Jeremy, who has been working for three months at Company X, feels devastated. He has been trying to do his best, but his boss told him that he was too cocky, his attitude was irritating others, and he needs to become more of a team player.
To earn the credibility and respect needed to launch and advance in your career, you must develop appropriate goals, skills and attitudes. Here are tips to succeed:
1. Know yourself, job description and organization. Clarify your purpose, values, needs and short-and long-term career goals. Ensure that your purpose and goals are in harmony with the company’s mission and goals.
Know what’s expected of you, and the pace your boss would like you to maintain. Follow instructions, rules and regulations. Ask questions until you know where you stand. Listen to ideas offered by others before suggesting a problem solution. Contribute, but don’t criticize.
2. Work smart, hard, fast, productively. Know what needs to be done, and do it on time. Concentrate on quality. Do small things quickly and well. Show attention to detail. Be disciplined, focused, willing to accept unglamorous tasks. Continually look for ways to function more effectively.
Ask for constructive performance feedback. This enables you to correct minor issues so major problems won’t develop. Don’t take criticism personally.
3. Find a mentor. Learn the ropes from others who have already climbed them. Let your supervisor know you’re interested in doing more to benefit the organization; ask for an experienced mentor.
4. Communicate openly and directly. Written, verbal and electronic skills are essential in work environments. Write simply, clearly, logically. Be precise, brief, focused. Avoid offensive or confrontational language. Never criticize or send inflammatory or rude messages. Proof read messages before sending.
Send email judiciously. Only mail relevant messages to key people. Check email often. Act on requests. Ask questions when unsure. To minimize misunderstandings, summarize what you hear.
Listen to colleagues. Share plans, changes, anything that affects others. Correct false rumors immediately. Talk in person when possible. Memos, emails and comments that pass through numerous people are often misinterpreted.
Tune unto company happenings. Observe formal and informal liaisons and casual conversations. Use the grapevine to forecast career opportunities.
5. Manage time. Time is money. Keep a daily record of time you devote to tasks. Review this over several weeks to identify self-defeating habits and work patterns. Prioritize work goals. Identify time needed for essential tasks, and modify your schedule accordingly. Set boundaries. Schedule relaxation periods.
6. Project a positive, professional image. Avoid extremes in dress and hairstyle. Dress according to the company’s norm. If you’re attending a meeting in a new company, research the norm for the area, industry and company. Coordinate pieces. Clothes should be spotless, pressed, well-tailored. Shoes should be well-maintained, and hair cur regularly.
Demonstrate integrity. Take responsibility for your actions. Contribute to problem resolutions. Approach issues from the employer’s perspective. Avoid extended breaks or personal emails. Stay overtime to complete projects.
7. Be visible. Attend meetings. Participate in committees. Volunteer for special projects. Find small things that need to be done. Be willing and able to assume a leadership role, when the need arises.
Excel. An superior product or service is recognized. Be indispensable. Promote yourself, but don’t oversell. Discuss your projects with enthusiasm.
8. Demonstrate and document value-added. Find ways to reduce costs or generate revenue for the employer. But proceed cautiously with suggestions. Give your supervisor periodic updates of your accomplishments. Document your work.
9. Be a team player. Help the company meet goals, deadlines and bottom lines. Respect and cooperate with peers, subordinates and superiors. Give and receive support. Show you’re committed to your team’s success.
Acknowledge co-workers’ interest, concerns, and contributions. Volunteer to help colleagues who need assistance. Don’t go over supervisor’s heads. Avoid discussing disagreements with colleagues.
10. Continuously refine professional and technical skills. Be optimistic, open to change. Accept added responsibilities. Focus on opportunities.
11. Keep your personal life in order. Address personal issues, such as relationships or loss of loved one out of the workplace.
12. Take charge of your career. Strengthen Quester qualities such as resilience and creativity. Monitor your career development and remain open to new opportunities within and outside your organization. Periodically ask yourself if you’re growing or just hanging on. If you had to move, could you? And where to?