How to Get Ready to Start a New Job

Preparation Tips and Advice

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Congratulations! You have a new job. Now it's time to prepare to get off to a great start with your new employer. When you receive and accept a job offer, there are a lot of practical things you should do before your first day to allow for a smooth transition.

How to Get Ready to Start a New Job

Here is a list of things to consider doing before starting your new job. You might not have time to do all of these things before you begin work, particularly if you are asked to begin right away.

However, you can go through this list and select the essential tasks to complete first and then accomplish the others during the first couple of weeks of work.

Make Necessary Household Arrangements

You may need to arrange for childcare, depending on the age of your children and the hours that you work. If you decide to hire a sitter, try to find a sitter before you start your job. Ideally, have that sitter meet with you and your kids at least once or twice before you start work to make sure he or she is a good fit.

If you need to find a daycare or afterschool program, you should also try to find a place that is a good fit before beginning your job. This way, you don’t have to scramble to find new childcare once you’ve begun your job. Of course, you may not have a lot of time before you start your job, in which case you might have to continue to find the right form of childcare while you’re working.

If there are any other things you need to be taken care of at home while you’re at the office—if you have a pet that needs to be walked and fed, or plants that need to be watered—be sure to hire someone to do these tasks before you begin work.

Plan Your Commute

Make sure you know exactly how to get to your new office, and how long it will take. If you are taking public transportation, make sure you know any and all stops and transfers you will need to take.

Practice going to work one or two times before work starts so you will know how long the commute is (be sure to leave around the time you plan to leave for work, so you can account for any traffic). You might want to come up with a backup route too, just in case, traffic is particularly bad one day. On your first day, leave 10 minutes earlier than you think you need to—just in case.

Plan Your Outfit

Choose your outfit for the first day of work a few days in advance. This will give you time to wash, iron, dry clean, or hem any clothing items. If you are unsure of how you should dress on the first day, you can call your company’s human resources representative for advice.

Remember, it is best to dress on the conservative side for the first couple of weeks of work. Once you get a feel for the office culture, you can begin to dress somewhat more casually, if that is what your officemates do.

Make Any Appointments

If you can help it, you don’t want to be asking for time off from work to go to doctors’ appointments in the first couple weeks of work. Therefore, you should try to schedule any upcoming doctors’ appointments for before your new job begins. If you already have an appointment scheduled that falls within the first couple weeks of work, you might want to call and see if they can fit you in earlier.

If your insurance provider is going to change with your new job, now would also be the time to make sure your current doctors will take your new insurance. Otherwise, you will have to either start looking for new doctors, or see if you have out-of-network coverage on your new insurance.

Also, think of any other appointments you want to make to ensure you look and feel your best on your first day. Consider making an appointment with a hairdresser if you haven’t had a haircut in a while. You might even consider getting a manicure or pedicure (no bright colors or crazy patterns) if you like painting your nails—anything that will make you feel confident on day one!

Get Plenty of Sleep

If you’ve had a slightly irregular sleep schedule during your job-searching period, now is the time to get back into a regular sleep pattern. Start going to bed and waking up at the times you plan to do so for work. Ideally, you should begin getting into this pattern two weeks before you begin your job. However, if you don’t have that much time, just start as soon as you can. You’ll feel much more rested on that first day of work, and you’ll be less worried about sleeping through your alarm!

Get Your Materials Together

Make sure you have all the materials you will need for day one. Get a notepad and pen to bring the first week, so you can take notes on all the introductory information you will likely receive (or, if you prefer taking notes on your smartphone, you can do so instead).

Bring all the information you need to complete new hire paperwork if you haven't done it prior to starting the job.

If you are unsure about whether people tend to buy or bring their lunch, pack a lunch for day one, just in case. If there is anything else that your boss or human resources representative told you to bring to work, be sure you have it. Also, make sure you have a professional-looking bag or briefcase for all your things.

Working from Home

If you are working from home, make sure you have all the tools you will need in your office. These tools might include a computer, printer, scanner, telephone, pens, and paper, etc. Clean and arrange your office space before your first day so you can start work with an organized workspace.

Research the Company

With all the little practical tasks you have to do before your first day, it’s easy to forget about what you can do to prepare for the job itself. Before the first day, spend a little time refreshing yourself on the organization and its mission. This task can be as simple as skimming over the company’s website one more time.

If you have a friend who knows someone at the company, you might also consider asking your friend to set up a coffee date for you and your future coworker. This way, you can get to know at least one friendly face at work before your first day.

Make the Best Impression

It's important to make the best impression starting with your first day on the job. Review these tips and strategies for successfully starting a new job before you start the next step of your career.