New Job? 8 Tips For Your First Day

Last Updated May 16, 2011 1:31 PM EDT

Do you or someone you know have a new job? You're not alone: recent reports show that national payrolls expanded by 244,000 last month. These new jobs mean a lot of first days, making how to handle your entrance into a new office a timely topic.

One of your first moves should be to identify the "go-to" people at your office, so you can begin to build relationships with them, as my CBS MoneyWatch blogging colleague Matthew Rothenberg of The Ladders suggests.

Here are 8 other top tips from workplace expert Alexandra Levit, the author of New Job, New You: A Guide to Reinventing Yourself in a Bright New Career:

1. Dress For Success Of course, you want to look sharp and appropriate. But always wear something you're comfortable in, particularly your footwear. Nothing is worse than hobbling awkwardly (and painfully) on new high heels or in stiff dress shoes.

2. Get Linked In Get your e-systems (laptop, smartphone, etc.) in working order so that people can get in touch with you immediately. Don't be offended if your new company didn't take the time to set up a nice workspace for you -- just move on for the moment.

3. Set Up Your Space Keep in mind that your new work area belongs to the company. It's fine to place a few framed photographs on your desk and/or pictures on the walls, but don't overdo it. Put all other personal items, including personal HR paperwork, in a single desk drawer that you can lock at night.

4. Lay Low And Listen Simply keep your eyes and ears open, and you will become an expert at mastering the corporate culture of which you are now a part. Take the time to study every aspect of your new company, including how people present themselves, how they work together, and how they interact with colleagues and clients. What are the written and unwritten rules of engagement?

5. Nail Down Names Part of listening includes learning names. Depending on your learning style, you might want to jot them down discreetly as the day goes by. Or, ask for a company directory and make notes next to each name so you can recall them later.

6. Take A Breather First days are busy and exhausting, and you might feel like you can't leave. But stepping out for a quick coffee break will help you power through, both mentally and physically.

7. Thank The Office Assistant
Making sure to thank the assistant multiple times that first day sets you up for a good relationship for the future. He or she knows the lay of the land and has access to everyone, so don't underestimate your first interactions.

8. Give Yourself A Break Everyone knows it's your first day, so feel free to simply say "I'm sorry, would you please remind me of your name/where the ladies room is/where the copier is?" These short conversations are just another opportunity to build rapport.

What's the hardest part of a first day at a new job? Please sign in below and share.
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    Amy Levin-Epstein is a freelance writer who has been published in dozens of magazines (including Glamour, Self and Redbook), websites (including AOLHealth.com, Babble.com and Details.com) and newspapers (including The New York Post and the Boston Globe). To read more of her writing, visit AmyLevinEpstein.com.

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