What to Expect on Your First Day of Work

first day of work tips

If you’re anticipating the start of a new job, then congratulations! That means all of the effort you put into perfecting your winning resume, searching job boards, and enduring rounds of interviews has paid off.

The next challenge? Getting through your first day of work. While every company is different, here are 7 things you can expect to happen on day one.  

Completing First Day Paperwork

A portion of your day will certainly be filled with paperwork, or more likely, completing forms online. Either way, you can expect to see any or all of these documents:

  • IRS Form W-4: This tells your new employer how to withhold taxes from your paycheck. It will require your Social Security Number, so be sure to have it memorized.
  • USCIS Form I-9: This form acknowledges that you are legally authorized to work in the United States.
  • Direct Deposit Form: Be sure to have your bank’s routing number and your checking account number with you so your employer knows where to deposit your pay.

first day of work tips

  • New Hire Reporting Form: This form collects basic information that the state uses to determine if you owe child support.
  • At-Will Agreement: This form confirms that you are employed “at-will.” That means you’re free to quit at any time, and your employer can fire you at any time without reason.
  • Noncompete agreement: Depending on your employer, you may be asked to sign a non-complete agreement. This states that you won’t work for a competitor or start your own competing business after leaving your current employer.
  • Nondisclosure agreement: By signing this document, you agree to not share any of the company’s confidential information, such as client lists, manufacturing specs, or new product ideas.

Choosing Benefits

first day of work tips

You’ll have an opportunity to choose any benefits that may be part of your compensation package. That includes medical and dental benefits, group life insurance, and your company’s 401(k) or 403(b) plan.

Some employers give you at least 30 days to enroll for benefits, so if you’re not asked to do this on day one, then you’ll still have time to enroll.  

Meeting the Team

Your manager will walk you around to meet the team. It’s your chance to break the ice with co-workers and make a good first impression.

Some may ask you where you went to school, or where you were working before, so have succinct answers prepared for those common questions.

Touring the Facilities

Expect your manager or a co-worker to give you a tour of the facilities so you know where to find:

  • The lunchroom or cafeteria
  • The bathrooms
  • Conference rooms
  • Your manager’s office
  • Elevators
  • The supply closets
  • Printers and copiers

Getting an ID Badge

first day of work tips

Part of your first day of work may include getting your photo taken for an ID badge. This may be done in the building or you may have to go offsite.

Either way, it’s important to get this done on day one. It can go a long way in helping you really feel like part of the team.

Setting up Your Desk

You’ll certainly get shown to your desk or workstation on your first day of work. Take the time to get set up.

Log in to your computer and access your email. Record the outgoing voice mail message on your phone. Arrange supplies, pictures, and personal items however you’d like.

Meeting with Your Manager

Your first day of work will likely include a one-on-one meeting with your manager. He or she may talk to you about your training schedule, job responsibilities, and what types of projects you’ll be involved with.

Don’t be surprised if you’re given a project to start on or assist with on your first day of work. Many managers like to have new employees learn by doing.

Starting a New Job During CoVid-19

first day of work tips

Being the “new guy” or “new girl” at a job is hard enough but starting a new job in a remote environment poses its own set of challenges. How do you get acquainted with co-workers? How will you build rapport with your team?

Here are a few tips to get you through.

  • Be patient and flexible: Working like this is new for everyone and not all of the kinks may be worked out art your company. Expect a few hiccups with technology, especially in your first few weeks. When they happen, don’t complain, but ask who you can contact for help.
  • Get face time with your manager: Your manager is going to be your biggest advocate during your first few weeks. Ask him or her if you can set up regular meetings with them. These regular check-ins will give your boss the opportunity to get to know you and give you the chance to ask questions.
  • Become friends with your HR rep: It’s your HR rep’s job to make sure you get acclimated to the company culture. Look to him or her for all the information you need about work from home policies, employee resource groups, vacation days, benefits and more.

first day of work tips

  • Determine your team’s communication style: Every team communicates in different ways. Your team may prefer e-mail, instant messaging, phone calls, video conferencing, or a combination of those. Learn what your team prefers and start communicating that way.
  • Ask co-workers to have virtual lunch: Set up a video conference with co-workers during a lunch break so you can talk informally and get to know each other. Just relax and chat as if you were sitting together in the cafeteria. What are they watching on Netflix? What podcasts do they like?

Be Ready for Your First Day of Work

The first day of a new job, whether it’s on-site or virtual can be exciting and overwhelming. But knowing what to expect on your first day can help you show up more prepared, confident, and ready to deal with challenges.

Ben St. Jacques is a Senior Copywriting Manager that is a regular contributor to Empire Resume’s blog. Ben has a strong background in corporate communications, developing newsletters, copy editing, and copywriting for a wide range of audiences.

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