First Day Nerves – And How To Combat Them

Wednesday, September 29, 2021
You’ve been to the interview, got the job and you’re starting tomorrow. Feeling nervous? Here’s how to cope…

If you’re wondering if you can actually do the job, you’re not alone. Many graduates feel a little daunted and it’s natural to get those first day nerves.

A little forward thinking goes a long way to making your first day a success.

#1 Plan your route or test your tech

If you are going into the workplace, you don’t want to arrive all flustered, or even worse, late. Plan your route, have a trial run and set off early. If you arrive with plenty of time, you can always grab a coffee somewhere nearby. Make sure you have the company’s phone number with you so that you can ring in if you get delayed for any reason.
If you'll be working remotely, test your tech; find a quiet place to work, make sure your backdrop is appropriate and have all your log in details to hand. If you have problems, find out who to contact for technical assistance and take ownership to sort things out.

#2 Plan your wardrobe

Does your new workplace have a dress code? What was everyone wearing when you went to interview? Plan what you’re going to wear and get it ready a couple of days before you start. This is not the time to try out a new pair of killer heels; you need to feel comfortable and confident.

#3 Practice your small talk

It’s going to be a day of pleasantries. If small talk doesn’t come naturally to you, think of a few openers you can use to ease the conversation. Show an interest in everyone you come into contact with and try and remember a few key details. Smile. A lot.

#4 Prepare to be unoccupied for periods

You are likely to have space in the day where you are between induction meetings. Think how you will use this time; can you go through the company’s website, read their annual report, start to research the market and competitors? Scrolling through TikTok is not going to impress anyone. And always offer to make the tea.

#5 Get your paperwork in order

What have they asked you to bring in? Make sure you have copies of all the paperwork they have requested.

#6 Lunch Dilemmas

Taking a pack-up in is the best bet, but be prepared to shelve it if colleagues invite you out to lunch. If your office has a staff room, use it – it’s a great way to get to know your new team.

#7 Take note

You’re going to be learning lots. Take notes. You will be expected to remember some of it and there’s nothing worse than a seemingly disinterested trainee. It’s okay to ask questions and you should clarify your understanding but equally, there will be some things you can probably figure out later. Try to strike a good balance.

#8 At the end of the day…

Don’t be the first to pack up. If they say you can go early, show willing by saying you’ll do a bit of reading up in the evening. Where practical, thank everyone who has spent time showing you the ropes and show some enthusiasm about your first day. Tomorrow will be heaps easier and before you’ll know it, you’ll be an old hand helping to induct another graduate!


Charlotte Weston

Charlotte is a graduate with many years’ experience as both a new recruit and an employer.  
She now works as a consultant and is a Non-Executive Director of Gradsouthwest.