Finding a job in Australia Part 5: First day on the job. Or not. Hold up!


Everyone talks about the first day on the job and what to expect, but actually you should really be preparing at least a few days beforehand. We're talking about small things that aren't a big deal but if they all go wrong, the first day of the job won't be a good one.

Knowing how to get there - plan A, B and C

Transport in Australia is not like transport in most other countries. Certainly in Sydney it is slow, cumbersome and very prone to delays. Therefore you need to have a plan A, B and C. I cannot stress enough that the worst thing you can do on the first day (aside from setting the building on fire) is to show up late and blame it on the transport. Have some foresight and plan ahead.

Take the earlier train/bus and get to your place of work a little bit early. If you're too early, go for a coffee in the area and check out the local lunch spots.

If you're going by car, you better account for the time spent in traffic. If you work a regular 9-5 job then you will be caught up in peak hour traffic. Plan a few routes or get out of the house much earlier than you anticipated because you never know what will happen on the roads.

If you're cycling or walking, well then you're OK because last time I checked, I don't think I've seen traffic jams in these modes of transport. However, don't underestimate the distances in capital cities and don't overestimate your abilities to cycle or walk fast. Australia is a big country, we live a bit further from everything else and this applies to our cities. For example, how long would it take you to walk down George Street in Sydney? How about between Town Hall and Wynyard Station? They're only one station apart but it can take up to 30 mins to walk.

Knowing what time you start work

You may laugh at this but there are a lot of people out there that don't have this agreed on before they start work. Everyone assumes 9 am but what if your boss wants you to get there earlier to learn the ropes a bit more? Or what if your first day on the job is at a different office location and you don't have to get there at 9 am?

Make sure you confirm what time you should get there to start work.

Dressing appropriately

Maybe your first day is a site visit or maybe you're tagging along to meet a client. Whatever it is, make sure you dress appropriately for the work environment. For instances, if it's a site visit you might have to wear protective gear and on top of what you're wearing. If you're going to a meet a client then you should dress more formally (or casually if that's how your business rolls).

Positive attitude

Nothing starts the day off better than a smile and a positive attitude! Bring that spark and shine to your new office to make the best first impression ever. This is your time to show your enthusiasm for the job and the company.

You're going to be working with these people for at least 8 hours a day, so make it a happy one.

Take initiative

You're new and its your first day so you really don't know what you're supposed to do BUT you can always put your hand up to help someone out, just to get you started. You'll show initiative and your go-getter attitude that you said you had in the interview. If nothing else you'll start to learn more about your company and how it works and you'll get exposure to different types of jobs.

Ask questions and ask for help

There's nothing worse than someone spending 5 hours writing a letter and still doing it wrong when they could have asked someone for the right template or help. It's your first day, you're not expected to know how everything works in the company. You need to ask questions and you need to ask for help when you're stuck. If you do spend 5 hours writing a letter and turn it in for review, your boss is going to think that you're an idiot. Also refusing to ask for help is a sign of not working well with others.

Don't be afraid to ask people questions, they know you're the new person and they've all been there before. This is also the chance to find out who the helpful and useful people are and will be great for future career development too.

If in doubt, ASK!

Coffee time!

Arguably the most important part of the day because this is where you get to talk to your colleagues informally and get the lo down on the situation/project/company etc. This is a big ritual in Australian companies and a great bonding moment for teams. It could be simply meeting in the kitchen for coffee or going outside to the local coffee shop, find out and get in on that!

What's next?

Well hopefully there's been enough information here to help you on your way to finding a job in Australia. Starting a new life in another country is always daunting and one of the first steps is to integrate into the workforce. Finding a job will bring other social benefits too such as a strong support and friendship group and it'd give you the first taste of an Australian way of life.

Hit us up with any comments or questions in the section below or just say hello.

Goodluck and happy job hunting!

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