Whether you are starting a new internship or a new job, first impressions are lasting impressions. Your successes will carry you through dry spells and any perceived weakness used as justification during a supervisor's snap judgement. But have no fear! Learn from others' mistakes and be better!
  1. Show up on time
    In the Army, we say if you aren't 15 minutes early, you are late. Except the boss who is always on time, even when late to his or her own meeting. Take that time to relax and chat with your coworkers. If anything, during those 15 minutes, you build your social capital and get paid to sit in a comfy chair.
  2. Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse!
    Whether it's a speech, presentation, or demonstration of a product, you have to rehearse it! Customers and your boss want the very best. Mistakes make it easier to choose between similar products. Be flawless. Your work is a reflection of you.
  3. Own a project in its entirety
    If given a project or a specified task, do not run to the boss at the first obstacle. Handle all of the implied and associated tasks with your project. Ask yourself, can I figure this out on my own or figure it out with a little help from my peers? Bosses love someone that can start and finish a project with little help. BTW, when it succeeds, see below re: sharing. When the project fails, own the results in their entirety. Vow to do better next time. Jobs are marathons, not sprints (usually).
  4. Give credit where and when it's due
    Nobody likes a thief. If you use someone else's idea, be a good teammate and tell the boss when pitching your project. It won't diminish what you are trying to do. Bosses see enough of you and your results, so be magnanimous in your credit-sharing.
  5. Be kind and loyal
    You never know what is going in someone else's life, so listen more than you speak and spare them your judgment. This is especially true for bosses. It is harder than it looks! Try not to trash talk your boss or anyone really, because it may get back to them. As a boss, I loved candid, private feedback.
  6. Fake it until you make it
    Most of us haven't done the job we are hired for before, especially if it is your first job ever. This leads to stress and uncertainty, which are normal responses. But don't show it. Instead, exude confidence and a can-do attitude. Before long, it'll feel natural. If you have questions, ask the nice person at work. People love being asked for their advice.
  7. Dress to impress
    It's not cool to be in your PJs. Figure out what is appropriate attire for your workplace and nail it. A messy appearance can translate to others as poor work/life habits. Unfair, but true.
  8. Know when it's time to move on
    Look before you leap! Give two weeks notice or more. Job searches tend to be confidential, so accept an offer that feels right, and don't feel bad about leaving. But remember, it's a small world, so finish your last job like you still care about. It says a lot about a person when they don't just foist left over work onto other people. Be available after you leave to help out your replacement.