First Day on the Job? Slay It!


Think back to your first day of college. Or high school, even. Maybe you knew a few other people on campus, but where the heck is the bathroom?! Where’s this building or that conference room?!

Your first day at your new job will make you feel a lot like you’re a freshman all over again.

That’s actually good news — you’ve been in this situation before. You’re smart, driven, dedicated and a hard worker. You can get through your first day unscathed. It’s just a matter of learning some of the hows, wheres and whys that Comparative Literature in  the 19th Century, as well as most college classes did not teach you.  

You want to make the best possible first impression — you only get one chance to make one of those, after all. Here are a few tips on how to Slay the Job on your first day.

Do This, Not That

With each person you meet, you have about 7 seconds to make a good first impression. Not minutes or the whole day or your whole first week at work. Seconds.

Here are tips for those 7 seconds.

Smile. Some of us are plagued with RBF, a face that looks unhappy at rest. Even if you don’t have RBF, make an effort to smile.

Shake hands. We’ll have more on the three types of handshakes, which range from dead fish to The Crusher. For now, try to make sure your handshake is firm and confident, not too hard, bit not too limp. Practice on yourself or with your roommate the night before your first day. Don’t be a germophobe.

Make eye contact. Your eyes and face should be up and open. If you aren’t comfortable looking someone directly in the eyes, try their nose or eyebrows — but avoid their torso, the wall behind them and the floor as your focal points.

Use key phrases. As you meet new people, you should rely on a few key phrases, such as “Nice to meet you,” “great to meet you,” or “My boss mentioned I should meet you.” Defaulting to those will fill silence, break tension and prevent you from rambling or bumbling.

Be aware of your body language. We tend to mirror the body language of those around us (that’s why yawns are contagious), so take note of how the bosses and managers in your office greet others, sit and stand. Try not to slouch, cross your arms or give off other vibes that could make you seem unapproachable.

Ask about the bathroom. Speaking of body language… it’s ok to ask for directions to the bathroom.

You can do this. Believe in yourself, and your coworkers will start believing in you.