Strategies to prepare for your first post-uni job

by Nov 27, 2023

Although you go to university fully expecting to learn the skills you need to enter the workforce full-time, it’s natural for the nerves to get to you once you graduate. While first-day jitters are normal, it’s important you face your anxiety and get your mind right, so that you can stay at the top of your game. By setting up a plan with some of the steps below, you can get in the best possible mental and physical health so you can confidently take on your new position.

Preparing for your first day

Whether you think you might be nervous or not, getting your mind and body right before your first day can help you feel more prepared as you step into your new role. With that in mind, there are ways that you can reduce your new job anxiety and feel a bit better.

Start by thinking about the source of your anxiety. For many people, that might be the fear of awkwardness when meeting new people. If that’s your concern, brainstorm an introduction before you start. You could also research the company online and look up the names and pictures of the people you’ll be working with so the introductions are less jarring.

Some people fear that they don’t have what it takes to excel in the new job. If that’s you, think back on your resume, the interview, and the skills and abilities that impressed your new boss. Remember that you’re there for a reason, and you can be yourself. Many fear they’ll be late on their first day or won’t know what to wear. If that’s your concern, create a “new job no nerves checklist” and mark off what you need.

This checklist should include:

  • Budgeting for a professional yet sensible wardrobe: If you don’t have the funds to buy an entirely new wardrobe for your first day and week on the job, budget accordingly. You can also save more money in the long term if you invest in several staple fashion pieces that you can not only wear in the office but in your spare time as well. The higher quality you invest in initially, the longer it’ll last throughout your career.
  • Outlining key questions and a personal mission statement: Inevitably you’ll meet a lot of new people on your first day. Writing out a statement the night before can save you from any awkwardness as everyone asks you about your personal and professional history. In addition, create a list of questions you may have about the company and its culture that may have not arisen during your interview.
  • Creating an alarm and checking it twice: Most importantly, set an alarm that gives you plenty of time to get ready the morning of and commute to the office. Don’t stop there, either. Check it again before going to bed for the night.
  • Resting and relaxing: Lastly, make sure you’re properly prepared by prioritising rest the day and night before. Most doctors recommend seven to nine hours of sleep for a healthy night’s sleep, so prioritise this by winding down well before you would normally go to bed.

By writing out this checklist and completing each item, you’ll feel better and calm any fears you have about your first day on the job.

Managing stress and anxiety once you start

Even after preparing yourself for the job, it’s still possible that you’ll be stressed. You can work through that stress by making tweaks to your work environment that can help put you at ease. Personalise your workspace with family photos, ask your new colleagues questions if you’re confused, and journal your feelings to get them out of your system.

It’s also vital that you don’t make life all about work but create a work-life balance that prevents constant work and allows you to relax after your regular shifts. This is especially important when working in a high-pressure industry such as finance or healthcare. Make sure that you take breaks, set time outside of work to relax, and regularly check in with your supervisor about your workload, to make sure you aren’t overworking yourself.

Look after your body and mind

Maintaining your physical health is equally as important as mental health when it comes to starting a new job.

Consider starting a fitness routine before you begin your new job that is adjusted to your new schedule, so you can continue once work begins. Make sure you get enough sleep at night, and find a method of exercise that suits your lifestyle. Setting time to care for your physical health can give you an opportunity to process the stress in your life, and help you feel better. You might want to try using your work breaks to go outside for a walk, or finding a nearby gym to release some tension.

Eating right is also essential for a low-stress and dynamic workday. Often, transitioning from university to full time work means you’ll find you have less time during the day to prepare food. This can lead to frequent eating out, a practice which can have an impact on both your physical health and your wallet. Consider setting aside time on a weekend to meal-prep your food throughout the week, building up a balanced diet that works for your body and your brain.

Thinking a little more about how you can incorporate activity, good sleep hygiene, and balanced food habits can help your mind be a little more in balance as you adjust to the new environment.

Seek out support

One of the best ways to tackle new-job anxiety is to talk about it. Make sure you are touching base with your friends and family, and staying connected as you adjust to the new role. Remember that there are always resources available to chat to professionals if you need more support.

If you are a UTS Student or alumni looking for support, we offer one-on-one chats to help give you career advice and guidance. UTS also offers a confidential counselling service to help if you’re struggling with your general well-being.


There may not be a cure-all to completely alleviate stress as you transition from university to your career, but you can take steps to feel better along the way. Consider these strategies and hit the ground running when you start your new job.



Featured image courtesy of Unsplash

Charlie Fletcher

Charlie Fletcher

Freelance Writer

Charlie Fletcher is a freelance writer from the lovely “city of trees”- Boise, Idaho. Her love of writing pairs with her passion for social activism and search for the truth. You can follow her work at