How to overcome anxiety as you start a new job

Q: I’m about to start a new job and now feel unsure if it’s right for me. I’m feeling very anxious. What should I do? (AM, email ).

A: Congratulations on your new opportunity, AM. Starting a new job provides a new challenge which may take you out of your comfort zone.

You will learn new skills, technologies and business information. You will build new relationships, integrate within new teams and adapt to a new organisational culture. New can be as scary as it is exciting.

During the interview stage, you told them with great confidence about your experience and what you can deliver. Feelings of anxiousness, fear, not being good enough, and so on can make you question if you really are capable of fulfilling this new role.

You should believe you are. Your new employers selected you above other applicants. They saw something in you and feel your experience will bring great value to their workplace. They want you to flourish and are likely to do everything to support you in successfully integrating into the company.

Here are some strategies to bolster your confidence when starting a new job or position.

For starters, take some time to reflect on why they hired you. Consider the skills, experience and abilities you showed during the recruitment process. Reflect on how you developed those skills because you can apply that same approach to learning your new role.

If you are concerned that there is a knowledge gap between your current skills and those required in the job, identify what exactly it is and consider how you can bridge it.

Identify some good habits that you want to establish that will support your success e.g. email responsiveness, finish time, taking breaks away from desk and the like.

Consider how you would like to introduce yourself. Be prepared to share a few nuggets about yourself and your professional experience. This is your opportunity to show your best side.

To allay first day nerves, call your manager or HR to find out your first point of contact, the induction plan, dress code, employee parking and the other bits and pieces you need to know. By knowing what to expect, your confidence will increase.

During the first week, focus on connecting with people and developing relationships. Seek out opportunities to spend a few minutes with each member of your team. Identify someone that can help you navigate office politics. If any immediate colleagues work remotely, schedule a short meeting to connect.

Trust the process. New employees will have joined the company before you so it is likely there is an established induction process.

During meetings, listen and take notes. Let your manager or colleagues know if there is any immediate gap in your knowledge. Managers love when new employees are confident enough to ask because they can then focus their induction on closing this gap.

At the end of week one, ask for some feedback and be clear on your manager’s expectations. Find out what success looks like for you at the end of two weeks, one month and three months.

Finally, adopting a positive attitude and growth mind-set will best support your success.


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