Starting a new job is exhilarating. And the opportunities are endless—a new chance to make an awesome first impression, new responsibilities to help you grow, new professional connections who could turn into friends, even a new (and clean) desk.
But before you head to bed thinking all the fantasies, there are a few things you should do the night before your first day—that is, if you want to seriously impress and earn the respect of your new boss.
And, because we’re feeling super generous, we made you this handy checklist so you don’t forget anything important. Just click File > Download as > whatever file you’d like to get started.
1. Lay Out Your Outfit
You want to make a killer first impression (OK, maybe it’s not the first, but it’s still pretty important), so make sure your best outfit is ready to go so you’re not scrambling in the morning.
But remember, this isn’t an interview—you already have the job. So, if you know the office is more casual, don’t be afraid to tone it down a bit. You’ll feel a lot more comfortable knowing you’ll be dressed like everyone else, rather than the one person wearing a full suit.
2. Set Your Alarm and Plan Your Commute
Double check your arrival time, then set your alarm and plan your commute so you arrive 15 minutes before then. Trust me, you won’t be frowned upon for arriving early.
3. Figure Out Your Breakfast Situation
It’s the most important meal of the day according to science! Make sure you start off on the right foot by preparing (or making) what you’re going to eat first thing when you wake up.
4. Collect All Your Documents
Hopefully, HR has sent you a rundown of what you need to bring in, which may include a passport, photo ID, or other paperwork you need for employment verification. (If they haven’t, it’s still usually a good idea to bring these things regardless.) You can also do yourself a favor by refreshing yourself on what a 401K is and how health insurance works.
5. Pack Your Bag
Then, make sure to pack all the essentials—a notebook and pen for taking notes, a sweater if the office is cold, a stain stick for spills, some money for lunch (yes, you should buy lunch your first day to get to know your co-workers!), and a snack in case lunch runs late or doesn’t happen.
6. Do One Last Bit of Stalking
Names are hard to remember—which is why it’s smart to stalk your company’s team page or your new team members’ LinkedIn profiles one last time (yes, I know you did this before for your interview) to remember who is who and what they do.
Then, collect the names of people you’d like to grab coffee with and get to know better (they don’t have to be in your department) your first few weeks.
7. Prepare Some Small Talk Topics
You’re going to be doing a lot of small talking as you meet everyone, so if you’re on the shyer side, preparing some topics of discussion (the TV show you’re currently watching, what you did over the weekend, vacation plans) beforehand will save you from suffering through awkward pauses or blurting out inappropriate comments on your first day.
8. Collect a Couple Questions or Ideas You Have
Even if you don’t know what to expect, you’re sure to impress your boss by being proactive and coming prepared with a couple questions about the company or department, or some ideas on projects you know your role entails. Here are a few to get you started.
9. Write Down One Reason You Took This Job
This great tip comes from Muse writer Erin Greenawald, who suggests writing down the biggest reason you decided to take this job.
“Then, when things get overwhelming, everything isn’t what you expected it to be, or you feel like you’ll never make it up the steep learning curve ahead of you, you can return to that reason and remind yourself why you’re doing this,” she says.
10. Get Some Sleep!
I know you’re excited to start, but you’re going to want to be well rested to keep your energy levels high and stay focused on your first day. So, get to bed at a reasonable hour, and maybe try one of these sleep hacks so you get plenty of rest.
Finally, on the big day, be yourself! You’re about to embark on a new career journey, and starting it off just as you are guarantees you’re headed in the right direction.
TopicsChanging Jobs , New Jobs , Worksheets , Syndication , First day , Career Advice , Candidate Experience: Hired , hired
Photo of person in bed courtesy of PhotoAlto/Frederic Cirou/Getty Images.
Previously an editor for The Muse, Alyse is proud to prove that yes, English majors can change the world. She’s written almost 500 articles for The Muse on anything from productivity tips to cover letters to bad bosses to cool career changers, many of which have been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., CNBC's Make It, USA Today College, Lifehacker, Mashable, and more. She calls many places home, including Illinois where she grew up and the small town of Hamilton where she attended Colgate University, but she was born to be a New Yorker. In addition to being an avid writer and reader, Alyse loves to dance, both professionally and while waiting for the subway.More from this Author