So you made a resume that deserves a Pulitzer, charmed your way through an interview (or two), and you’ve managed to land a job. First of all, congratulations! Secondly, don’t get too comfortable yet. You still have to win over your boss.
Not only is impressing the big cheese useful for climbing the corporate ladder (if that’s your goal), but having a former boss who likes you adds more punch to your future job applications. Whether you’re working part-time at a shoe store or a 9-5 job in a cubicle, getting on your employer’s good side is a helpful step towards better career prospects.
Strut Your Stuff
You’ve bragged about your talents, recounted a slightly-hyperbolized story of how you overcame a challenge, and basically told your employer everything they wanted to know before you were hired. Now it’s time to put your money where your mouth is. Work it—remind your boss why you got hired. Get your feet off your desk and do what you were hired to do. Don’t spend an hour in the break room playing Hearthstone. Even if you’re just an intern, be the best damn coffee-runner the world has ever seen. Putting in a lot of effort will show your boss that you’re serious about your job, that you weren’t just making up your qualities, and that they can trust you with bigger, better, higher-paying positions somewhere down the road.
“Work it—remind your boss why you got hired.”
Talk It Up
Conversing with your coworkers (at the right times) shows your boss that you’re friendly, good at working with people, and committed to the team. There are also many perks for you: coworkers familiarize you with the workplace, answer your questions, and help you get settled into the company. Maybe you’ll find someone you can carpool with or some after-work drinking buddies. Plus, chatting up your coworkers is an easy way to network and make connections. Just don’t ask your cubicle neighbor how her blind date went while you’re in a project meeting, okay?
Give Back to the Company
Show initiative by participating in work discussions. Is there a problem that you know how to solve? Speak up! Do you have an idea for an ad campaign or a new business plan? Let everyone know! Nobody knows what to have for lunch? Suggest your favourite sandwich shop down the street! Believe me, I know sharing ideas can be scary, but don’t worry even if your suggestion doesn’t fly. You can all bounce ideas off of each other until a solution is found.
Begin Your Quest(ioning)
Not only is asking questions beneficial to your understanding of the job, it helps you stay on track with your work and shows your employer that you care about what you do. Think of some questions for the first day on the job. I know you’ll think you’re being annoying, but it’s better to ask than to blindly complete tasks and risk doing them incorrectly. Besides, your employer will expect you to have lots of questions during the first couple of weeks—you’re new, after all.
“Nothing says ‘I AM DEPENDABLE’ more than demonstrating your willingness to help a company achieve success.”
Also, if you hope to stay at a company for a long time, ask questions that help you understand the company’s goals and values. Then figure out how you can help them get there. Nothing says “I AM DEPENDABLE” more than demonstrating your willingness to help a company achieve success.
Dress to Impress
First impressions are everything, so wear attire appropriate for the task at hand. Be informed about the dress code—if your work has casual Fridays, understand the level of casual they’re okay with. Showing up to the office in plaid pajama bottoms and an oversized sports shirt probably isn’t the best idea (unless your boss says otherwise). You want to be taken seriously, even on the most casual day of the week.
Let ‘em See Those Pearly Whites
We’ve all heard that it takes fewer muscles to smile than it does to frown. The jury’s still out on whether or not that’s true, but it’s still a very good excuse to show off your signature grin. Smiling makes you seem friendly and approachable, and it conveys that you’re having a good time. Uncross your arms while you’re at it. You know—open up your body language. You will reap the rewards.
Be Armed and Ready
You know that feeling you get when your teacher tells the class that it’s time to hand in an assignment and you realize you forgot to print it? Yeah, it’s the worst. Prevent that same feeling of nervousness at work by being ready for anything your job throws your way. Memorize your presentations, update your work notes constantly, and remain on top of all your tasks. Don’t be caught off guard lest you risk getting thrown off your game in front of the boss.
Don’t be Late (for Important Dates)
“Better late than never,” is true in some cases, but “better on time than late” is a more realistic phrase. Showing up to presentations late or handing in reports after their deadlines makes employers think you’re irresponsible and lack commitment. That’s definitely not what you’re going for (unless your end goal is getting fired). Set however many alarms it will take to wake yourself up, keep up with traffic reports so you know when to leave the house to be on time, make schedules and to-do lists, and whatever helps you get your work done well and on time. If your preferred method is the gummy bear reward system, then you’d better stock up on those jellies—you’ve got stuff to do, friend!
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.