you to wear all black, or black and white. If you’ve booked a job with redwigwam, all this information will be provided on the brief.

And make sure you get up in plenty of time, leaving enough time to get ready without having to rush.

Don’t forget your feet!

If you’re going to be on them for the whole shift, make sure you have comfortable footwear – or even safety shoes if they are required.

Ask questions

No one starts a new job knowing everything, so it is perfectly acceptable to ask questions on your first days. If you are allocated someone to ‘shadow’, they will be the perfect person to ask. Take notes (so you’re not asking the same question repeatedly – that can get annoying), and if you don’t understand something, ask them to explain again.

Find out who has responsibility for what so you can quickly find the right person for help. If your question can wait, hold fire until they are available.

If you’re tasked to do something and the instructions aren’t clear, ask for an explanation. It’s better to ask than do it wrong!

Someone should check in with you throughout your first day, so save any non-urgent questions for then!

But listen twice as much as you talk…

While questions are great, it’s even more important to listen to what is being explained to you. Enthusiasm is great (see below) but allow your colleagues to explain things to you fully before you jump in with a question or opinion.

(And we don’t mean listen to the office gossip – it’s always best to stay away from that…!)

Take a notepad and pen

You’re going to need to make notes – so grab a notebook and pen and jot down all the bits and pieces you’ll need to remember. It’s also a good idea to note down any names of people you are going to meet (and what they do) so you’re prepared for the meetings.

(Perhaps this is one for another blog post, but we’d advocate pen and paper for all meetings. While it is tempting to type notes direct onto a laptop or tablet, it’s so much easier to get distracted.)

Smile :)

Smile. Say hello to people – even if you’re not working with them directly. Look enthusiastic, make yourself approachable. And if you are feeling nervous, try not to show it!

(And remember everyone had a first day once…!)

Don’t panic

No one is expecting you to know it all on the first day. So don’t panic. Take some deep breaths and try to relax.

Wigwammer Paul said “Take your time. Think twice. Act once. And if in doubt, ASK.

Keep your lunch hour free

While we’re all for saving money and taking food from home for lunch, it’s a good idea to be a bit more flexible on the first day. Someone may invite you to join them for lunch – or you could ask your new colleagues where they go and what they do.

Either way, lunch time is a great way to get to know them away from your desk.

Learn the ways of the tea round!

Ah, the office tea round. We could dedicate a whole blog post to this as well, but if you drink hot drinks, the first rule is you MUST make it as well as take it!

In every workplace I have ever worked in, making your own cuppa, and not offering to make others one is a huge no-no.

So, find out where the tea is made. Ask someone to show you. Find out who’s in the round. Learn how everyone likes their drink. And who’s mug is who’s.

If you don’t want to get involved in tea politics, then you’ll just have to say you never drink tea or coffee. Then never drink it!

But you’ll still need to know how to make it, as you may well be expected to make a brew for visitors at some point.

Just be yourself…

Some brilliant advice from wigwammer Simon for this last point:

‘They saw your potential which is why they hired you. Now go out and show them how good you are”.

Just relax and do the best you can.

And don’t forget to enjoy yourself.


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Looking for a more flexible way to work?

Nine to five doesn't exist in our world. Join redwigwam and find work that fits in around your lifestyle.