You’re riding high, having survived the interview process, made it through orientation, and settled into a routine at your new job. It comes as a surprise to some new to the ranks of the professional working world that it takes more than showing up everyday to get recognized and offered opportunities to expand your career. Talent alone won’t help you keep a job or move up the corporate ladder. Use these guidelines to prevent disappointments down the road, either in the form of a pink slip or getting passed over for promotion.
1. Be a professional at all times.
You spend a lot of time at the office, but don’t fall into the trap of spending too much time chit-chatting with your co-workers. The office gossip or resident comedian rarely become the office star. You need to strike a balance between friendly relationships and business relationships. In addition, be cautious about revealing too much personal information; this even extends to your participation in social networking websites. It’s true that what you do on your own time doesn’t necessarily impact your employer, but your employer may judge your overall character and reliability based on information gleaned from your personal life.
2. Stay informed.
You need to keep up with what’s going on in your company and in the industry. Read company newsletters and e-mails. Take a few minutes to read the business section of the local newspaper. Ask your boss if they subscribe to any industry specific publications that you can read. Valuable employees are the ones who keep their fingers on the pulse of the business. A key benefit to staying informed is that you are better prepared than less informed co-workers when changes take place and new tasks are assigned.
3. Work like you’re working for yourself.
Approach your job as if each task was contributing to your own personal bottom line. It’s a big mistake to think that your work really doesn’t matter. If the job didn’t need to be done, why would your employer pay you to do it? Recognize that your performance can either help or hurt the company’s bottom line. If this was your company what kind of job would you do each day? Employees who make positive contributions have the most success.
4. Give the job your full attention.
It may sound cliché, but take pride in your work. Pay attention to the details of each assignment. Something as simple as a misplaced decimal can have ominous consequences: 250.00 is just not the same as 2500.00. Find ways to reduce distractions, whether they come from co-workers or events occurring outside work. It really doesn’t matter whether you work in the copy room or as a junior accountant; giving 100% to the job grabs management’s attention.
5. Keep records of your accomplishments and failures.
Every employee should keep a planner or other type of log of their workday. You can do it on paper or in the computer (just back it up). You want to be sure to record important projects or assignments you worked on. Include the results, good and bad. You can use this record when it comes time for your review with your boss. Don’t expect management to remember what you’ve accomplished over the last year. With this written record you can point out your accomplishments and areas that you would like more training in. It provides a means for you to show how your skills and talents benefit the company.
Employers are willing to invest time and money into training and grooming the most outstanding of their employees—take the five steps outlined above to help create a bright future for your career.