As many recently graduated college students enter the work force, each has an opportunity to be successful. What most fail to realize, they can be successful simply by controlling things that are well within their sphere of control. Of course there will be many things in their new job they do not know and mistakes will be made, but mistakes alone will not determine whether one is unsuccessful. What will make the difference is how the employee presents at work and how he/she handles the mistakes that will be inevitably made.

Consider the following "truisms" all good employees live by:

1. On time is late; always get to work, meetings, appointments at least a few minutes early. Getting that first cup of coffee, hanging up your coat, and things of this nature should be done on your time, not the company’s.

2. Attention to details is critical; people judge you by whether the "I" is dotted and the "t" is crossed; if you cannot handle that small details what else can you not handle?

3. Always go the extra mile; 100% effort may not be good enough; don’t give up on a task.

4. Do your homework, be prepared; anticipate what questions you will be asked by your boss and know the answers before you are asked. "I do not know" is NEVER a complete answer; it should always be followed by something like "let me check into it and I will get back to you."

5. Remember the last item in your job description likely includes words like "other duties as assigned by supervisor" so there is nothing that is not your job; if you see something that needs to be done, do it.

6. Always be willing, indeed eager, to learn. Knowledge is power; the more things you know how to do, the more valuable you are to the business and the more appealing you will be to a prospective employer.

7. Be enthusiastic about the job and the role you play in helping the business achieve objectives.

8. Give a *&#%. Care about what you are doing. Your employer will notice.

9. Body language talks loudly and clearly. Make sure your body language says you are happy to be working at this job, are approachable, and are eager and willing to learn.

10. Bring high energy to work everyday. Don’t look like you were out late last night (even if you were).

--- Dr. Noles, a licensed clinical and sports psychologist, has been working with business professionals for over 20 years.  He has worked with individuals as well as business teams and has conducted hiring assessments.  

Other Articles by Dr. Noles

Tips 1-8 for Student Athletes Entering College  

Tips 9-16 for Student Athletes Entering College

Perspective Is Everything


Steven W. Noles, Psy.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist & Certified Sports Psychologist