January 20th, 2009
Getting Hired and Keeping the Job

Once you’ve made the big transition through job searching and landed the job, the next goal is job success. There are specific skills you need to know and use to be successful at your job. It’s important to practice these skills prior to starting the job. This isn’t a complete list but will point you in the directions.

First impressions show from day one. You only get one first impression.
From day one, it’s a good idea to check with your manager about what’s most important. Employers say many people lose their job because they don’t use good work habits and not because they are unable to do the job.
The following list of suggestions is based on feedback from a majority of surveyed employers.

Employer Expectations
• A positive attitude is one of the most important factors in achieving job success. Don’t carry negative feelings into your new workplace. Resolve them elsewhere.
• How long will it take to get to work? Allow a few extra minutes for traffic problems and let your manager know beforehand if you are responsible for your children’s school run in the mornings. Set an alarm clock to help you get up. Being reliable and dependable gains the trust and respect of your new employer.
• Good attendance is always important. If you’re going to be unavoidably late or out sick, ask your manager the proper method of informing them.
• Know and follow all office rules, policies and procedures. Read the employee manuals. Ask your manager if there is one in place for newly recruited staff.
• Listen and learn. Be open to new ways of doing things, even if you were taught differently in school or on a different job. Don’t be quick to find fault, criticise or complain until you can prove you can do something a better way.
• Meet and exceed your employer’s expectations.
• Learn all you can about the job you were hired to do before thinking about moving on or up.

Communication
• When you need to talk with your manager, ask when would be a good time to meet.
• Take advantage of your performance reviews.
• Stay calm.
• Learn from them. Ask how you can improve.
• Show results or job-related classes you’ve taken. Most managers appreciate employees who are concerned about performance and in finding ways to improve. Your job success is also their success.
• Be a team player. Be willing to help.
• Know the goals of your job and how your job fits into the overall organization. Avoid a “know-it-all attitude.” Try to fit in with the team. Keep your sense of humour.
• Ask for help when you need it. If you make a mistake, let your manager know immediately. Find out how you can fix it.
• Follow the proper chain of command. Discuss items with your manager first.

Personal
• Prior to starting the job, have your transportation and day-care needs fixed up so you don’t immediately have to take time off. Have an emergency plan for day-care and transportation.
• Be willing to learn new skills. Review things with your manager at an appropriate time.
• Take time in making new friends. Find positive and upbeat co-workers. Avoid negative, highly critical and over gossiping people.
• Be clean and well groomed. Wear clean and job-appropriate clothes. Pay attention to how your co-workers are dressed.
• Keep your personal life and problems at home.
• Do not use the employer’s equipment and time to do personal things like making personal phone calls, using the copy machine or resolving your personal problems on the job. If you’re having trouble resolving personal problems, counselling, support groups or employee assistance programs may be useful.
• Create a responsible image and dress for the job you want next.
• Be patient with yourself and your employer. It takes time to get used to, learn and like a new job.
• Volunteer for projects and committees if your work is completed and your manager approves.

Getting Along With Others
• Don’t express your opinions, biases or prejudices about others while you’re at work. Diversity is a priority in the workplace.
• Accept criticism as constructive. Don’t become defensive or take criticism personally. Thank the person for their input. Consider changing if it’s warranted.
• If you’re unsure how to handle the situation, check with your supervisor.
• Always be friendly to everyone. Be willing to go the extra mile. This creates goodwill with employers, co-workers and customers.
• Notice who your boss relies on and model yourself after them.
• Find a mentor, someone who knows the employer and the job well enough to coach you or show you the ropes.
• Realise playing politics or power games could be dangerous and backfire on you.
• Treat everyone with courtesy and respect.
• Remember that as you climb the career ladder, you may meet the same people on your way down the ladder.
• Keep your emotions under control. The job isn’t the place to express or show your opinions or feelings.
• Show appreciation. Let your manager know you appreciate their training, support, input, feedback, etc.
• Strive to be positively recognised.
• Be friendly and helpful to everyone at all levels.

Do you have further tips? Please feel free to share them with us.

Founder, Catherine's Career Corner. The career site empowering and inspiring ambitious candidates of all ages and professions to thrive and work smarter on their careers. Gladly helping you to explore your career at any stage.

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