So you got a job. Sweet! Applying was the hard part - now you just collect a paycheck. Right?
Sorry. At most entry-level jobs, you're going to be on a probation period for the first two to three months. During this period, you have to demonstrate that you're a good employee who has the skills and ability to do the job well. Most employees will find that their manager is watching them like a hawk during this period. If you slip up a few times, you could get fired.
But we don't want to freak you out! Here's our advice for any teenager just starting an entry-level job: try extra hard to impress your boss in the first months. You don't need to bring muffins to work every day, but doing just a little more than you're required to will quickly show your boss - and your coworkers - that you're an MVP. You might even get promoted!
Here are 10 simple things that teens working entry-level jobs can do to impress the boss.
- Arrive a few minutes early. Arriving early gives you time to prepare for your shift and lets your boss know that you are eager to start working. You may not think anyone's watching, but they are! Five minutes late, and you're a slacker. Five minutes early, and you're a star.
- Dress to impress. Don't wear your dirty uniform from the night before. Not only does it smell bad, it looks bad. Remember, you are a reflection of the company. Your boss will notice when you look nice and so will the customers.
- Always be honest. Everyone makes mistakes, especially when you're brand new at your first entry-level job. When your register comes up five dollars short, or you drop a tray of hamburger patties on the floor, you might be tempted to cover it up. Don't! Even if you did something wrong, your boss needs to know the truth. It makes you more credible and easier to trust.
- Do not call out of work. Many first time employees think that calling in sick is like staying home from school - no one really notices you're gone. Wrong. Your boss is counting on you to show up, especially if you're on the front lines in retail or a restaurant. If you are sick or have an emergency, call out. If you have a concert you want to go to, get your shift covered (and approved). Don't blame it on the “flu.” Use your best judgment. Chances are if you think you'll get in trouble for it, you probably will.
- Help out. Your boss will notice all of your hard work, whether it be covering a shift for a coworker or picking up extra tasks here and there. Also, helping your fellow coworkers out shows you're a good team player.
- Show, don't tell. You don’t need to brag about your good work - that’ll just make your coworkers want to lock you in the walk-in. Instead, show your boss that you are an asset to the company. Having initiative and working hard will pay off in the long run. Remember, it's not just an entry-level job - it's a building block for your resume. Your boss's positive recommendation may eventually help get you your dream job.
- Show you care. It's important that you care about your fellow employees. Working together is so much easier when you get along. Teamwork will definitely impress your boss and make your work environment fun.
- Ask for help. That's why your boss is there! Don't pretend that you know what you are doing. Asking for help and participating in training will show that you genuinely want to learn new skills - and might even help turn your entry-level job into a career.
- Think outside the box. Don't be scared to speak just because you're a teenager. Offering a fresh idea about your job lets your boss know you care about your work - even though it's just an entry-level job - and shows you are thinking about ways to make the company a better place to work. Do be careful not to overstep your boundaries as an employee; no boss wants to hear a teenager tell them how to run the business.
- Do your job well. Even if you're working a typical entry-level job - washing dishes, waiting tables - take pride in your work. Customers will comment, and your boss is sure to notice the energy you’re devoting to doing a good job.
Just stick with these tips and your boss is sure to notice your efforts. Good luck, and let us know when you get that promotion!