Career Planning 101: 7 Things to Do Before Starting a New Job

a woman getting ready to start a new job
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Starting a new job can be an exciting—and scary—time in your life. You're making a big life change, advancing your career, and taking a healthy risk by venturing out of your comfort zone for a brand-new opportunity. It's natural to feel some anxiety as your first day of work approaches, but there are certain things to do before starting a new job that will help to ensure a smoother transition. While there will always be some things you have no way of predicting, some careful preparation will get you started on the right foot to make a great first impression and adjust to your new workplace and role. Keep scrolling for a list of things to do before starting a new job.

Take a Time-Out

If possible, it's wise to schedule in some form of break between leaving your previous job and beginning your new one. Whether it's a long weekend or a full week off, use this time to reset, recharge, and take some time for yourself to catch up on everything before you become busy with your new work schedule. If your schedule allows, indulge in some "me" time to allow yourself a mental break from work and establish a separation between your old job and your new opportunity.

Get the Facts

You likely studied the ins and outs of your company while you were interviewing for your new position, but now that you're a new hire, be sure you've received all the information and documentation you need from HR before your first day. You'll likely have an orientation or onboarding scheduled for your first day or even week of work, but there are certain facts you'll want to be sure you know before the big day—the exact time you should arrive, what items you might be expected to bring, etc.

Plan Your Route

You should be familiar with your route to commute to the office before your first day (and have a backup plan should something fall through). Know the driving directions or exact subway lines you'll be taking (and alternate paths if there are closures) and have a good idea of how long your commute is expected to take, allowing extra time for getting lost or facing any other unplanned events on the big day.

Understand the Dress Code

Chances are, the office dress code isn't necessarily what you wore when you went in to interview. Communicate with HR to learn the expected office attire for your position and err on the side of dressing more professionally if you're unsure. In your first week at the office, you'll get a better sense of the dress code—but it's wise to have outfits ready for those first few days to reduce stress and time wasted putting something together each morning.

Become Acquainted With Your Co-Workers

While you'll likely be introduced to most people you'll be interfacing with on a daily basis during your first few days at the office, it doesn't hurt to familiarize yourself with your colleagues before your first day. Become acquainted with the names of your co-workers and look them up on LinkedIn to get to know their faces and understand their roles and duties.

Study Up

Even if you're transitioning to a role essentially the same as the one you just left, it doesn't hurt to freshen up on the skillset your position requires. Use the time between jobs to revisit the skills that got you hired and read literature around your areas of expertise to make sure you're in the know of everything happening now.

Arrive Early

Last but not least, it is important to arrive early for your first day on the job. Arriving right on time is considered by many to be "late," and you only get one chance to make a good first impression. As mentioned previously, there are many things you can't plan for on your commute—especially when it's your first time—so be sure to allow plenty of time for traffic, road closures, or delayed trains.

Next up, here are 10 things you should do after starting a new job.

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