Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Surviving first day-itis

Landed your first part-time summer job or work-experience position at a tax and accounting firm, and nervous about settling in? Don’t worry – that feeling is totally normal. Here’s a survival guide on how to make a great impression in your first week.

Remember that you’ve already been hired

David McKellar, an experienced chartered accountant, taxation services specialist and director at Allied Business Accountants in South Melbourne, points out that the first thing to remember is that the interview is over, which means you’ve already succeeded in convincing them you are made of the right stuff.

“Relax, because you are now a part of the team, and the people you are meeting are your colleagues and will, in time, become your friends,” he says.

Be confident and ask questions

Everyone had their own first day at work, so you will probably find your co-workers going out of their way to make you feel welcome. Confident body language, such as a smile and a firm handshake, will help put them at ease too.

It’s also important you show yourself to be a good student. This doesn’t mean you’ll be expected to remember everything – just that you are willing to listen and learn from others. McKellar stresses that you shouldn’t be too shy or scared to ask questions:

“Listen carefully to instructions, and if you don’t completely understand, ask for more explanation or assistance. No one will mind if you don’t understand, but they won’t be impressed if you waste your day trying to figure things out."

Be punctual

In that first week, it can feel like every car on the road is trying to get in your way. To avoid arriving late on your first day, a good strategy is to rise 30 minutes earlier than you think you need to – just in case anything unexpected slows you down. It’s also a good idea to plan your route ahead of time, and do a ‘test commute’ to get an idea of the traffic conditions you will be up against.

Final impressions also count, with McKellar suggesting it's important for new starters to leave their co-workers with a glowing impression of the new kid on the block.

“When finishing for the day, thank your supervisor and other people around you for their help and tell them you will see them tomorrow. Whatever you do, don’t be that person who sneaks out of the office.”

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