The first day in a new job can be overwhelming. There’ll be new people to meet, and lots of new things to learn.
Here are some things you can expect from your first day at work.
Don’t be late for your first day in the job
When you’re making arrangements for your first day at work, confirm the location and the time you need to be there. Don’t be late for your first day!
What to bring on your first day at work
Ask the employer if there’s anything you need to bring with you on your first day. Most employers will want you to fill out some forms so you can get paid. Information the employer may need includes:
- your tax file number
- your bank account number
- your driver licence or passport
- details of your superannuation fund
- your address
- an emergency contact.
It’s a good idea to bring something to eat as well as you won’t know what food is available to buy nearby.
Meeting the team
Your boss or manager will probably meet you when you first arrive. They’ll introduce you to the people you’ll be working with.
Try to remember at least a few people’s names. You might need to ask them for help later in the day, especially if your boss is busy.
Finding out where everything is
Your boss will probably give you a tour of the workplace. Some things they should show you are:
- where the toilets are
- where the lunch or break room is, and where you can make a cup of tea or coffee or get a drink of water
- where the entrance and exits are
- any areas you need to avoid due to safety issues.
Some other things you might want to ask about include:
- ‘Is there a shower or change room?’
- ‘Do I get a locker or somewhere to store valuables?’
- ‘Is there a fridge where I can keep my lunch?’
Induction for new starters
If you’re working for a larger organisation, they might have a formal induction program. This might also be called onboarding or orientation.
An induction program is an information session that tells you about your rights and responsibilities, as well as the employer’s responsibilities to you. These sessions also usually include things like the organisation’s vision and mission, and staff policies and procedures.
Ask your boss if you need to sign up for an induction program. You might not do an induction on your first day. Sometimes it might even be a couple of months before the employer runs an induction program.
Some workplaces use a more informal process. For example, your boss might just give you a ‘new starter’ pack. This could be printed information, or it might be on a webpage. Or the induction might be introducing you to people and answering some questions before getting stuck into teaching you what you have to do.
If you’re working in an office job, you might need to get access to email and computer systems. Keep your login details safe. Make sure you read the employer’s policies for internet, email and network use.
How to act on your first day
It’s normal to be nervous on your first day. Just take it step by step, and try to remember as much as you can.
Ask lots of questions and make sure you’re listening carefully when someone is giving you instructions. Repeat back a summary of the answer to help you remember, and also to show you’ve understood. For example if someone’s teaching you how to open a register you can repeat the instructions to them: ‘So I press this button, enter this code and then the register opens.’
Don’t worry if you’re finding it hard to remember everything you’re being taught. It takes time to learn things and to be good at something.
It’s much better to ask what you should be doing, rather than waiting to be told what to do. Things you can say are:
- ‘What would you like me to do next?’
- ‘Is there anything I can help out with?’
- ‘Can you show me what I should be doing?’
Other things to find out on your first day
Before you finish your first day of work, make sure you know:
- what hours you’ll be working, and your start and end times
- when you can take breaks, and for how long
- whether you need a security pass to access the building
- who you can talk to if you have any problems
- when you’ll get paid, and how much.