What to expect from your first day at work

Whether you’re working in an office, restaurant or other organisation, your first day is a memorable one. It’s nerve-wracking and exciting all at once. But how do you know what is coming if you’ve never had a full-time job before? Here’s what to expect from your first day at work:


It’s almost a guarantee that you will be a little nervous, especially if this is a job that you really wanted. Nerves aren’t always a bad thing though. They can, in some cases, be helpful as they help to keep you alert and on your toes.

When it comes to meeting new people and doing things that are miles away from your comfort zone, it’s good to put a front on and put yourself out there. These people you will meet probably won’t remember what you did on your first day anyway, but it’s good to make a good impression.

Meeting people whose names you will forget

People will not expect you to remember everyone’s names, along with passwords, the location of your desk and how to use the computers. If you aren’t good with name retention don’t worry as nearly 85% of middle-aged and older adults forget names. Age might be a contributing factor, but nervousness has just as big an impact. Because your brain is working at twice its usual speed, it will be harder to retain all the information that you will need over the course of your time at wherever you are working. But not to worry, you’ll have plenty of time to learn everything. Besides, your future colleagues were probably in the same boat as you when they started.


Traditionally, you will have an abundance of forms to fill in when you start a new job. Don’t worry about this! These are usually pretty easy to fill in. Just make sure you have a note somewhere of your National Insurance number and bank details as this may come in handy.

Listening and observing

Although it is a nerve-wracking time, your first day is crucial to learning the ins and outs of the office/work environment. Whether this means listening to your boss as they give you a guided tour of where you’re going to be working, or simply talking to and observing what your fellow colleagues do on a day-to-day basis. As much as we hate to admit it, we would rather fit in initially and gradually develop our own way of doing things than start by creating a poor reputation for ourselves. Start by talking to the person you will be spending the most time with.

Best behaviour

As it is your first day, hide away that mobile device. You don’t want your boss to look over and notice that every time they see you, your hand is stuck to your phone. After all, you (probably) don’t get paid to tweet and you might miss some important information that you need to remember. You don’t want to ask for them to repeat themselves because you haven’t been paying attention.


It always shows initiative if you inquire about things you don’t understand or feel that the boss has missed. Ask questions about how the day runs and what departments work where. You can find other useful questions you could ask here, but asking whatever feels right at the time is also a good thing to do.


Don’t worry about tripping up on your words or things generally going wrong. It’s your first day and things aren’t always going to run as smoothly as you might want. But we learn more from our mistakes than we do from getting things right the first time. Mistakes don’t mean failure, it just means that you’re human.

Your first day will always be a nerve-filled one, but as long as you are true to yourself and on time for the meetings, tours and other tasks that are set out for you, you’re sure to make a good impression!



Laura Clarke writes for Inspiring Interns, which specialises in finding candidates their perfect graduate jobs. To browse our internships London listings, visit our website.