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by Gemma Williams | August 31, 2023


It’s normal to experience anxiety before starting your first full-time job. But learning what to expect from your first job and preparing for it will calm your nerves. Here are some tips to help you deal with your first-job jitters.

1. Research your new employer and role

You can never do too much research in the run-up to your first job. The weeks before starting, try to learn more about the culture you can expect. Read reviews from employees, and check out business social media pages to get a better idea of what you should wear and the sort of people you’ll be working with. Seeing smiling faces can make you feel a whole lot better about your first day!

It’s also smart to research your own role. While you will likely already have a good idea of what the position entails and what success means for the role, it can’t hurt to research online to learn more about the role in general and what sort of skills you’ll be expected to develop. This will give you a head start and allow you to hit the ground running.

2. Learn about the technologies you’ll be using

Most businesses incorporate digital tools into their day-to-day processes. When researching your role, you might discover that there’s certain technologies you’ll be using and expected to learn. If this is a cause for anxiety, don’t underestimate the benefit of getting familiar with the tools before you start. You can do this by looking into videos and tutorials online to give yourself a head start. For example, if you’re about to start a digital marketing role, you might benefit from HubSpot’s Digital Marketing Certification or Hive19’s A-Z of Link Building.

3. Test run your first day

Running through your first day before it arrives is a great stress-buster. In fact, it’s a good idea to focus on any aspect of starting the job that’s worrying you. If you’ll be working on site, it’s wise to practice the commute. Run through it from start to finish to ensure you know the timings and route before your start date, getting used to the journey to calm your nerves. On the other hand, if you’ve found an awesome STEM job that lets you work from home, test your internet connection, making sure you can connect to any systems you need to access in advance, and log in to your portal or server. Knowing that everything works smoothly will do a lot to ease your concerns. Most nerves stem from the unknown, so test-running things you haven’t done before will be endlessly useful when fighting anxiety.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

No good boss will be annoyed by questions. If you’ve got queries in the lead-up to your first day, be sure to ask your manager. Best practice is writing down your questions as they arise and sending them in one message a few days before your first day. This prevents the need for multiple messages and shows you’re an organized employee before you’ve even started.

5. Practice your small talk

A lot of people starting a new job are worried about meeting new people; it can be scary entering a team as a newbie. One tip to prepare yourself and ensure a smooth transition into the workplace is to practice some small talk. Think of questions you can ask your fellow employees to strike up conversations. Avoid generic topics, like talking about the weather, but don’t ask anything too personal, either. Some good starting points include asking when they started working at the company, why they choose their current career, what interests they have outside of work. Our networking 101 advice is to ask your teammates for advice on your first day. Not only does this start a conversation but also might also give you some good tips, too.

A final note

On your first day, arriving early is a smart move. If you’re working on site, leave 30 minutes of wiggle room for any delays on your commute and aim to show up 10 minutes before you’re meant to start. If you’re working virtually, log on 15 minutes before the day begins. Also, on your first day, if time permits, take the initiative and introduce yourself to your team members with a quick hello. Pay attention to people’s names and write them down to ensure you remember them. And at the end of your first day, ask your manager if they have any feedback to give and be sure to say goodbye before leaving.

Gemma Williams works remotely from as many coffee shops as she can find. Gemma has gained experience in a number of HR roles and is now focused on growing her personal brand and connecting with leading experts in the industry. Connect with her on Twitter: @GemmaWilliamsHR.