How to ace being the new girl at work

You’ve got through the application, the interview, the second interview – now the big day has come. And much like a child on their first day at school, you’re riddled with nerves about being the new girl.

When you’re the only one in the office who doesn’t know people’s names or where the kettle is, it can be daunting. Preparation is key, as these experts explain…

Stock up your handbag or tote

Relying on the office to have the stationary you need is a beginner’s no-no. Arriving at 9am and being asked to join a meeting, it won’t look great if you can’t produce a pen or paper to make notes. So get yourself a nice notepad, pen, and even a highlighter. A small pencil case is ideal as you can then store other ‘must haves’ such as a hair bobble and lip balm with ease. Add a bottle to fill with water too, says confidence coach Lisa Phillips, who notes: “I’d add a protein bar, as you won’t know what time people take lunch. Look after your human needs.”

Do find out when lunch is

“The first couple of weeks at work are where you set the boundaries of how you’re going to continue,” says Phillips. “Taking lunch is self-care, and you need to start as you mean to go on. People moan about lack of work/life balance, but we’re all responsible for it, not just our bosses. If you’re invited to lunch, go. If on your own, use it as a good time for a break to take stock.”

Show an interest in other people

“To make the best impression, nothing beats asking questions and being interested. Find out what people do in their role, how it fits in with your role, and what they feel about the organisation,” says Clara Wilcox, from the Balance Collective. “Keep all of this information together by taking notes; you will have a lot to remember in your first few days. This will be useful for you to fall back on when you need to remember names as the weeks progress.”

Stand firm and set your intention

“Everyone wants to make sure they’re welcome and well liked at the start, so you volunteer for everything and make yourself available for all events. Think, ‘What reputation do I want and who do I want to be here?’ Respected? Known for being talented/an expert? Then behave accordingly vs this nice girl who’ll just do all the stuff nobody wants to do,” says Karen Kwong, founder of coaching business RenOC.

Don’t wear a new outfit

Now is not the time to experiment with your wardrobe (Thinkstock/PA)

Sounds odd, right? Surely one of the benefits of a new job is a cheeky new work wardrobe? But just like with interviews, wearing something you’ve not worn before can leave you fidgeting around when you want to be taking in information. Phillips adds: “Be comfortable, as the last thing you want to be doing is fidgeting. So no new five inch heels.”

Make the tea (or coffee, or water)

Making the tea is about much more than who takes sugar (thinkstock/PA)

“This isn’t just about making tea,” says Phillips. “It breaks down barriers, builds rapport, and is a good opportunity to talk to everybody in the team.”

Treat yourself how you’d treat a child

First days are hard – and you’d tell a child to be kind to themselves, and to remember they won’t get things right instantly. Time to take your own advice, says Phillips: “Don’t beat yourself up, it’s part of the learning process. Don’t expect perfection straightaway.”

- Press Association


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