When you’re first starting out on your fresh graduate job, you might think that being friendly and having a positive attitude are all that you need. I’m here to tell you that while you’re on the right track, a positive outlook is just a baby step in making the right impression. There are other bad habits that if left unaddressed, can make you look sloppy or inattentive (translation: unprofessional). Never fear, because FirstJob has you covered with a few tried and true habits to generate better results on-the-job for those with long-term career goals.
Display a Strong Work Ethic and Character
Even if you’re starting out a little bit behind everyone else, just showing up and making an effort proves to your employer you care about your job. Strive to implement each of these habits daily, and over time you will gain a sterling reputation that can aid you when promotion opportunities come up.
Be Neat in Word and Action - This one’s easy, and applies to your written as well as to your verbal communications. Misspelling, bad grammar, or long-winded diatribes can easily make you look unprofessional.
Be Persistent - If you can’t get the solution one way, try a different method. If you don’t get the answer you want, find another way to ask the same question. Business owners who do the hiring value persistence as a quality that shows you won’t give up when the going gets tough.
Be Diligent - Your job may be officially 9 AM to 5 PM, but that doesn’t mean you can’t show up early or work late, when the need arises. Put in the extra effort needed to meet your goals and you will appear committed to your job and reliable enough to trust with bigger projects …and maybe even a bigger salary.
Know When to Listen - Depending on your level of experience, your manager probably won’t expect you to grab the reins on the project and blow everyone out of the water your first few weeks at the job. Know when to listen in order bring yourself up to speed on your new position and your company’s state of affairs. Even if you don’t have much to say in the beginning, insist on attending all meetings and even buy your coworkers a cup of coffee or a bite at lunch to get their insight if you are missing knowledge or expertise on company policy or certain project details.
Know When to Assert Yourself – Another easy one. If you’ve got a great idea, share it with your team. As long as you come prepared, your coworkers will definitely have valuable feedback and insight for you. This also shows your boss that you are motivated, assertive and creative.
Many technical and supervisory skills can be taught, but work ethics and manners are something you must exemplify from the start to be considered for future promotions. In the end, it boils down to practice and self-discipline. That way, if and when you seek out another job, whether with your present employer or on FirstJob.com, you’ll have solid references willing to vouch for you.
Amy Liu is a Marketing Coordinator at FirstJob and graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from UC Berkeley. In her free time, she loves exploring San Francisco and trying out tasty new restaurants.