by Torski Dobson-Arnold
Dear Career Confidence Coach,
I have been reading your columns and was lucky enough to secure summer employment for the summer. I really needed to get this job because I want to save for college, which I’ll begin next year. I know it’s important to have some type of work experience for your college applications. Now that I’ve got the job, I thought the hard part would be over, but now I am nervous that I might do or say something to mess things up. What advice do you have on keeping a job and maintaining positive working situation? If I do well, I’d like to be able to work this job during my summers home from college too.
Wanting to Make a Good Impression
First, congratulations on your new job. Don’t sell yourself short! Acquiring employment in this tough labor market right now is a major accomplishment for anyone. You did it and that took some serious commitment to accomplishing that goal. You rock!
The best way to make a good first impression with your new employer goes back to the rules we learned at home. Here are my top five Career Confidence Tips to creating a positive first impression on your first job.
1. Smile and maintain a positive attitude. Show enthusiasm in your assignments and tasks. We all have a job to do and people enjoy working around people who take pride and joy in their contribution in the workplace. Smiling encourages others to smile and can brighten not only your day, but the day of those working with you.
2. Listen first, and then ask questions. As the new employee, listen more than you talk. This will help you identify those who are positive at work and what motivates them. Do not interrupt others when they are talking and respect those around you. After someone has spoken, then ask questions…and lots of them. There is no such thing as a dumb question, particularly if you are new. This leads me to my next point…
3. Take notes. Just like those in school, employees that write down things that need to be recalled like passwords or telephone extensions, get the gold star. Or in the case of a new employer, you’d get the positive nod from supervisors and managers that will be evaluating you closely.
4. Always dress appropriately. Never underestimate the impression you make in your attire at work. If there is a work uniform, make sure it is always clean and neatly pressed. Don’t go overboard on jewelry and when in doubt, don’t wear it. Better to be safe than sorry. Inquire on the policy and adhere to it – no exceptions!
5. Never gossip! And identify mentors early. Regardless of where you work, I believe there will always be gossip. Stay clear of this group and the rumor mill that tags along with them. Instead, identify one or two key people that can aid your experience to being a very positive one. Mentors can be mutually beneficial to new employees in identifying new promotional opportunities and giving advice on challenging situations. How do you find a mentor? Just ask the person. Most will see the inquiry as a flattering one and be more than willing to put you “under their wing.”
Great job again on your summer employment opportunity! You’ve done the hard work and now you’ve got the tools that you need to go as far up the ladder as you choose! See you at the top!
Torski Dobson-Arnold, The Career Confidence Coach