First Job Checklist

So, you’ve landed that first job offer. Congrats! Here are some things that can help you prepare for your first day and beyond.

Evaluating the offer

Getting a job offer is exciting! You may be tempted to sign on the dotted line, but you don’t have to accept right away—most companies will allow you some time to evaluate the offer, ask questions, and decide whether you want to move forward.

Remember, you can sometimes negotiate the salary. Do your research and find out what similar positions pay, and what the company typically offers for this role. If there’s no room for negotiation, you may be able to get other perks like remote work, work-from-home days, or more vacation time.

This is a good time to go over the benefits package—health insurance, dental coverage, life insurance (remember, your employer’s group life is different from an individual policy you might have, like whole life insurance). Look at the coverage offered for each item and decide what’s right for you. You might be asked to enroll in benefits on day one, or you might have to wait a specified amount of time before choosing.

Know the commute

After you’ve accepted the offer, it’s time to prepare for your first day. Assuming you’re going to an office or other type of location, map out your commute and know where you’re going. You don’t want to be late on your first day! If it’s tricky or you need to find parking, you might decide to drive by a few days before and check everything out. 

If you’re working from home, set up your workstation, open any mailed materials such as a laptop or other hardware, and be ready to start on day one.

Understand the dress code

If you’re going into an office, it’s important to know the dress code beforehand—especially if you’ve never been in a work environment before. If your interviews were in the office, you might have observed the dress code. If not, ask HR or your new manager. When the first day rolls around, lay out your clothes beforehand so you don’t have to think about it in the morning.

Bring your required documents

On the first day, you’ll likely spend some time with HR filling out forms. Find out what they need and if you can send it over email beforehand. If not, make sure to bring the documents with you and have your information ready.

Introduce yourself

On day one, your manager might bring you around and introduce you to the team. They might also save this step for later, or allow you to introduce yourself on your own. If your position is remote, you might get an email or video call invites to meet everyone. However it happens, introductions and personal connections can be a great start to productive working relationships and even friendships.

Settle into your role

After you’ve arrived, filled out your paperwork, and met everyone, it’s time to start working. Find out what your tasks are, set up your hardware, and ask questions when you need to. Remember, you won’t know everything on day one! Learn, try new things, and appreciate the process as you go.