Preparing For Your First Day of Work

While first day jitters are inevitable, they can be properly managed if you know what to expect and how to prepare yourself beforehand.

By Cassandra Yeo

Congratulations! You have been offered that dream job after coming out tops amongst competing candidates. The next hurdle ahead? Dealing with your first day of work... Here are some useful pointers to help you manage the first day of your career...

Letter of appointment
A letter of appointment is a contract detailing the terms of your service, which usually encompasses salary details, benefits, job scope, notification period for termination of service (either through resignation or termination of employment), and the like.

While letters of appointment are usually signed on the first day of work, some organisations prefer to send them to new hires in advance, via post.

Once you’ve got the letter in hand, you should…
• Read each clause carefully.

• Raise any queries you might have before signing the letter.

• Not be tempted to sign the letter immediately, even if the salary offered exceeds your expectations. (Some companies allow a certain period for you to consider their offer.)

• Consider the package as a whole, inclusive of medical benefits, training opportunities, working hours, leave allowance, etc.

Matters of apparel
Back when you were schooling, your mum might have helped prepare your school uniform the night before. However this task now lies in your hands. And while you had no choice over your uniform then, you now have the freedom to choose your daily outfit. (Unless you’re a police officer or army personnel, or part of any uniformed organisation…)

For women, unless you are starting work as a model or fashion expert, remember to leave your dangling earrings, chunky pendants, mini-skirts, and killer stilettos at home on your first day of work.

For men, the above goes without saying. A long-sleeved shirt and pants with covered shoes are a safe bet.

When it comes to dressing, you should…
• Pack your bag and prepare your outfit the night before. Double-check that you have everything you need before leaving home the next day.

• Find out if there is a specific dress code to adhere to. For instance, some organisations require female staff to wear skirts and dresses with covered shoes—no pants allowed.

• Make sure you look neat. Dishevelled hair, chipped nails and crusty eyes are definite no-nos.

• Remember that the best accessory to don is always a smile!

Once you’ve been around awhile, you can try adapting the dress code to your own fashion sense, but without being outlandish.

Picture perfect
Some companies may arrange to have your picture taken for staff card and/or record purposes, while others may request that you submit a passport-sized picture of yourself. Either way, avoid wearing white or light-blue tops when taking your picture, as these tend to blend with photoshoot backgrounds.

It’s also wise to stay away from loud prints and thick horizontal stripes. Collared tops and blazers are ideal for projecting a professional image.

Fit as a fiddle
Medical checkups are a straightforward though sometimes uncomfortable process for some. After all, the company you’re joining will soon have a thorough report on your health status. However, fret not, as health checks are not as discomfiting as they often seem.

When preparing for your checkup, you should…
• Wear loose clothing to facilitate changing clothes for the chest X-ray.

• Drink lots of water so that you’re able to do “number one” for a urine test during the check. The last thing you want is to have to go back to the clinic just to get that analysed!

• Avoid consuming food two hours before the blood test. Eating just before a blood test tends to raise glucose levels, which leads to inaccurate test results.

• Avoid drinking alcohol or smoking, as they affect your blood pressure. Staying up late might also the toy with the results of your eye test.

Small talk
It’s always a little nerve-wrecking to be the newbie at any place, but that can be easily overcome if you’re willing to step out of your comfort zone once in awhile.

For starters, make conversation. You don’t always have to wait for others to make the first move.

Next, awkward as you might feel, try to get involved during lunch. Chances are, your new colleagues will ask you to join them for lunch. Participate by being part of their conversations. Each conversation always contains springboards for you to dive in and contribute.

Most of all, be friendly during your orientation (i.e. during the walkabout where you’re introduced to your new colleagues), as that first impression you give is what will stick with them for the next few weeks to come.

Now that you’re a little more informed about the first day of work, there should be fewer butterflies in your stomach. Prepare yourself, and most importantly, get sufficient sleep the night before. Congratulations once again, and here’s to the start of a rewarding career!

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