18 Tips for What To Say on Your First Day at Work

The first day of a new job can be a busy experience full of meeting new people and learning valuable information about your new position. Preparing for different introductions and conversations on your first day of work can help give you a strong first impression with your coworkers and managers. In this article, we list tips for things to say and not to say on your first day at a new job.

Here are some do's and don'ts for what to say on the first day of work:

1. Do be available

Example: "I can finish this paperwork later. What do you need?"

The first day of a new job can include tasks like onboarding paperwork that may be hard to pause, but if a boss or coworker asks for a meeting, you can leave onboarding tasks for later. Setting people as a priority over other tasks can help you build professional relationships with your new colleagues.

2. Don't turn down lunch

Example: "Yes, I'd love to get lunch with you. What time are you going?"

You may feel a duty to stay at the office so you don't miss anything, but if a new coworker asks you to have lunch, accept. This is a great way to build a positive first impression, because it shows that you're motivated to network with your new coworkers.

If the time for their lunch invitation conflicts with a meeting or other time-sensitive task, graciously decline the invitation and ask if they're available for lunch the next day to show that you're interested in getting to know them.

3. Do be yourself

You can show your personality while remaining professional on the first day of work. Ask relevant questions as you get to know colleagues. Think about a few facts you can share about yourself when you're given the opportunity. Here are a few topics that allow you to show coworkers your personality on the first day of work:

  • Pets: Pets are a great way to find interests in common with other coworkers.

  • Hobbies: You don't have to provide an exhaustive list of hobbies, but sharing that you enjoy hiking or a particular television show can help you befriend your coworkers.

  • Hometown: If you relocated for your new job or you've lived in the city all your life, this can be an interesting thing to share with new colleagues.

4. Don't speak negatively about your old job

Example: "My old boss was bad at time management."

Speaking negatively about a past job experience can detract from the positive experience you're starting at a new job. Focus instead on how excited you are about this new opportunity and leave your last job in the past. This can show your new coworkers that you have a positive, future-facing attitude.

5. Do prepare some greetings

Example: "Hello, I'm Anne, and I'm new to the sales team. I'm originally from New Mexico, but I moved here for this job. I'm excited to get to know everyone!"

You don't have to say the exact same line to every coworker you meet, but you can think about what you want to say to your new coworkers ahead of time to ease the introduction process. Here are a few things to include in a greeting:

  • Your name: Don't forget to say your name to help people remember who you are when you're starting a new job.

  • Your title: Remember to share your job title with new coworkers.

  • Your previous work experience or education: "I spent four years as a recruiter for [company]." This gives you a chance to both share your background and build connections with coworkers who may have a similar background. If this is your first office job, you can say, "This is my first job in sales; I just earned my degree from [college or university.]"

  • An interesting fact: If you moved to a new place for the position or you're starting a career in a new industry, this information can help your colleagues get to know you better.

6. Don't say you're tired

Example: "I got no sleep last night."

Showing other people your energy for your new position can help demonstrate a positive attitude and excitement about the new job. Yawning or expressing you're tired, even if you are excited about the job, can send the wrong impression. If you're prone to sleeping fitfully the night before a new job, you can plan ahead to get plenty of rest and prepare some snacks to give you energy on your first day.

7. Do prepare for group introductions

In some workplaces, managers may make new employee introductions to entire groups or departments. Here are some tips for how to handle introducing yourself to a group of coworkers:

  • Keep it general. Remember to state your name and your new title at the company.

  • Speak clearly. It's important to speak clearly so the group can hear your introduction.

  • Smile while you speak. This can show that you're a friendly and set a positive tone for the introduction.

  • End with a positive statement. Saying "I'm excited to get to know everyone" or "I can't wait to get started on this project" can help you end your introduction on a positive note.

Example: "Hello, sales team! I'm Brandon. I'm the new marketing analyst. I'm looking forward to getting to know you all!"

8. Don't be afraid to ask questions

Example: "How do these departments work together?"

Your first days on the job are the time to get familiar with a new company's workflows and policies. It's also a good time to ask for clarification about anything you're unsure about. You can ask your manager if they would prefer emailed or verbal questions during your first week.

9. Do send some emails

Example: "Hello Jean, I'm Lisa, and I'm taking over this project. You can contact me with any questions as I begin working in this role. I look forward to getting to know you as this project progresses! Thank you, Lisa"

Some workplaces communicate primarily through email. If this is the case, you can send brief introduction emails to people you may collaborate with in your new position. Here are some people to send emails to on your first day:

  • The person who held your position last: Especially if the person who last worked your job received a promotion within the company, it can be helpful to introduce yourself and ask if they have any tips for your new position.

  • Someone you'll collaborate closely with: If you'll be working with another person or team to complete a task, you can send them an email to introduce yourself and let them know you'll be working together.

  • New clients or accounts: You can send an introduction email if you're taking over someone else's clients or accounts. Let them know you'll be their new contact and you're available to answer any questions from them.

10. Don't criticize the equipment

Example: "Wow, this computer is really old."

Remember to be gracious instead of critical on the first day of a new job. It's one thing if your keyboard doesn't work, in which case you could politely ask for a replacement. It's another, however, if the model of your phone is older than you expected. Sometimes you can speak to human resources about heath-related accommodations like a supportive chair or a standing desk.

11. Do ask about a manager's expectations

Example: "What can I help the team accomplish in my first week or month on the job?"

You can use your first day as an opportunity to ask questions about what your manager and coworkers expect of you. This can give you early goals as you get accustomed to the new position. It can also show your managers and coworkers that you want to do your job well.

12. Don't ask about a raise

Example: "Do you think we can talk about a raise?"

By your first day of a new job, you have most likely signed an offer letter and negotiated with your new company on a reasonable salary. The first day is not the time to ask for more money. Instead, you can ask this question after three to six months, when you've settled into your new position, met some goals and are ready for a performance review.

13. Do show your knowledge

Example: "Hi Bill! I read liked your last marketing analytics report. I thought it was really insightful. How can I help improve our metrics?"

Coming prepared with information about your new company can help you ask informed questions on your first day of work. This can show your colleagues that you have a genuine interest in your new position. It can also help you make positive first impressions.

14. Don't be shy

Get ready to introduce yourself frequently on the first day of a new job. You may have to work through exhaustion from sharing the same pieces of information repeatedly. However, this will pay off by showing people you're polite. Here are some tips for making introductions if you're feeling shy:

  • Keep it brief. Not every exchange needs to be long. "Hi, I'm Amelia. I'm the new sales rep. I'll be working in the cubicle next to yours."

  • Remember to speak audibly. Speaking clearly and in a tone of voice people can hear can help you communicate effectively with new teammates.

  • Make eye contact. This can help you show open body language as you meet new people on your first day.

15. Do be polite

Example: "Thanks for taking the time to show me this workflow. I really appreciate it!"

Being polite in your first days on the job can help you show your colleagues that you have a positive attitude. It's also a way to show respect for people who welcome you to a new job by training or mentoring you.

16. Don't complain

Example: "That's not how you're supposed to do this."

Example: "This isn't the best process to complete this task."

Sometimes when you start a new job, you notice inefficient or outdated processes. However, your first day is not the time to criticize them. Instead, make a genuine effort to perform your job duties the way you're asked. This can give you an insight into the reasons for inefficiencies. It can also give you the experience to suggest updates in the appropriate settings, like a performance review.

17. Do ask for advice

Example: "Wow, you've worked here a long time! Do you have any tips for someone who's just starting out?"

Asking your coworkers questions about how to perform better at your job can help you develop professional relationships and also give you valuable insight into ways you can improve. Coworkers on your team can give you advice about specific tasks, while managers can advise you on ways to improve your overall performance.

18. Don't gossip

Example: "I overheard Samantha say she wasn't happy with George's work."

Remember to keep conversations polite and professional for your first few weeks on the job. You can relax more into your role as time goes on, but refraining from gossip can help you gain respect in a new workplace.