Landing your first job may seem challenging. But that process pales in comparison to what it takes to succeed in the role.
“There is a horrible lack of training for young adults about how to behave when they arrive at work,” says entrepreneur Jason Calacanis in a recent LinkedIn post. “Now, no one is expecting folks to be perfect, wear a three-piece suit, or run and get the boss coffee. However, there are some very basic things that young people should do, in my estimation.”
Follow these seven tips to succeed in your first post-college gig:
1. Show up an hour before your boss does, and never leave the office until they do.
This may seem a little extreme, Calacanis points out, but it shows you’re dedicated and serious about your future with the company.
If your boss notices and says it’s not necessary for you to work those hours, ask them when they’d like you to arrive.
2. Do not bring a laptop to meetings unless you have been asked to do so, or you need it for a specific purpose.
You may be accustomed to bringing your laptop wherever you go — but unless you’re leading the presentation or you’ve been asked to take notes in a shared document, leave it at your desk.
“People assume that when a laptop is out people are doing email — even if that is not true,” says Calacanis. “Bring a pad and pen; it’s more professional.”
Also, and this should go without saying, when in meetings do not check your phone under any circumstances — especially not under the table, he says. “Pay attention, take notes, and deeply consider everyone’s opinion. There is nothing on your phone that is important enough to risk insulting your boss, clients, or coworkers.”
3. It’s best to not drink at corporate events, unless perhaps you’re sharing a bottle of wine or a beer celebrating a big win.
“Never, ever — NEVER EVER — get drunk at a corporate event,” Calacanis warns. “People think less of people who get inebriated in a work setting, and if your boss is one of those rare few who likes to party with their staff, well, it’s a red flag. A big red flag. Bosses should not be getting drunk with their team.”
4. Never lie or steal.
This may seem obvious, but young people lie on their time sheets or expense reports all the time, or take a vacation day here or there and don’t report it, Calacanis says. “If you do this type of thing, people will think you are doing things 10 times worse — and in some cases they might be right.”
Don’t give your boss or coworkers any reason to not trust you.
5. Don’t make excuses.
Rookies are often inclined to be defensive when their work or judgment is questioned. “If you get asked, ‘Why didn’t you get your TPS reports done?’ a perfectly fine answer is, ‘I’m sorry, I forgot. It won’t happen again,'” says Calacanis. Your boss will appreciate your honesty.
6. Never hide bad information from your superiors.
“There is a long-standing belief that the messenger gets shot, and not only is that wrong, it’s the opposite: the messenger gets promoted,” he says. “If you are smart enough to find the problems and brave enough to bring them to your boss, then you’re probably smart enough to fix them.”
Pointing out problems tells your boss that you’re paying attention, and that you care about the success of your team and organisation.
7. When asked to do something you don’t know how to do, be resourceful.
Nobody expects you to have all the answers or know how to complete every task. But they do assume you’re smart enough to figure it out.
If you don’t know how to do something, look it up on the internet, ask a coworker, or, if you must, say to your boss, “I’m sorry, I haven’t had the chance to create a proposal for our clients — can you point me in the right direction?” Calacanis suggests.
Doing anything to figure out the answer is always better than doing nothing.
Click here to read the full LinkedIn post.
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