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Preparing for your first day of work

Key points

  • Starting a new job is both scary and exciting for most people.

  • Plan ahead and make sure you have all your documentation, such as your tax file number, ID and bank account details ready - so your employer can pay you.

  • Get organised the day before, plan your outfit, pack your bag and get a good nights rest. 

 

Starting a new job 

Starting a new job may cause some people to feel a little bit of anxiety and (hopefully) a lot of excitement. Below is a list of steps that might help you get prepared for your first day at the workplace, and might settle some of those nerves.

Organise your documentation

Start with the boring stuff – the documentation! This will ensure that your recruitment process can run as smoothly as possible and that you can avoid any delays with starting (and getting paid) at work. Typically, you’ll need to bring things such as:

  • your Tax File Number (TFN). The TFN is for workers in Australia only. If you live or work elsewhere, then you might have some other identification number that is used for tax purposes

  • your bank account details (this where you want your pay to be deposited)

  • identification documents with a photograph of you, such as a driver’s license or passport

  • the name and details of an emergency contact (like a family member or close friend)
  • you may be required to sign and bring your contract of employment on the first day (if not before). Employment contracts can sometimes be confusing to understand, so ask a trusted friend, family member, or another supporter to help you if you need it. You might like to read our article on Understanding job contracts for more information.

Your employer might also have specific things that they request from you in advance, such as a police clearance. You should also check whether they need certified copies of your identification documents to keep on file.

Questions about your job

In a notebook, write down any questions that you have about your job. You don't need to ask all of them when you first arrive, it is likely they will do an 'induction' to the workplace which might include a tour of the building and discussion about policies. A workplace induction is a process that ensures new workers receive accurate and consistent information on how to perform work tasks safely. After your 'induction' they might ask you if you have any questions. It is at this stage you should ask the questions that you have. 

Some questions may include: 

  • Has your supervisor organised some orientation training for you?

  • What should you do in the event of an emergency at the workplace?

  • Who can you talk to if you have any problems or concerns at work?
  • Are there workplace policies and procedures for you to read to help you know what is expected?

  • Is there somewhere where you can store your personal or valuable items?

You’ll be learning a lot of new things at work, so you may like to take notes during the conversation with your supervisor on your first day, and then for as long as you need. It is sometimes helpful to have information readily available when you need it.

Practise your journey

In the week before your first day, try practising the journey to work. Remember that it may take longer to get to your destination in peak hour traffic, so you’ll need to ensure that you give yourself enough travel time to get to work on time.

You can check out our Getting Around article for more information about transport.

Organise your work clothes

Organise your work clothes well in advance. In some jobs, you might need to collect a specific uniform from your employer before starting your first day. In other jobs, you might have more freedom to choose something appropriate to wear from your own wardrobe. However, an ‘appropriate’ outfit will vary depending on the nature of the work – after all, what a person wears to clean out crates at an animal shelter is very different from what someone who works in a bank wears!

Try to decide on your work outfit at least one week before your first day on the job – this will ensure that you have enough time to ask for more help if needed. Make sure to choose clothes and shoes that you feel comfortable wearing for the whole time you are at work.

Pack your bag

The day before you start work, pack a bag of your personal possessions, such as:

  • your wallet or purse

  • a notebook and a pen for writing down information

  • snacks and/or lunch (take something that does not need refrigeration on the first day – just in case there is not a refrigerator available for you to use)

  • noise-cancelling headphones (if you use them in your day-to-day life or think you might need them)
  • sensory tools such as a fidget spinner, stress ball or rubiks cube (if applicable)

  • your phone (which should be set to silent mode when you are at the workplace)

  • a bottle of water

It’s best to avoid packing any non-essential valuables until you’ve scoped out your new workplace and confirmed where you can store your personal items securely.

Get a good night sleep

The night before you start work, set aside enough downtime to relax before going to bed. Try not to go to bed too late so that you can be well-rested for the next day. Importantly, make sure you set an alarm (or multiple alarms), so you can be awake early enough to have plenty of time to have a sensible breakfast, get ready and arrive at work on time.

 

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