And You Are?

Sweaty palms and forgotten names – how to ‘wow’ from the start.

July 2, 2021

| 5 Min Read

First day nerves

We’ve all been there. That feeling of elation and joy of getting a new job turning into anxiety and nerves as your first day approaches.

Starting a new job is never easy, no matter what stage your career is at. But it’s important to remember that those tentative first steps in the door with sweaty palms and nervous hellos are meant to feel uncomfortable. Because it’s also a giant leap forward for your personal growth and development. That nervous energy is perfectly normal. In fact, it can be beneficial in helping you learn and conquer your new role. So, how can you best handle the daunting first days of joining a new company? We’ve included some helpful tips below:

Convert that nervous energy into drive and action

Susan Jeffers says in her famous book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, “That fear will never go away as long you continue to grow.” And “The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go and do it.” She also emphasises that everyone is afraid of the unknown. So, the trick is to recognise your nervousness for what it is and take some simple steps to confront it. Whether that’s introducing yourself to new team members, completing your first tasks, offering some help, or making a small speech. Doing such things will not only make you feel good, they’ll also impress your new colleagues, because they’ll expect you to be nervous and want you to settle into the team.

It’s okay not to know

Yes, you’ve been hired on what you know. While it may have taken you years to learn it, there’s a difference between knowing what a job entails and knowing how to do a job. And for new starters this can sometimes feel overwhelming. However, you’re not expected to know everything from day one – but you are expected to learn it – so, listen, ask questions and don’t be afraid to say you don’t know what’s required to get a task done. The faster you learn how to do it, the faster you can move forward in your career.

Manage up

When you join, you’ll be given some expectations or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by your managers. These will be your benchmarks for success. It’s important that you’re aware of these and can manage your team’s expectations about achieving them. This can involve overdelivering on tasks or showing them you understand what’s being asked. Clarify and prioritise your tasks and ensure everyone is aware of what you need to achieve by when.

Get involved

It will be easier for all the extroverts out there to do this. But when you’re starting a new job, you’re also joining a new community. And this can be daunting as well as exciting. No-one is expecting you to be super-confident in your first few weeks, so try to put any shyness to one side and just start chatting with people. Join some colleagues for lunch, sign up for a yoga class or attend a social event.  Sure, you may come across a little nervous at first, but the more people you meet the more you can relax with your colleagues and feel like you’re a part of the team.

Be yourself – but the best version of yourself

Most importantly, you were hired for the job for being you and not someone else. So, don’t be afraid to be yourself or bring your own personality to a role. However, in saying that, you should always strive to be the best of yourself. A good approach is to think of yourself as a brand. Also don’t be afraid of any feedback which helps you improve and grow.

Stay out of your comfort zone

What’s important to remember is that starting a new job as a fresh graduate is a huge learning curve. But it’s one we’ve no doubt you’re ready for. That’s why you were hired. So, the trick is to recognise the nerves and anxiety about settling in and use it to your advantage. Once you get used to this, it will help you conquer similar feelings as your career begins to develop. The worst thing that can happen is if you stay in your comfort zone. It’s by continually getting out of it that your career can blossom and grow.