If you have recently landed a new summer job, you may be a little anxious about doing well on your first day or in your first week. Knowing that you'll have to prove yourself or justify all the skills you discussed during your interview can feel daunting, even though you have nothing to worry about (if your interview answers were honest).
Here are six ways to impress your employer right from the start of your job.
1. Ask questions.
An employer who discourages questions is a poor quality employer. If you are unsure about a procedure, it is better to ask a question to double check than to make an assumption and risk making a mistake (although mistakes are fantastic avenues through which to learn).
You may think that there is such a thing as asking too many questions, but more often than, an employer who sees their employee asking a lot of questions will gain the impression that they care about doing a high-quality job. More questions leads to higher accuracy which leads to stronger and more helpful job performance.
2. Work carefully.
Even when performing simple tasks, act like the task requires two times more focus than you would normally allocate to the task. Your attention to detail and care will look great to your employer, and this work ethic will prove to them that you respect all elements of your position enough to do a thorough job.
Rushing through a task to seem more efficient will work against you, ultimately, since you're more prone to making smaller mistakes when you rush.
3. Never complain about basic tasks.
If you can't do basic tasks, how can your employer trust you to perform larger ones? Sometimes when you're first starting out in a new position, you'll be assigned tasks that seem less important or unrelated to the main job function you are interested in. The way you act about your assigned tasks says a lot about your attitude, and your employer really will notice any negative energy you express in regards to your work.
Communicating that you're unhappy with your job duty at any given time will not benefit you work-wise or relationship-wise with your supervisor -- of course, if you're unhappy with your work because it's endangering you or a coworker is making you uncomfortable, please let your employer know about it if you are comfortable doing so.
There is a difference between complaining about an undesirable work duty versus disliking it because it violates your safety or places you in a dangerous position.
4. Respect the code of conduct and/or policies of your workplace.
If there is a specific dress code in your workplace, adhere to it as closely as you can. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the expectations that will exist for you in your position (this is something you can do even before your first day of work, provided your workplace's policies are available online or in print beforehand).
Getting to know the type of environment in which you'll be working will help you acclimate to the job more quickly and contribute to a smoother transition.
5. Be on time for your shifts.
This is a very simple matter that does make a difference in an employer's perception of you as a worker. If there are variables that exist to make it more difficult for you to get to work on time (such as relying on public bus systems, as many college students do), take extra steps to prevent these factors from making you late.
If there's a bus time that says it can get you to work at 1:57 and your shift begins at 2:00, use the bus that is one route before that, even if it gets you to the area at 1:28. Buses are notoriously off-schedule and you'd rather be early than late (you can sit at a coffee shop next door to your workplace to pass the time, or read a book nearby at a park if you need something to do).
The most critical element to succeeding in any job is communicating with your coworkers and supervisor, whether things at work are going well or not. When something arises on the job that you don't know how to handle, you should be able to tell someone in a timely manner who can help you resolve the situation.
Communication is essential in all contexts. If you need to reschedule one of your work shifts, make sure you clear it with your supervisor before trying to find a co-worker to switch time slots with you or confirming secondary plans that will get in the way of your work schedule.
The first few days of work will be the most important days in terms of creating your first impression upon a new supervisor. Do not stress out about doing a "perfect" job; in a new space, you are bound to make a couple mistakes when getting used to your role. Be attentive, open, and willing to absorb new information, and you'll make a great impression on your new supervisor.