Workplace Presence

With the economy in turmoil and many people scrambling to find adequate work, it is important to make a good impression at work. If you are lucky enough to have a good job, you must maintain this persona.

If you are new on the job figure out the work etiquette. Is it ok to use your cell phone? If so, when and where can you use it? Know the dress code and when it is acceptable to deviate from it. Abiding by these said, and often unsaid, rules will help you find your niche within the job.

Personality is goes a long way and if you are easy to get along with, then it is just that much harder to fire you. Make sure your boss likes you. You don’t have to change your personality, but if you know that your boss really doesn’t like some personality trait you possess adjust that one thing just for the workplace. Start off slow and gradually incorporate your personality as you get to know your boss and co-workers. You don’t want your boss to make up a legitimate legal reason to fire you simply because your personalities clash.

Once you know you are on your boss’ good side, make sure you are actually listening to him/her. When he/she gives you directions, suggestions etc., acknowledge this. Do so by being enthusiastic about your job. While coming on too strong, or flaunting all your knowledge right from the beginning might not be a good idea, you should show that you understand the work you do and provide ideas and suggestions when appropriate.

Instead of simply agreeing with everything told to you, let your boss know if you have a better plan or idea that you feel would be an improvement. This is the perfect way to showcase your knowledge about your work. While you might not want to admit it, initially you are there to make your boss look good. Know how your boss operates and fill in where he/she doesn’t quite cover it.

Don’t be a suck up, but do be involved. When you first start a job, ask many questions. Provide extra information when asked until you are sure of the level of communication that your boss desires. Make sure you promptly follow up all correspondence and be detail-oriented in doing so.

You want to stand out at work, but in a good way. Developing a reputation for being a good, productive and diligent worker is much better than being recalled as a whiny and demanding employee. Consider helping co-workers out or taking on additional tasks. Be nice and develop good, constructive relationships with colleagues. This way you become the go-to person and then your name is associated with positive attributes.

First impressions are everything. If you get off on the right foot, then you can very well be off to a great career.


Making that Great Impression – Part Two

Now that I have covered the basics on making your first impression at your new job, it is time to dive into more ways in which you can dazzle your coworkers. So what do employers eat up? Taking initiative! Being a self-starter shows that you want to work for the company and produce the best results. Don’t sit around waiting for a new task to be assigned to you. Be proactive and volunteer to do assignments even if you need a little guidance. People will appreciate your efforts and learn to trust you more with bigger assignments.

Another great tip which you should always abide by is avoiding office gossip. This is a big don’t! Any office you work in is going to be full of gossip and office politics. Your job is to avoid getting involved at all costs. Even if you don’t start a rumor it doesn’t matter; don’t repeat anything you hear. Whether the gossip is true or false it can jeopardize your job and make you look like either a liar or a gossip queen. Trash talking your coworkers is a sure way to land you in trouble or get yourself fired. So steer clear of office politics!

One of the best tips that I have taken to heart is participating in after-hours activities. Whether it involves company parties, happy hours, going out to dinner with coworkers or a company sports league, these activities can show that you care about the people you work with and that you want to get to know them outside of the office. Having this extra time to learn about their family, their hobbies and their goals in life helps you to bond with them. Not only can you find out that you have more in common with some coworkers than you thought, but making an appearance at parties shows that you have dedication to the company. Making that extra effort outside of work will be an excellent reflection on you as an employee. Believe me, your boss will remember the faces he or she sees at an after-hours gathering.

Finally, one of the most basic tips is probably the most important one – work full days and maintain a good attendance. Because you are new at a company you need to show your hard work and dedication by working longer hours than you normally would. Try to keep your sick days to a minimum and leave your personal time for the weekend. Be flexible with the needs of the company for the first few weeks you are there. After you have made an impression and feel comfortable then you can take longer lunch breaks and come in late after a doctor’s appointment.

Making a great impression takes some hard work on your part, but if you follow these steps it will all pay off in the end.

References? What if I don’t have any!

So you’ve applied to your first ever, real-world job. Congratulations. But, this being your first ever, real-world job, you don’t have any references to give them when they inevitably call you back for an interview. In college, you were too busy studying your butt off to have a part time job, and you certainly didn’t have time to volunteer because of all the clubs and organizations you were leading in order to get the experience that got you that interview in the first place. What? You don’t have any of those either? Well, I’d say it’s about time to get some.

Bottom line, you don’t have anything you really need for this interview. In fact, you don’t even think you’re really qualified except for the degree that says you are and the knowledge that you know you can do it. Well, that confidence is at least one thing you have going for you. Now here is a list of some things you can do to get a positive response.

  1. Think back over anyone in your life that you were trying to impress. Any of these people are in the position to comment on your qualifications, abilities, and/or personal attributes. For example, did you ever baby-sit/house-sit/pet watch? These people obviously trusted you enough with their children/belongings and are probably willing to give a great reference.
  2. Are there any teachers with whom you really connected? Did you even talk with any of them? Even if you didn’t, try writing to one that you thought knew what they were talking about. Let them know why you trusted what they had to say, specifically, and start a correspondence. At the very least, they can serve as a future networking tool.
  3.  Ask a friend that you worked with frequently either in a class or an organization that you were a part of together. They will know your initiative, abilities, productivity and how you handled yourself. Remember, however, that this should not be someone you know strictly in a social manner.  They must have examples to site and be able to answer whatever questions are asked about you from an employers point of view.
  4. Last but not least, you can always use personal references. Limit these if possible because they are not as qualified to answer the probable questions the employer may ask. Chances are, they don’t know how you handle stress at work or what skill set you have to offer an employer.
  •  Remember, always ask the reference first and send a written Thank-you afterward.  

 If, for some insane, crazy reason they do not hire you, then you’ll have lots of time on your hands. Volunteer! Join a club! Give back to the community— it’s good for everyone and will not only enhance your résumé, but give you plenty of possible references for the future.