This post was written by Emily Brown, a regular contributor to The Works and a graduate student in the College Student Development and Counseling program at Northeastern University. She is also a Career Development Intern.
Starting a new job or co-op can be nerve-wracking. It takes time to get a feel for the company culture and to figure out daily operations. As much as you want to find your place in a new company, you also want to make a good impression with new coworkers. I adapted some advice from LinkedIn’s “Best Advice” series and reached out to professionals for their tips on what will make someone a desired employee. While some might seem obvious, they are a good reminder that everything we do at work contributes to the reputation we build.
- Everything you do and say reflects on the company.
- Being positive, upbeat and responsive at all times reflects well on both the employee and the employer.
- In a competitive work environment, going the extra mile, making the extra effort means all the difference in winning new work or retaining old clients.
- Don’t rely so much on e-mail for communication especially if it is sensitive material.
- Don’t text or e-mail in meetings – put your phone on silent mode and put it away.
- Be prompt – show up on time (to work and to meetings).
- Always make deadlines.
- Don’t underestimate how important good writing skills are – it is a lost art!
- Always proofread what you produce and/or ask a colleague with good grammar skills to look at it (especially if it is going to be widely circulated).
- Don’t be afraid to say I don’t know – but also say you will find the answer.
- Always follow through- even if it's just to say you don't have the answer yet.
- Use proper grammar and speak correctly and clearly on the phone.
- When adjourning from meetings, make sure you have a clear idea about what action items you are responsible for and what the deadlines associated with those items are.
- Whatever you do, do it the best you can, even if it’s getting coffee.
- Always bring a notepad when you meet with someone.
- Make sure you communicate effectively about projects that are your responsibility. Be honest about what you have time to do.
- Don’t leave the printer/copier jammed!
- You can never redo a first impression. First impressions include any time you work with someone for the first time even if you’ve been at that company for a while.
- Listen twice as much as you speak.
After just a few weeks on the job, you’ll likely have your own tips to add to this list! When you become the pro, remember how it felt to be new and keep in mind that sharing little tips (especially on how to unjam that finicky copy machine) with new hires will be appreciated.
Emily Brown is a Career Development intern and a graduate student in Northeastern’s College Student Development and Counseling Program. She is a lifelong Bostonian interested in the integration of social media into the professional realm. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.