10 tips for preparing to start a brand new job

HAYWARD, CA - APRIL 24: A job seeker (R) shakes hands with a recruiter for the Fremont Unified School District during a job fair at the Alameda County Office of Education on April 24, 2013 in Hayward, California. Over 100 job seekers attended the annual education job fair hosted by the Alameda County Office of Education where 200 jobs were available ranging from teachers to IT professionals. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Starting a new job is the adult version of a first day of school. Here are some tips on making sure you fit in with the cool kids.

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1. Ask questions

There are few things as disappointing as getting excited for a new job, starting, and then realizing you forgot to ask some crucial question.

Ask the human resources representative or your new manager, but make sure you find out your work schedule, the hours per week you are expected to work, salary, benefits and any information you need to successfully come on board.

2. Figure out the dress code

Most people step up their dressing game for interviews, but are able to scale back a bit when they actually start work. But it’s probably not low-key enough for ripped jeans and your favorite Beyoncé T-shirt.

If you haven’t been given a dress code, ask what the appropriate attire is for your office. Try to have a few work outfits ready so you don’t have to scramble finding clothes to wear.

3. Using your own gear

Some companies have “Bring Your Own Device or Computer” policies. You might be expected to use your own laptop, or you may have the option to use it.

Companies may also have policies about what can be plugged into a work computer – so if you want to charge your phone, you may need to find an open wall plug.

4. Social (not social)

Some companies don’t care about employees posting on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or other social media sites while working. Others have policies that strictly prohibit it. Find out what is acceptable before you start posting, and take the time to vet your social pages.

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Some of your new co-workers or even your new boss might want to be your Facebook friend. Make sure what they can view is fit for public consumption.

5. Be humble

When you start a new job, it’s important to have confidence in yourself. But don’t presume you know anything about how the operation works. Nobody likes a know-it-all, especially someone who doesn’t really know anything about the job or the organization. Take the time to listen and learn before you start giving advice.

6. Be nice

If you’re someone people want to be around, they’re more apt to come to you for help and help you when you’re stuck. People like nice people, and if you’re nice to everyone you’re going to get ahead.

Remember that some of the people at the bottom of the ladder know more about the inner workings of the company than those at the top. That’s why being nice to everyone you meet is important.

7. Figure out your route

One easy way to minimize the stress on your first day is to do a trial run before you start the job. Figure out your transportation and where you’re going.  Make the trip a few days ahead of time to see how long it takes, giving yourself a cushion for traffic or other delays.

8. Ask for help and feedback

If you’ve got a good employer, they should prefer that you ask, even if you’re an experienced hire. That’s easier than having to fix a mistake.

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You won’t be expected to know all the expectations and rules, and it’s better to ask for help than to guess. In the same vein, ask your supervisor how you’re doing, ask if he or she can give you any advice, and ask for suggestions on what you can improve upon. Be warm and open.

9. Be flexible

Give yourself some extra time to learn the job when you’re first starting it. Leave room in your schedule to come in early or stay late, if necessary.

Spending extra time upfront can help your learning curve and increase your comfort level with your new responsibilities.

10. Don’t stress

You’re not going to master the job in the first two weeks – so don’t set your expectations too high. It’s all new to you, and it will take time.

If you feel yourself getting stressed, take a deep breath, collect yourself, and remember that you aren’t expected to get it all at once. Even though you’re bringing a wealth of skills and experience to the organization, it will still take a little time for it all fall into place.

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