How to stop feeling nervous when starting your new job

7 mins | Alex Shteingardt | Article | Starting a new job | General

Woman walking through a glass door

Starting a new job can be like your first day back at school when you were younger - even for the most confident of people and that’s completely normal.

Nerves are the body’s natural response to change and the unknown. However, feeling a sense of nervous anticipation before any pivotal change in our lives is also, to an extent necessary. In the case of starting a new job, for example, a controllable level of nerves can actually help you perform at your best and ensure you make a positive first impression from day one. 

8 tips for succesfully starting your new job

A few things to prepare and think about in the days leading up to your first day:


1. Understand that your nervousness will only be temporary

Remember that your nerves will be just a temporary feeling, and in a few days’ time, you’ll probably be wondering to yourself why you were so worried. So instead of fretting, remember all the things that motivated you to take this new job in the first place, including the chance to embark on a new chapter of your life, meet new people and the opportunity to work in a different place and for a new and interesting company. This is definitely a time in your life when you should be feeling excited!


2. Stop worrying about how your new colleagues will perceive you

Resist the temptation to put huge pressure on yourself to be perfect from day one, simply because you’re anxious to impress your new colleagues, or think instant perfection is expected. This kind of all-or-nothing thinking is just unrealistic and won’t help you to perform any better in your job in the long run. Remember, you were hired for a reason and chosen amongst all the other candidates. Accept that it’ll take you a few weeks and months to get up to speed in your new role.

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3. Have a growth mindset

An individual with a growth mindset believes their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others). So approach your new job as an opportunity to learn new things and develop, rather than something to be scared of. Instead, tell yourself that even if you find your new job difficult to begin with, you will learn and figure it out. 

Not only that, but remember that you have tackled and overcome change in your life in a positive way many times before. You’ve had lots of ‘first days’ in the past, so there’s a strong chance that you’ll come through this particular ‘first day’ – and beyond – just as successfully. Adopting a positive, purposeful and forward-looking attitude is central to your efforts to develop a growth mindset and keep your nerves at bay.


4. Keep your imposter syndrome in check

Dispelle those voices in your head which are telling you ‘you’re not good enough’, unworthy and reaffirm to yourself that you deserve this opportunity. Remind yourself that you were chosen from many different candidates for this job because your now-boss recognized the unique skills and experience you could bring to their business. So, stop worrying that you’re not as good as you’ve said you are in interviews, or that you’re less capable than your new colleagues, and that one day, and one day soon, you’ll get ‘found out’. Instead, practise those positive affirmations and remember how excited you were when you were offered the job so that you can bring this positive mindset into your new workplace.


5. Reach out to your new manager

It’ll certainly help to calm your nerves if you can proactively start to build a connection and relationship with your new boss before the first day even arrives. So why not send them an email or meet them for a coffee, reiterating how much you’re looking forward to starting your new role? Getting to know the person who you’ll be accountable to in your new job and discussing with them how you feel they could best help you to be a success.


6. Plan a fun activity before your first day

It doesn’t have to be for the whole day, but nonetheless, it could be really helpful for your frame of mind to spend your time doing something fun the day before you start your new job. That could be meeting your friends for lunch, going for a bike ride or even seeing a film at the cinema.  The idea is to distract your mind from worrying about the fact that you’re starting your new job tomorrow. Exercise is a great idea given that this releases the chemicals in your body known as endorphins, which boost happiness, your energy and relieves stress. 


7. Talk to your friends and family about how you’re feeling

I’m sure you’ve heard of that old saying, “a problem shared is a problem halved” – and it’s true. When you discuss with your friends and loved ones any concerns or worries that you might have in the run-up to your first day in your new job, they will be able to give you useful advice and assist you in keeping things in perspective. This, in turn, will help to ensure you don’t feel too lost, hopeless or trapped inside your own head.


8. Prepare

Feeling as prepared as possible will help you feel less nervous and more confident - giving you that excitement you once had. Just as you would before your first day of school, plan your outfit, figure out how you'll get there and how long it takes, and research the company more.

Embrace how you manage your nervousness so that you can do what you’ll want to do on your first day – make the best first impression.

This is a very exciting new chapter in your career and I hope these tips are helpful in starting off on the right foot.

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About this author

Alex Shteingardt, Managing Director, Hays Poland

Alex joined Hays plc in 2008 with the sole aim of launching the operations of the leading global recruitment company on the Russian market. By attracting some of the key people in the industry Hays operations doubled year on year. Currently, leading the expansion of teams expanding, both in terms of functional recruitment areas (i.e. Accountancy & Finance, Internal IT etc.) and in terms of industry expertise (i.e. Oil & Gas, Resources and Mining).

Alex graduated in economics from the Russian State Academy of National Economy. He started his career in 1996 as a Project Executive for an international engineering company. His career in the company developed for over 8 years, and he reached the role of Managing Director of the Russian subsidiary. In 2003 Alex joined a well-known European retailer to launch their operations in Russia. He later began his career in executive search and recruitment with a Pan-European executive search consultancy.

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