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Job Success

Whether you are starting a summer internship or a full-time job upon graduation, it’s important to think about what you need to do to be successful from day one.  This includes not only the work you produce, but your interactions with others and how you present yourself as an employee.

General Guidelines for success

Office Etiquette

  • Carefully read all orientation materials
  • Set goals/priorities; be prepared; meet all deadlines
  • Ask questions when unsure; take notes
  • Dress appropriately--don't be reluctant to ask what is considered appropriate
  • Always be tactful and diplomatic to hourly workers as well as management. Anyone who has worked for the organization for a while, in any capacity, has a lot to teach you
  • Be on time (early!) for all meetings

Be a "team player"

  • Do not compete with co-workers
  • Do routine jobs without complaining
  • Show initiative: if you run out of work, look for things to do and ask your supervisor how you can be most productive

Learn your supervisor's management style

  • Does he/she prefer oral or written reports? What format and style?
  • Does he/she supervise closely or from afar?
  • Does he/she provide immediate responses to questions and problems or need time to think about them?

With respect to feedback and reviews

  • If you have not received feedback on your performance after the first month, ask for it ("How am I doing? How can I improve?")
  • Accept criticism without being defensive
  • Do not interpret performance reviews as personal criticism. Remember, people want you to succeed

Take advantage of every opportunity to learn

  • If you have time, read any available materials about the company, products, or the industry in general
  • Ask questions and observe people's behavior
  • Network whenever possible; attend social functions through work
  • Identify career tracks and their prerequisites
  • Ask for letters of recommendation at the end of your assignment

Additional information regarding success on the job can be found in our Internship/Co-op Specific blog posts.

We also have tips from employers and students

Working Remotely

Many companies have moved positions to a remote setting.  So how do you stay productive and set yourself up for success in this new framework?  Here are some strategies to help:

Stick to a schedule

  • Create a daily work routine which includes activities like waking up at roughly the same time every day, getting dressed, maintaining clearly defined working hours, taking a lunch hour, and incorporating other small breaks

Set up a dedicated office space

  • Find a place you feel comfortable and do what you can to reduce distractions

Make sure you have the right equipment

  • Obtain the tools you need to do the job such as high-speed internet, a wi-fi extender, a scanner, a printer, and a webcam
  • If you don't have the necessary equipment, ask your employer to provide what you need

Maintain healthy physical and mental habits

  • Stay hydrated, take a walk on your breaks, get up to stretch, reach for healthy snacks/meals, move your work outside on a nice day, practice self-care

Communicate, communicate, communicate!

  • Be available via email, phone, text, or instant message
  • Set up Skype or Zoom conferences to have face time with your supervisor and colleagues 
  • Set up methods for communication and collaboration that works for your team while you work remotely 
  • When in doubt, over-communicate until told otherwise

Your remote work plan is likely to change as you go. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the same people you would usually turn to for help at the office. Supplemental resources may help as you navigate your new situation.