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Managing first day nerves

Allen Associates, News & Blog

Starting a new job is always exciting, but it often makes people feel nervous and anxious too. Let’s face it, not many of us can walk into a new environment full of new faces without some degree of trepidation, ranging from feelings of self-consciousness to full blown terror!

Wherever you sit on the spectrum of emotions, it may be helpful to know that you’re not alone and there are things that you can do to manage your nerves on your first day in a new job and over the weeks that follow.

These pointers will help to build your confidence as you work your way through your probationary period.

Prepare for your first day in a new job

Preparation is a proven way to combat nerves. Make sure your new employer or your recruitment consultant have provided you with all the information you need to start your first day effectively.

Hopefully, you will also have had a chance to do your own research on the company or organisation you will be joining, but if not, there is still time to do a bit of background reading and connect with your team mates and others on LinkedIn.

Our blog on preparing to start a new job provides lots of useful tips which you might like to refer to.

Think about how you will introduce yourself

We all know who we are and what we do, but many people struggle to articulate this well, particularly when they meet people for the first time. You may find it helpful to prepare a short, self-introduction. No-one wants to sound wooden or rehearsed but thinking about it in advance and knowing what you'll say when you meet new colleagues, can help to boost your confidence and alleviate anxiety.

Practice positive visualisation

As you travel into work on your first day, try to visualise yourself walking into the office with confidence, greeting your new colleagues, and working through tasks successfully. Positive visualisation can have a powerful impact on your frame of mind and the way you are perceived.

If you are working from home, chances are that you will have at least one online meeting on your first day – probably more – as part of your onboarding. You can apply visualisation techniques to any scenario; the key is to observe yourself in a positive way to set yourself up for the actual experience.

Remember to breathe!

When you're feeling overwhelmed, take a few deep breaths to calm your nerves. Deep breathing triggers a relaxation response and can help you feel more centred and composed.

Listen attentively and absorb what’s going on around you

During meetings and introductions, focus on actively listening to what others are saying. Instead of worrying about what you should say next, concentrating on the conversation at hand will make you more engaged and less preoccupied with your nerves. Some people find it helpful to take notes during meetings as it helps to keep focused and may prove helpful at a time when you are likely to be bombarded with lots of new information that may be difficult to retain.

Be curious

Don't be afraid to ask questions if you're unsure about something. It's much better to ask for clarification than to guess and potentially make mistakes. Curiosity is a great trait to have and by asking questions, you’ll be sending out a clear signal that you are interested, engaged, keen to learn and collaborate.

Break down your tasks into manageable chunks

Your first day – and perhaps even your first couple of weeks – may be structured for you, depending on your employer’s approach to onboarding and induction. In the event that you have a busy to-do list early on, which seems overwhelming, it may be helpful to break tasks into smaller, manageable steps to help you feel in control of your workload.

Don’t allow yourself to become overwhelmed

Step away from your desk from time to time to recharge and if at any point you feel unsure of yourself or what you’re supposed to be doing, find someone to talk to. Managers expect new recruits to take time to settle in and become familiar with everything – and they will be anticipating lots of questions!

Don’t forget to lean on friends and family for moral support and encouragement when you need an extra boost!

Look for opportunities to chat

An office environment usually presents regular opportunities to engage with others: while signing in, walking to meetings or making a cup of tea. If you’re working from home, there may be a bit of initial chat at the start of online meetings or phone calls. Small talk is an excellent way to establish connections, discover common ground and break the ice, so try to brave that newbie feeling and join conversations rather than avoid them.

Give yourself a break!

Remember that the first day in a new job is just the beginning of your journey. Be kind and patient with yourself and recognise that as you settle into your role and become more familiar with everyone and everything, any nervousness or uncertainty you may be experiencing will fade away.

Take each day as it comes and focus on the things you can control, such as your attitude, effort, and interactions with others – rather than those that you can’t.

Treat your first day, and every day, as a learning experience. Take a moment to reflect on what went well and acknowledge any challenges you may have encountered and how you dealt with them – or plan to deal with them moving forward.

Embrace all the positives and celebrate your achievements as you successfully complete your first day, your first week, your first month.

Managing first day nerves is all about preparation, positive mindset, and self-care. Reflect on these areas to help you overcome any jitters, make a positive impression and a success of your new role. You've got this!

We’re here for you

At Allen Associates, our role doesn’t end when you land your new job. We’re here to support you during those daunting first few months, as you settle in and establish yourself.

If you have any queries on your first day or at any stage of your onboarding, please contact your recruitment consultant or another member of our team, who will be only too happy to help.