Your soft skills and work habits are almost as important to your success as your knowledge. Communication is vital. Whether you’re working an internship or you’re an established professional, it’s always important to remember the basics.
Following these 6 simple work habits will help increase your productivity, improve your job satisfaction, strengthen your professional relationships and lay the foundations of a successful career.
You already know this one but it’s worth evaluating your own performance. Yes, you’re always on time to meetings and you’ve never forgotten an appointment but have you ever missed a deadline? “It wasn’t so important” you say but Jacqueline from accounting certainly won’t be asking your help again…
Your reliability is perceived by your peers as well as your superiors. Don’t let people down and, if you are going to miss a deadline, be sure to communicate it to the people who matter and propose solutions not shoulder shrugs.
2. Make The Most of Criticism
Criticism is often the hardest part of any job. It turns out, not everyone agrees with you… who knew?! The best part of criticism is what it can do for the quality of deliverables.
Remember to acknowledge criticism and judge its source fairly. Do they have more experience than you? Does the critic have just cause for their views?
Of course, the answer to these questions may be no. In which case, feel free to argue your case until the cows come home. Actually, feel free to argue anyway but always be aware that you might be wrong. Be willing to admit it. Standing your ground when you are passionate about a project is important but knowing where to pick your battles is even more so.
Taking advice on board, adapting to it, shaping it and delivering superior results is what criticism is all about.
3. Dress For the Job You Want
Do you really want to come to work in your shorts and with the t-shirt you picked up at that Rolling Stones concert and want everyone to know you attended? You can if you want but you will feel comfortable, not aspirational.
There’s a reason people sometimes refer to office wear as ‘power clothing’ and why the phrase ‘dress for success’ echo’s around your head when you’re going for a job interview. Dressing smart can make you feel in control and push you to make good career decisions and work more efficiently.
You are what you wear!
If no one does it, it doesn’t get done. “It’s not my job.” is the worst excuse going. If you’re not invested enough in your company’s success to take ownership of a problem because you don’t want to, then there’s a problem. We’re not saying you should start taking on everyone else’s work, we all know that one employee who does nothing…“How do they still have a job?!”, but it’s important that problem projects, clients or challenges aren’t left to fester.
Bring it to your boss’s attention. Remind someone of their responsibility. Do it yourself if, actually, it’s in your remit or skill set. Make sure people know that a dedicated resource needs to be assigned to a task in future. It’s easy to gather up these loose threads and tie them back together with a little dedication.
It’s not a professional failure to occasionally admit your ignorance on a subject. You can’t know everything (can you?). You can try but ultimately it’s better to say, “I don’t know but I’ll find out right now” than bluster your way into a deep hole of “what next”.
This final point is perhaps the most important, especially when it comes to our own experience in print, display and digital media. Nothing turns off a customer more, or loses you clients faster than poor attention to detail.
A spelling mistake on a brochure will lose you client trust. A typo in a phone number will damage your lead generation! Accuracy, especially in public facing documents, is crucial. Don’t rush. Read carefully and take a break if you need it. An hour between writing and proofing can make all the difference. Got colleagues? Pass it round. Fresh eyes can spot even the most inconspicuous mistake.
Mistakes happen. Make sure it’s at the proof stage and not on a 1000 copies of your company brochure. Digital content is easy to change. Print is not.
At Mito we’re proud of our attention to detail.