With graduation right around the corner everyone will be throwing out advice on how to get that first job and how to succeed at your first job but I can save you a lot of time with a very simple rule:
Get it done
If you spend enough time in the workplace you will discover that some people truly know how to get it done. “It” can be anything – getting a form approved, responding to your information request, setting up a meeting, responding to your email, whatever.
On the other hand there are people who you send something to and it disappears into a black hole. If it doesn’t completely disappear it certainly feels like it did. By the time you receive a response you’ve already maneuvered your way around that person or forgotten why you emailed them first to begin with.
Taking care of business is an important skill at any stage of your career but is particularly helpful at the beginning of your career. You may be starting out at what you think is a boring job like administrative assistant but developing a reputation as someone who gets things done quickly and accurately is invaluable.
So how do you develop this key skill set?
- Prioritization – let’s say you have 10 emails in your inbox and all contain tasks that you must do today. How do you prioritize that? Look at who sent the emails to you, are they higher ups in the org? Your boss? Your boss’s boss? Next, what is the easiest task? What will take you only a few minutes? Get those out of the way first. Then re-prioritize again.
- Network, Network, Network – Many people think when they have landed the job they do not need to network. This is simply not true. The key is to network within your organization. Find out who has the in with HR, who the best IT people are and then build relationships. When your boss is trying to get a new computer or needs his blackberry replaced NOW, these are the people you want to call on…just don’t forget to reciprocate if they need something from you.
- Communication – This is another critical skill set to develop. When you are emailed a request or task, keep in touch with the requestor. If it is taking you some time to complete or finish the request communicate this. Otherwise people see your lack of communication and start to conjure up reasons on their own for the delay.
The above are just a couple tips, there are many more I could provide, but the key is to get stuff done. The quicker and more accurate you are, the better. When your name comes up you want people to think “I can send anything to her and she gets it done.” NOT “Sending stuff to her is pointless, I never hear back.”