If you’re beginning your first “real person” job straight out of college or university it’s important to note there are certain standards of behaviour that must be upheld to ensure you are taken seriously in the workplace. These are things you may not have learned while in college or university but will help you succeed in whatever role you are in.
Don’t look at your phone during meetings
It doesn’t matter if your boss has theirs on full volume while in a meeting. They’ve worked their way up to secure that privilege. Don’t think that by putting your phone face down on the desk is an act of courteousness. Leave it in your bag, or at your desk to be safe.
Understand dining etiquette
This is a practice commonly overlooked. As you make your way up the ladder in your field you are likely going to attend business lunches or dinners with important people within or outside of the company. How you behave in a dining situation actually reveals a lot about what you will be like as an employee. Something as subtle as salting your food before taking a bite, can translate into untrustworthiness to your employer or prospective client. Take a few minutes to research some basic dining etiquette and you’ll be good to go.
Keep your private life to yourself
There’s a reason it’s called “private life.” What you do on your personal time is no one else’s business but yours, especially in the workplace. Even if you are close with a manager or colleague, it’s essential to always position yourself in the most positive light possible. There’s no need to disclose personal details about your love life or lack thereof, or that you drink your face off every weekend. Keep it professional.
Learn how to email properly
To keep this simple follow these three basic rules: Always include a subject line, begin your email by saying Hi/Hello _____ (name of recipient) and try to avoid using emoticons or emojis. Be sure to thank the recipient at the end of the email and sign off with your name, even if they know the message is from you.
Don’t be late
Nothing is more annoying than when a person is constantly late. It’s natural to be behind every now and again, but if it becomes a habit, people will take note. If you’re someone who is always late, try setting your clock ahead 10 or 15 minutes to help you stay on track. You’ll trick yourself into being punctual. Time management is one of the most highly coveted skills in the work world with deadlines and day-to-day projects. Show your employer you are on top of your game and that you are reliable.
Greet your coworkers
Don’t be the person who shuffles into the office head down and eyes averted. Make your presence known and greet your co-workers appropriately. Even if you aren’t in the mood to take part in a discussion of last night’s episode of This Is Us, saying “good morning,” can go a long way. This is a good habit to get in while you are new. Even if you have tight deadlines and need to get going on work the minute you sit at your computer, acknowledging others shows you are a team player and can navigate social situations.
Landing your first job is exciting and scary at the same time. Mastering the art of the workplace takes time and experience. At the end of the day, all you can do is try your best and learn from your mistakes. Be contentious of how others behave in the workplace and take note. Before you know it, these things will become second nature.
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