Starting a new job can be stressful. There’s a lot to think about, from deciding what to wear to contemplating on your first impressions with your new colleagues. With all of the excitement, it's easy to forget about things you'll need for your first day at work.
I’ve had multiple jobs, from retail work on weekends and evenings in high school, bar work while in college, and office work after graduating. The biggest tip I would give to anyone starting a new job is: Be prepared. Unless you’ve worked in a similar industry before, chances are you will have no idea what your first day will have in store for you and even then your new job could throw you a curveball.
I’ve lived in a few different places, which has required me to take up a new job in each new location. Some people may view my varied and full resume as a negative because it may appear that I have not invested in a specific company or industry. However, Jeanne Meister wrote in her article for Forbes that job hopping can, “lead to greater job fulfillment.”
So with all of this “job hopping” and an array of first days under my belt, I would like to think that I know which items make good additions to the list of things to bring to your first day at a new job. Get your checklists at the ready, newbies!
1. Notepad & Pen
On your first day at a new job, your notepad and pen will be your new best friends. During your first day, you will be given an insane amount of information from colleagues' names to security codes to passwords — the list can seem endless. With your trusty notepad and pen, you can record all of these details and appear professional, showing that you can use your own initiative to learn and remember important information.
One of the worst things about starting a new job is that whether you like it or not, every single minute detail of your behavior and appearance is constantly being judged. First impressions really count on your first day at a new job. So take along some mints or breath freshener because you don't want to be dubbed as the new girl who smelled like garlic.
3. Compact Mirror
In the same vein, you also don't want to be known as the woman who turned up to work with half her breakfast on her face or lipstick on her teeth. People might be too polite to bring these things to your attention on your first day as they will hopefully be trying to make you feel comfortable, so you might catch yourself in a mirror wondering how long those pastry flakes have been stuck to your cheek. Having lipstick on your teeth isn't the end of the world, but a mirror keeps you from stressing about it unnecessarily.
4. Hair Tie
You could end up doing anything on your first day at work, so don't let your hair hold you back. If you've got long locks like me, bring a hair tie so that no matter what position you find yourself in, your hair won't get in your way.
Unless your new place of work has a uniform, it's quite tricky to know what to wear to work. In a Forbes article, Randall Hansen a professor of business at Stetson University said, “The most basic mistake new employees make is underdressing." If you're unsure as to what to wear on your first day, ask your new boss. If you can't get in contact with them before your first day, go for something formal. Whatever you choose, pair it with a blazer as this will take your outfit to a new level of professionalism and it will make a great first impression.
6. ID & Paperwork
Unless you were offered your job in your interview, chances are you will need various forms of ID with you on your first day, to make sure you're all set up on the payroll and security systems. A form of identification such as your passport or driving license, a proof of address, and your social security card would be great documents to bring with you in case your new employer has forgotten to inform you of which particular ones they require.
At some workplaces, there are various establishments nearby where you can pop out and purchase a takeout lunch. However, your new place of work could be somewhere quite remote. To add to this, you won't know how your breaks are split up during the day, so you might not get a standard lunch hour and could end up wasting precious time queueing for your lunch rather than eating it. Plus, your colleagues may all bring lunches from home and eat them together in a break room — if you need to go out and hunt down your food, you could waste valuable bonding time with your new colleagues. To save asking yourself multiple, "What if?" scenarios, just bring a packed lunch with you so that you're set for any eventuality.
On the other hand, you could be invited out for lunch with your boss and/or new colleagues and you don't want to look like a freeloader or come across as anti-social just because you forgot your wallet. If you brought a lunch as well, save it to eat for dinner when you get home.
There are many reasons to bring a packet of Kleenex with you on your first day of work: You may have an impromptu sneezing fit, you may spill something on yourself or your workspace, or you may need to refresh your face after lunch. Bringing along a packet of tissues to your first day of work can avert many embarrassing situations.
10. Mobile Phone
Along with being able to input important new work dates into your schedule or add your colleagues' phone numbers, bringing your phone along to your first day at work can be really important. Picture going out for lunch with your colleagues but you need to visit the bathroom before heading back. You tell them to go ahead, forgetting that you don't have any of the security details or passwords to get into your building. Your phone becomes a lifesaver when you can ring a friendly colleague or your boss to ask them to let you in, rather than standing outside hoping that someone who works in your building will walk by. Obviously, though, it's a good idea to turn your phone on silent or off while you're actually working.
There could be a strict no phones rule in your new place of work. So to keep a track of the time and any important meetings you need to attend, use a smart wristwatch to ensure you don't keep people waiting for you.
12. Sanitary Items
To avoid one more stressful situation for the day, pack some tampons and pads in your bag so you don't have to awkwardly ask your new female colleagues if you can borrow any of theirs. Sure, it probably wouldn't be a big deal if you did have to ask, but it's one less thing to worry about — and you don't need any more stress on your first day.
13. Makeup Bag
Bleeding lipstick and smudged mascara can be frustrating and difficult to fix without and makeup products. Make sure you pack a small makeup bag filled with your beauty essentials that will help you look and feel fresh throughout the day.
Your first day in your new job is bound to be a little nerve-wracking. When I'm in a stressful situation my body responds by sweating, so I always carry around a little can of deodorant in my bag in case my body decides to turn on me and make me smell a little whiffy. IMO, this is a truly vital item to bring with you on your first day.
15. Clean Shoes
Some workplaces may be more strict than others when it comes to dresscode, but in any case, you want your boss to notice how charming and enthusiastic you are, not the amount of mud on your shoes. If you're worried about getting your shoes to work in a pristine condition, take a spare pair of shoes to commute in and slip your smart, gleaming shoes on when you reach the building. This way you'll stay comfortable the whole day, as well.
Like periods, headaches or stomach aches always come at the most inopportune moments. It's as if they know you don't want them around. So to avoid having to pull a sickie on your first day or get sent home from work, bring some Advil or aspirin just in case you start to feel any aches or pains.
17. A Spare Pair Of Tights
If you work somewhere with cold weather, and you're starting your work on a cooler day, you might be wearing tights. If you don't plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time there's bound to be traffic delays, subway strikes, or you might snag your tights. To overcome the possibility of that annoyance, bring a spare pair of tights with you so you can change and look just as polished as when you left the house.
Pack these things in your handbag and your first day at your new job is sure to run smoothly. You got this in the bag!