Starting a new job: From preparation to success in your first week

Wilma Johansson
July 10, 2024
min read
Table of Contents
Starting a new job comes with a mix of emotions - excitement, curiosity, but also nervousness. Whether it’s your first job ever or you’ve been in the game for a long time, it’s normal to have butterflies in your stomach before your first day. In this blog, we guide you on how to prepare and get through the first few days of your job.

Are you starting a new job and are experiencing those first-day jitters? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! In fact, 87% of respondents in a poll reported feeling nervous before starting a new job. In the same poll, 65% experienced imposter syndrome, and 53% expressed that a new job was scarier than visiting the dentist, skydiving, or holding a spider or snake.

It’s safe to say that feeling nervous before your first day is common! But despite this, the younger generation doesn't seem deterred from job-hopping. Did you know that the average time to remain at a job is 2 years and 9 months for millennials, and as little as 2 years and 3 months for Gen-Z? That means that the average person goes through many new beginnings in their professional life!

Luckily, there are some things you can do before, during, and after your first day to calm those butterflies in your stomach and get into the rhythm of your new role as soon as possible.

Before the first day

Before we skip to the first day, let’s back it up a little. After all, preparing for your first day can get you a long way and help ease those nerves. Let’s have a look at some tips for preparing for your new job.

Do your research

When starting a new company, no one expects you to already know it all. But knowing a bit of information about your new company will show that you’re interested and engaged. It will also give you an advantage when learning about your role within the company, and that of your colleagues.

During the preboarding phase, your employer might already give you some information about the company, your team, and your colleagues - for example through an onboarding app or booklet. If so, make sure to read it all! This will help you understand the mission and core values of your company, the different departments, and the products or services they offer.

Other important information concerns dress code, whether there’s lunch at the office, parking options, you name it. Hopefully, you’ve already received this information from your manager or onboarding buddy - if not, make sure to ask them! This may help calm your nerves and give you a clearer image of what your first day has in store.

Prepare questions

Don’t worry about asking a lot of questions when starting a new job! It doesn’t make you seem annoying; On the contrary, it shows that you’re eager to learn, interested in the company, and that you take the job seriously. Whatever information you didn’t understand or find on the website - write it down and have the questions prepared for your first day. 

Plan your commute

Arriving on time is always a good way of giving a first good impression. Therefore, make sure to plan your commute to the office, whether by car, train, bus, or bike. Keep in mind the rush hour, traffic delays, and tight layovers. Also remember that it might take a while to find the exact room where you’re supposed to be, so give yourself 10 minutes of extra time in case the office is a little bit challenging to navigate.

On the first day

The big day is here! You wake up with a stomach full of butterflies and mixed feelings of nervousness and excitement for this new chapter in your life.

Let’s be real - there’s no exact way of knowing what your first day of work is going to look like. It depends on the industry, the company, your role, and so on. In some cases, your manager or onboarding buddy will give you a schedule or overview of your first day so that you know more or less what to expect. In other cases, the information is unclear or lacking. Either way, there are a few general things that you can expect form a first day. 

A guided tour around the workspace

A guided tour around the workspace will help you feel comfortable and settle in quickly.  Knowing where the office kitchen, toilet, break room, and (of course) the coffee machine are will make you feel at home in no time.

Meeting your team and other colleagues

If you’ve gone through a thorough preboarding process, chances are you’ve already met your colleagues, seen pictures of them, or gotten a welcome message or email. But this will be your first day to work with them, so make sure to say hi and get to know them!

You will also probably have a check-in with your manager about how you’re feeling, and your first impressions. To teach you about the company’s policies and other practicalities, the HR person will probably sit down with you.

An introduction to all the equipment you will be using, including internal communication channels

With a new job comes a bunch of new accounts for emails, communication channels, software programs, and maybe even a laptop or a work phone. Hopefully, all your accounts will be arranged beforehand, so you can get your accounts up and running straight away. If you’re unfamiliar with some of the programs or channels, ask your onboarding buddy or a colleague to explain to you how it works.

Questions to ask on your first day

Questions will most likely arise naturally during your first day at a new job. But there are some questions that will give you a good start in your new role.

These questions are:

  • “Who are the key people I will be in contact with?” Invite these colleagues for a coffee and a chat to get to know them! This will help you get to know them and their role in the company, and how you will work together.
  • “What do you expect me to learn in the first week, month, and first three months?” Asking these questions to your manager will give you a clear overview of what you’re expected to learn, and can help you orientate yourself in your new role. It also shows that you take initiative and are excited to learn!
  • “How do you prefer to communicate?” This question does not only have to do with whether colleagues prefer email or other communication channels. It also has to do with the type of communication. For example, is there a daily stand-up where colleagues brief each other on their tasks? Is there a channel for internal communication within the group?

After your first day - How to survive the first week?

Congratulations, you survived your first day! By now, you’ve hopefully got a good first impression of your new office, colleagues, and your tasks. But the learning journey doesn’t stop here. 

Settling into a new job takes more than just a day. It’s normal to still feel a little bit lost, with all the new routines, tasks, and navigating the social environment. But don’t worry - after all, these days are meant for learning! 

Do’s and don’ts of starting a new job

Navigating your first week's social and professional environment might be a little tricky. Each company and organization has its own way of working and its own culture, and understanding this might take a while. Luckily, a few simple do’s and don’t can help you get the hang of your new role while giving a good impression.


  • ✅ Seek advice and tips from your colleagues - they’ve been with the company for longer than you and can give valuable advice and insights.
  • ✅ Ask questions and make notes. Absorb all the new information like a sponge and make sure to write it all down. This way, you’ll be able to look everything up in your notes before you learn it by heart!
  • ✅Take initiative and make appointments with your manager for a check-in to see how you are doing and set goals for your first period.
  • ✅Socialize with your colleagues during lunch and breaks, and take any opportunity to join the social gatherings. You’ll be seeing them a lot in the coming future, so why not try to make friends?


  • ❌ Take on too much. As a new employee, it makes sense that you want to show yourself from your best and most productive side. But the first period of a new job is busy enough as it is, with all new information to remember and new tasks to learn. So, take it easy - do your best but make sure not to overcommit yourself.
  • ❌ Miss out on networking. Your colleagues are all experts in their own ways, and they are probably happy to share their valuable knowledge with you!
  • ❌ Give up when it gets tough. Sometimes, with all the new information and tasks, even the most experienced person can experience hopelessness and self-doubt. But remember, everyone’s been a beginner at some point, and it gets better!
  • ❌ Be afraid of asking questions. There are no stupid questions when starting a new job. Regardless of your level of experience, different workplaces have different ways of working, so before you get into the new workflow, it makes sense to ask how things are done around here.

Add your new job on LinkedIn

Once you’ve settled into your new role, it’s time to share it with the world (or at least your LinkedIn network)! Update your LinkedIn profile with your latest job to show the next step in your career.

Depending on how much you enjoy being in the spotlight, you can choose a simple update with only the name of the company and position, or write a text to announce the news and share your excitement!

Tips for starting a new job remotely

But what if you’re starting a position remotely? How can you get to know your colleagues and get into your role and the company culture?

Don’t worry! Starting a job remotely doesn’t mean you can’t be part of the team - it just means you’ll have to get to know your new colleagues online.

Here are some tips for you who are starting a new position remotely:

  • Schedule a meeting with your team where you all introduce yourselves. This way your new colleagues will get an idea of who you are, and you will get to know their roles in the team and the company.
  • Schedule (online) coffee dates individually with your team members and other colleagues you’ll be working with. Sitting down with your colleagues one-on-one over a cup of coffee can be just as nice and fruitful as at the office!
  • Use the internal communication channels. Maybe it goes without saying, but online communication becomes key when working remotely. But online communication goes beyond the mandatory meetings - make sure to have a strong online presence! Ask your colleagues any questions you would ask in real life, update them about your daily or weekly process, and make sure to interact with them! This will make sure to minimize the distance caused by the screen.

Main takeaway

Navigating the social and professional aspects of a new job might seem like navigating a jungle, and can be daunting even for the most experienced. But it’s important to remember that everyone has to start somewhere, and with a bit of patience and hard work, you’ll get there eventually!

And lastly, remember that it’s a two-way journey. As a new employee, there are many ways you can prepare for starting a new job. But remember, your new company also has to prepare for you! A company’s onboarding strategy is a crucial part of welcoming a new employee and getting them up and running as soon as possible. So trust that your new colleagues are doing their best to create an environment where you feel welcome and can start your new journey as soon as possible!

In conclusion, a bit of preparation before your first day can go a long way. Ask questions, take the initiative to network and set goals, and enter your new workplace with the mindset of learning and doing your best. This way, you’ll be off to a good start in this new exciting chapter of your career!

Share this post

Join 6.956 HR and onboarding specialists!

Have all our latest onboarding news delivered to your inbox. Sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Related posts

Want to know more about onboarding? See our other blogs

5 min read

4 Tips for integrating your online and offline onboarding processes

In this blog, we'll share four tips for using an online platform effectively during the onboarding process.

5 min read

Creating an effective 30-60-90 day plan for new hires

Improve the employee journey of your company through our 30-60-90 day plan for new employees. This is an exclusive guide for HR & Managers. Discover more.

5 min read

From 4 C's to 7 C's: These are the essential elements of great onboarding

Dive into the 7 C's of onboarding: What are they, and how do they differ from the 4 C's? DIscover how to integrate each C for successful onboarding.