Congratulations! After all the applications, cover letters, and interviews, you finally landed that career-launching job. But after the job search becomes a whole new challenge: preparing for your first day.
Don’t leave anything to chance – here are some simple tips to help you look and feel your best on your big day.
1. DO: Decipher the dress code
If your employer didn’t mention the dress code during the interview process, make sure to ask before you show up on your first day. While it’s always good to err on the formal side for your first day, you don’t want to be the intern in a three-piece suit while everyone around you is wearing jeans and tees.
2. DON’T: Wear the brand new shoes
Your day will likely include a lot of walking as your manager introduces you to your new co-workers. That brand new pair of shoes might be tempting, but for your first day, comfort is key. If you find a must-wear pair of shoes for your first day, put on band-aids where you think you may get blisters, and make sure you bring extras just in case!
3. DO: Keep your commute in mind
Does your trek to the office include a lot of walking? A trip on the subway? If so, think carefully as to whether your outfit will survive your commute. If you’ll have to readjust your shirt every five minutes, you might want to pick something else.
4. DON’T: Break the bank
You don’t have to go into debt to make a strong first impression. Take a quick inventory of your closet and assess what you already have. One of the added bonuses of shopping in your closet? There will be no fashion surprises on your first day of work – after all, you’re already familiar with the sizing and fit of your wardrobe.
5. DO: Take cues from your new co-workers
Think back to your interview – do you remember what your co-workers were wearing? If so, you can use them as a guide to plan your outfit. Dressing a step up from the general dress code for your first day is a good rule to follow. It’ll show your boss that you’re excited and ready to hatch your new career. For example, if your office is business casual, step it up to smart casual for the first day by throwing on a blazer and a nice pair of slacks.
6. DON’T: Let your clothes do the talking
Unless you’re interning at a fashion magazine, your first day on the job is not the time to try out that pair of sequined pants. You want to be remembered for your work, not your crazy outfit. If you’re not sure what to wear, stick to the basics for your first day and add pops of personality with small accessories like a bow tie or a statement necklace.
7. DO: Find your perfect fit
Simply put: overly baggy or tight clothing makes you look unprofessional, so it’s important to find that perfect balance. Whatever outfit you pick, make sure it’s comfortable. If you’re fidgeting with your clothes all day, you won’t be able to focus on the new environment and tasks at hand.
8. DON’T: Leave your outfit to the last minute
Planning your outfit the night before will help ensure your morning is as stress-free as possible. It’ll also give you time to ensure you take care of all of the little details that tend to get overlooked, such as polishing a scuffed pair of shoes or perfecting the crease in your dress pants.
9. DO: Skip the morning Starbucks
Why go through all the effort of looking impeccable just to spill your latte all over your crisp white oxford? If you usually eat breakfast on the go, you might want to take the time to make your morning coffee at home on your first day. This way, if you do run into any clothing mishaps, you have time to change before you reach the office.
10. DON’T: Forget to be yourself
Don’t suffer for fashion! Remember they hired you, not your clothes. A good rule of thumb: stick with fabrics like cotton and polyester – they’re wrinkle resistant and super soft, meaning you will look as great as you feel.
At the end of the day, you’re there to do a job, and your outfit should empower you to do your best. Be confident and comfortable, but most importantly, do great work.