First Day Strategy

First Day Strategy image DATE: November 6, 2018

Nervous about your first day on the job?  I’ve had 10 different ‘first days’ so I know a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t.  Here’s my strategy for kicking things off the right way on your first day!

Congrats on the new job, by the way!

I told you I’ve had 10 first days.  Those have been first days at a whole new place and first days after being promoted into a new position.  From that very valuable experience, I’ve created, implemented, and reaped the success of a fool-proof first day strategy and I want to share it with you.

This is not a crazy, off-the-wall approach by any means, but it is an approach that everyone should take, could take, but most choose not to take.  If you choose to implement this strategy, it will continue to pay dividends for your entire career.  So let’s get down to it!


Day 1 – Most Important Person

First days can be so nerve-racking, right?  I can close my eyes and instantly be back in your shoes. Walking through those new doors…heart pounding, hands sweating ?, asking myself over and over “Do I have everything I need?”, “Are they going to like me?”, “What do I do?, “Where do I go?”

Whew!  Take a deep breath.  You’ve got this!  How do I know that?  Because you are taking the time RIGHT NOW to get prepared.

On your first day, you will meet one of the most important people at this point in your career — your trainer.

The person tasked with training you was given this responsibility most likely because they know what they are doing… and they’re good at it — so pay attention to them!  It doesn’t matter if you went to school for this or not, you probably don’t have all of the experience and lessons learned that they do so you need to soak in everything you can from them.

Also, I’ve been on the other side of this equation.  I’ve been the person going to the trainer after the new guy has left asking, “How did they do?  Do you think they’ll make it?  Do you think they will kill it?” I listened intently to what this person said.  Their opinion wasn’t the end all be all, but it did matter in the beginning.

It is 100% your responsibility to make a lasting, positive, impression from day one.  Here’s how you do that:

3 Tips to Set Yourself Apart with Your Trainer  

 1. Get To Know Your Trainer.

“They” say young people have a hard time with face-to-face communication in this digital age. You can easily set yourself apart by making eye contact, asking questions, and listening to your trainer.

What kinds of questions should you ask?

Ask about their professional experience. This will accomplish two things. First, you will better understand their point of view as you work with them throughout the coming years. Second, you can get a feel for what their career aspirations are and how you might fit into the long-term plan at the organization.

You can ask about their family and friends or what they like to do for fun.  Of course their professional experience is very valuable, but you need to get to know them on a personal level too. This will help you build a deeper connection with them.

The thing is, it won’t always be your first day.  There could come a day where you are managing this person who is training you!  Your team will be the best asset you have so make sure you know them well.

2.  Take Notes

Taking notes shows your trainer you care about the job.  It is also proven that if you hear and see the information, then you are more likely to remember it.  You don’t want to have to keep going back and asking a million questions, right?  Take notes starting on day one.

Side note: If your trainer is not tech-savvy and you choose to take notes on your phone — tell them what you are doing. Repeatedly, I have heard trainers say they thought their trainee was playing on their phone all day only to find out they were using it to take notes!  With such a diverse workforce, it’s important to communicate even on small things like this!

3.  Acknowledge Their Value.

Acknowledging your trainer’s value is as easy as telling them —straight up— that you are excited to learn from them.

When you do this, they will be energized.  People like compliments, they make us feel good.  And we all like to be around people who make us feel good.  So if you want your trainer to be willing to go the extra mile, give you that extra nugget of wisdom, spend just a little more time teaching you something new, then acknowledge their value.

Here’s the other thing, your trainer not only has a deep knowledge that you’ll need to tap into, but they might also have a network that you’ll want to tap into.  I am betting there are people who shared, showed and supported them on their professional journey and those people may be willing to do the same for you — if your trainer recommends you.  So, acknowledge their value…because they have a lot of it!


Set Up for Success

If you go in on your first day and you genuinely get to know your trainer, if you take notes like a mad man, and if you express your gratitude for all your trainer is doing for you — you’re going to kill it!  

#emergingleaders #firstday #leadershipdevelopment #professionaldevelopment #GenX #college #softskills #communicationiskey #careerready

alyson van hooser

About The Author:

Alyson Van Hooser, Leadership Keynote Speaker, Trainer on Millennials, Gen Z & Women in Business With the grit that only comes from tough experiences, Alyson has learned a thing or two about personal and professional success. From her management experience with Walmart, as an elected city council member, bank manager — all before the age of 30 — Alyson has wisdom well beyond her years! Her podcast, Stake: The Leadership Podcast, offers a fresh perspective on leadership and helps multiple generations successfully work together! Connect with Alyson on LinkedIn.

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