STILL NERVOUS: Americans remain nervous about their job security and the strength of the economy, according to a survey by jobs website SnagAJob.com.
Worries about jobs are pervasive: 35 percent of those polled this summer said they felt their jobs were less secure than in 2009. That's an improvement from how respondents felt a year ago, though, when 52 percent said job instability was worse than in 2008.
Part of the reason for worry may have been the experience of being laid off. The survey showed that 34 percent of people who said they had changed jobs in the past year did so after losing their previous position, up from 25 percent who said they had changed jobs because of a layoff in summer 2009.
The number of people polled whose top fear for the future is losing their job has tripled since the 2007 survey to 9 percent, this summer's survey showed. Saving for retirement and college education remained the biggest worry throughout the four years that the survey has been conducted.
SnagAJob.com, an online jobs board, randomly polled 1,000 U.S. adult workers by telephone from July 8-26. The margin of error for the poll was 3.1 percentage points.
BACK TO WORK: The first day on a new job can be overwhelming. The new hire has to interact with hordes of unknown co-workers, customers or clients, figure out the responsibilities that go with the new job, and learn the layout of a new work space.
Career coaches offer tips on how to have a first-class first day:
_ BE OPEN AND FRIENDLY: Present yourself well to co-workers in an effort to form bonds. Walk around and introduce yourself to everyone. Keep conversations brief, polite and listen more than you talk: Ask questions about workplace operations and culture.
Follow "the rules that they teach us in kindergarten. Play nice, share, be cooperative," said Paul Bernard, an executive coach with his own consultancy in New York.
_ CONNECT AND LEARN: By being cordial and curious, you begin to form relationships that may help you later on. Your goal is to turn new co-workers into allies or mentors within the organization, said career coach John McKee, who has run a business strategy firm since 2001.
Being friendly and asking questions also helps new hires figure out how the office works and what their role should be.
"There are informal power brokers in all organizations," McKee said. Learning the unofficial structure of the workplace can help you achieve your goals.
_ DRESS THE PART: During the interview process, keep on eye on attire. Overdressing on the first day can appear arrogant, McKee said. Underdressing, on the other hand, is just as bad: It looks sloppy and disrespectful.
Still, slightly conservative is more appropriate than too casual, said career strategist Daisy Swan, the owner of Daisy Swan & Associates in Los Angeles. "Don't go overboard with anything: jewelry, perfume cologne."
_ ADAPT AND STAY POSITIVE: Often the reality of a new job will include more responsibilities than were presented during the interview process, especially since companies cut costs during the recession. If that's the case, the new hire needs to be ready to grin and bear it, Bernard said. It is "dangerous to complain ... people mess themselves up by being negative," he said.
There's also no need to refer to an old employer. "The way you did things at a previous job may not apply to where you are now," Swan said.