Equally as important as learning how to get a job, is learning how to keep one. Working is much like dating: Keep the relationship exciting or your employer might get a wandering eye for greener pastures. You need to stay at the top of your game to prove to your employer that she was right to pick you in the first place. You can stand out at work by being a stand-up person. Be honest, act with integrity and treat everyone with kindness and respect.
Get to work early. Remember that punctuality counts, even if the rest of your co-workers routinely take advantage of your boss’s 10-minute grace period. If your shift starts at 9 a.m., be at work by 8:45. As Vince Lombardi said, “If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late. And if you’re late, don’t bother showing up.” Stand out by showing your boss that being on time is important and that you take your job seriously.
Dress the part. Take pride in your appearance and add your own personal flair. Dress in a way that says, “I’m gorgeous and I mean business.” However, if you have a job that requires you stand on your feet all day, you may want to ditch the six-inch heels in favor of some flattering flats.
Smile and speak to everyone. Create the buzz that you’re an open, friendly person. You want your co-workers and supervisors to feel comfortable speaking to you. Keep the conversations mostly professional, as you don’t want to become known as the office gossip or the girl who blabs about all her problems.
Consistently communicate in a way that's positive and encouraging. If co-workers try to draw you into discussing others in a negative light, politely refrain. Keep an optimistic outlook so colleagues look to you to make their day better and brighter.
Be a team player. If you run out of work to do, don’t sit idly at your desk. Ask your boss and co-workers how you can help them lighten their loads. Make this your mantra: “It doesn’t matter who does the work -- what matters is that the work gets done.” Show your employer that you are “we” minded, rather than “me” minded.
Don’t pass the buck. Often employees look for someone to blame when events take a turn for the worse. Stand out by owning up to your mistakes. Instead of shrinking from constructive criticism, use corrective experiences to make yourself better. Show your employers that you’re willing to learn and eager to improve.
Continue to improve. Refuse to be satisfied with your current level of education or training. Remain current with all the advances in your field. Always be abreast of the latest developments. Show your employer that you're an important asset, determined to increase your value over time.
Be yourself. Get in touch with the qualities that make you unique and be proud of your individuality.
Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.