Starting a New Business Analyst Job (Part 2): How to Prepare for Your First Day

You got the business analyst job, now what? The first day of a new job can be exciting but also nerve-wracking. Will you be expected to hit the ground running and, if so, what does that mean? Even if you are very experienced as a business analyst, this organization, projects and people are all new to you.

First of all, let me congratulate you on this new opportunity.

Now, let’s turn our attention to how to prepare for your first day. (This article is part 2 of a 4-part series about starting a new business analyst job.)

Show Up On Time

While you already have the job, you are still confirming your first impression. Showing up on time is one of the most important ways to continue to create credibility with your new employer. Plan your commute and even consider taking a trial run during your commute time if you are uncertain about the traffic or public transportation logistics. Be sure you’ve got parking logistics figured out. Leave a little extra time to handle the unexpected.

When you get to the office, expect someone to meet you and help you get a sense of space within the office. (This is something we cover in Part 1: What to Expect on Your First Day).

Dress Professionally

On your first day, you’ll probably be meeting a lot of people. And, again, you are still continuing to make a first impression. If the office is casual, you don’t need to wear your interview suit, but one or two steps up from your nicest pair of jeans wouldn’t hurt.

My motto is that it’s always preferable to be over-dressed rather than under-dressed. As a business analyst, you may be introduced to senior level stakeholders, perhaps even the CEO, and you may not have seen normal workday attire from a broad range of stakeholders during your interview. You can always scale back to more casual clothing after you’ve established a broad sense of what appropriate attire is like in this organization.

(And another note on attire: Take your cues from your business stakeholders, not your technology stakeholders. Developers can get away with more casual attire as they tend to have less stakeholder interaction. I often look to the mid-level manager stakeholders from the business for cues as to what’s appropriate. If your short-term professional goals aim even higher, consider modeling even higher level stakeholders.)

Bring the Essentials

You’re a business analyst and you probably like to be prepared. You may not have a lot of specifics about how your first day will go, so bring a briefcase or backpack with some essentials to cover multiple scenarios.

  • Bring your lunch but be ready to leave it in the fridge if you get invited out. (This means a lunch that will still taste good on day 2 or 3 is preferable, as is something that doesn’t have a big aroma or require heating up.)
  • Bring a water bottle and/or coffee mug, pre-filled so you are not dependent on office supplies to get your hydration or caffeine needs met.
  • Bring pens and a notebook just in case you don’t immediately receive office supplies and want to take down any notes.
  • And, finally, discretely bring professional reading just in case your first day or two includes a lot of downtime. Preferably this will be reading specific to any new skills you expect to need in this job, which we’ll get to next. Bring this out only after you’ve exhausted all other possible tasks.

Learn a Bit More About the Organization and Skills

While most of your learning is going to occur on the job, it doesn’t hurt to invest in filling any knowledge or skill gaps ahead of your first day.

Minimally, invest some additional time learning what you can about the organization. After your job interview, the information you find online and through the company’s website should make more sense and you’ll absorb more of it.

If there are any skills required or discussed during the interview that are unfamiliar to you, look them up online and get a broad overview of the skill. If you know you’ll be required to use the skill within the first week or two, consider investing in a book about it and beginning to read up. Another strategy is to reach out to your professional network for background information and skill development resources.

Rest Up

Once you are prepared, the most important thing you can do on your first day is to bring your A-game. You want to be ready to be your best you and take in as much new information as possible – this means names, terms, spaces, etc.

If scheduling and budgeting allow, plan for at least a few days off between jobs – even if that’s only the weekend. This can also be a nice time to take a full week off from work and get some things done at home or spend extra time with family so you feel refreshed going into your new opportunity.

Even if a few days or a week is not possible, plan for a low-key day ahead of your start day and do what you can to get a good night’s sleep.

You are already hired. You are prepared. They are excited about you starting. Rest up so you can give them the best possible you.

What’s Next?

Once you make it through the first day, it’s time to start thinking about what to accomplish in week 1 of your new job. We cover that topic in the next article in this series.

Click here to read more about how to make the most of your first week

>> Learn the Business Analysis Process

BA Essentials Master ClassAn essential element of succeeding in a new business analyst job role is understanding the business analysis process. We walk you through an 8-step business analysis process in the BA Essentials Master Class. You’ll learn a step-by-step business process that you can customize for your organization and project situations, how to create a timeline for a new business analyst assignment, and be prepared to handle the more common issues BAs face on new projects.

Click here to learn more about the BA Essentials Master Class

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