Career / Career Progression

First Day at a New IT Job: Do's and Don'ts to Master Your New Role

by Team Nuggets
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Updated on April 9, 2024

You rocked the interview and landed the IT job you wanted. Congratulations!

First impressions are everything, though, so you still have a few things to consider before you start your new gig. Here's a guide to ensuring your first day on the job is a rousing success—or, at the very least, ensuring you don't sabotage yourself.

If you need to cram in some last-minute training to impress the rest of the IT folks on your first day, you know where to go!

Do: Adjust Your Attitude. Don't: Let Prior Experiences Affect You.

You may be experiencing a whole range of emotions as you start your new job. Maybe you're giddy with excitement because you landed a dream job, or you're feeling anxious and resentful after taking a less-than-perfect position.

No matter where you fall on the spectrum, going into your first day with an enthusiastic and open-minded attitude is key. This will lay a foundation for forming good working relationships with your colleagues.

Employ those ever-so-important IT soft skills from the start, and you'll improve your focus and ability to absorb new information.

Do: Take Care of Your Appearance. Don't: Be Too Casual Right Out the Gate.

First impressions aren't created based on attitude alone. While you'll want your good work to speak for itself over time, it's unavoidable that you'll be judged on appearance when you walk in the door the first time.

(And unfortunately, the stereotype of the IT guy has created some unfavorable assumptions.)

First things first: Pay attention to your grooming and hygiene. Get a haircut if you need one, take a shower, and brush your teeth. Of course, these are all common sense measures, but there's no shame in needing a reminder.

Next, dress professionally, even if it means overdressing a bit on your first day. Depending on your workplace, this might mean a suit, slacks, a nice shirt, or a dress.

If in doubt, ask your new manager about the usual attire. Or skim our IT dress code post!

Do: Arrive Early (And Plan To Leave Late). Don't: Be Late!

Being on time is crucial for making a good first impression. It's even better to plan to be early and wait a few minutes at your car or a nearby coffee shop than to plan to be exactly on time and risk traffic or other transportation issues.

Arrive a few minutes early on your first day, but not too early that you inconvenience anyone. (Ten minutes is a good bet.)

While your schedule may get more flexible over time, don't plan for a long lunch or a rigid stop time on your first day. Take cues from your manager, and don't leave first unless you're explicitly told to do so.

Our IT Soft Skills video details time management, team building, and dress code! It's worth the time to watch. 

Do: Be Honest. Don't: Be A Know-It-All.

No one expects you to know everything on your first day. So don't pretend!

If someone uses a word you don't know, forgot where the bathroom is, or didn't understand your paperwork, just be honest about it.

If you want to succeed in IT, you'll never stop learning. Whether you just passed your Network+ cert or are a newly minted Cisco Top Gun, you shouldn't have a "know it all" mentality.

Being open and asking for help when needed will set you up to succeed and make you more relatable to your boss and coworkers. Take notes about specific policies and the location of important places if needed so you can refer back to them later. 

Do: Review the Basics If You Need To. Don't: Try to Get a New Cert the Day Before.

If this is your first IT job or you're taking on a new role, it can feel overwhelming to dive into all the terms and rules immediately. Before your first day, review the basics of your new role for an hour or so. 

For example, if you've moved from an IT support role to a cybersecurity role, consider our Intro to Cybersecurity course. It's an hour long and will help refresh all the concepts you'll need on your first day. 

Here are a few other courses and topics that will help you prepare for your new role: 

As helpful as reviewing the basics can be, don't go all in first; try to get a new certification before starting a new job. While certifications can help increase your salary, you don't want to overwhelm yourself just before starting a new role! 

Do: Plan for Career Growth. Don't: Start a New Job Without Knowing Your Worth 

While asking for a raise on your first day isn't appropriate, you should plan for career advancement from the start. Take the time to research typical salary ranges for your position and experience level in the IT industry

This will help you better understand your worth and negotiate fair compensation when the time is right.

Think about the opportunities for growth and development within your new role. Does the company offer training programs, certification opportunities, or mentorship initiatives? Investing in your skills and knowledge will enhance your value as an employee and position you for future career advancement and higher earning potential.

Remember, your first day is just the beginning of your journey. By staying proactive, continuously learning, and advocating for yourself, you can pave the way for a fulfilling and rewarding career. 

Do: Relax and Have Fun. Don't: Sweat The Small Stuff.

The first days can be overwhelming. Don't worry — everyone was new once, and soon enough, you'll be one of the pros trying to make a new coworker feel at home.

There's plenty of advice out there for acing your first day, being more productive, getting a raise or promotion, doing more in less time, and the list goes on.

If you try to do it all, you'll drive yourself crazy. So try to relax and enjoy yourself in your new job.

Final Thoughts

Starting a new IT job is an exciting milestone. As you embark on this new chapter, it is natural to focus on learning, adapting to your role, and making a positive impression. However, it is essential to keep an eye on your long-term career goals, including financial stability and growth.

Congratulations on taking a new step in your career! We hope these tips help you prepare for your first day. 

Do you need to train for your new job or increase your salary? Browse our comprehensive training library.


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