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What to do before starting a new job: Your ultimate guide

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Estimated reading time: 3 minutes 

There’s a lot to think about when you start a new chapter in your career, from what your schedule will look like to what you’ll wear on your first day. 

If you’re questioning what to do before starting a new job, review my step-by-step guide to get a better idea of how to prepare for your first day of work.

6-step new job checklist 

1. Do your research.

Feel more confident before you start your new job by getting a better understanding of your new company’s culture, goals and expectations.

Do some research on your company’s website and social channels to review their:

  • Values.
  • History.
  • Mission statement.
  • Service offerings.

You can also connect with your coworkers on LinkedIn to learn more about them before you begin your new job. Start by:

  • Following your company on LinkedIn.
  • Searching for the profiles of people you interviewed with.
  • Looking at their connections to see who else may be on your team.

2. Go over your schedule.

Your leader will likely send you a schedule with a brief timeline of events for your first week on the job. If you don't receive a schedule, don’t be afraid to ask for one!

This information should tell you:

  • What time you’ll need to arrive at the office (or log on to your computer if you’re remote).
  • Where you need to be.
  • Who you’ll be meeting with.
  • How long each meeting or training session will be.

Knowing what to expect during the first week of a new job will make you feel more prepared.

Pro tip: Don’t plan anything over your lunch breaks during your first week. This time will be a great opportunity to get to know your team members.

3. Practice everything.

Whether you’ll be working in an office or at home, doing a test run of everything can give you some peace of mind before your first day.

If you’re working in the office

You don’t want to be late on your first day of work. In fact, it’s better to arrive 10-15 minutes early in case there are any unexpected issues along the way.

Be on time for work and prepared for your commute by:

  • Practicing the route you’ll take to work.
  • Figuring out how much time it’ll take to get to the office.
  • Seeing what traffic is like at the time you’ll be commuting.
  • Knowing where you’re going to park.

Pro tip: You can use your state’s 511 traffic system to see the best times to commute. This will help you avoid road closures and traffic backups so you can get to the office on time.

If you’re working remotely

A few days before your start date (or sooner, if possible), double check that all the equipment you’ll need for your job is working properly:

  • Test your internet connection.
  • Make sure your laptop and other devices are working correctly.
  • Practice using the programs and software you’ll be using.

Pro tip: If your company uses a communication platform like Teams or Zoom, you can download a free trial of the program to get a basic understanding of how it works.

4. Figure out what to wear.

Ask your leader about your company’s dress code so you know the type of clothing you should wear in the office. If you’re working remotely, find out the company’s work-from-home dress code policy.

Even if your company’s dress code is more casual than formal, it’s always better to dress more professionally until you have a better understanding of what people typically wear.  

Pro tip: Make sure your outfit is ironed and ready to go the night before so you’re not scrambling on your first day. 

5. Create a list of questions.

Make a good impression on your first day by preparing a list of questions for your team leader. This shows you’re eager to learn and interested in your new role. 

Consider asking things like:

  • What are the expectations for my role?
  • How will I be supporting my team members in their roles?
  • How do people prefer to communicate?
  • What is the decision-making process like?
  • What are my main objectives for week one?
  • What tips do you have to help me be successful?

It’s a good idea to write these questions down on a notepad and bring it with you during your first week on the job. That way, you can take physical notes you can refer to later.

6. Stay in contact with your leader.

The last step in preparing for a new job is to send an email to your leader one week before your start date to verify what’s expected of you during your first week. Ask:

  • Is there anything specific I should bring?
  • Is there anything specific I should prepare for?
  • Is my first-week schedule finalized?

This is also a good time to ask any remaining questions you may have. The more prepared you are, the more comfortable you’ll feel on your first day!

Get to know your new team members.

Making connections with your coworkers is an important step in building trust among teams. Use these 10 tips to get to know your new team members at work. 
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Tom is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He joined Schneider in May 2021 and is a Vendor Services Administrator. Tom is your typical Wisconsinite – cheering on the Packers, Badgers, Bucks and Brewers in his free time.

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