One of the great keys to finding a new job is being good at your old job.
You have to be competent, cheerful, and communicative. Competent people get the job done. When they’re assigned a project, they make sure to do it as well and as quickly as possible. Every manager loves an employee that gets his projects done before the deadline.
Cheerful people get the job done with a smile. Sure, they may have to put up with a difficult project, a tight schedule, and a team member or two whom they don’t particularly like, but even all that doesn’t get them down. Every manager loves an employee with good morale, especially if he keeps the other workers’ spirits up.
Communicative people let their boss know what’s going on while they’re getting the job done. That doesn’t mean that they flood his desk with memos or his voicemail with messages giving him information he doesn’t need. It means they let their supervisor know once in a while that things are going as planned… or that they honestly admit when things have gone awry and need some intervention.
I know a fellow who has been working with his current employer for almost a year. He’s certainly competent. He was given a piece of software that hasn’t been working properly in spite of seven years of development by other programmers. Pieces of that software that never worked before are now running smoothly.
My friend is also cheerful. He’s put up with a supervisor that sells products the company doesn’t have (and has managed to create several of those non-existent products to save his boss’s hide). He talked an employee out of leaving when his boss yelled at him. He does a good job of keeping office tensions low.
My friend, however, could use some work on his communication skills. He was a college student at the time, and occasionally his schedule changes when he least expects it. That means that sometimes he’ll have a class or group meeting when he would ordinarily be at work.
What should you do in that sort of situation? Call ahead, of course, to let your boss know what has happened and try to make sure your employer isn’t left hanging because he needs you. Yes, that means that you should call in to work at 3 am and leave a message if you won’t be able to contact him in advance any other way.
A supervisor’s job is to make decisions. By calling him, you let him know what is going on so that he can make those decisions. If you don’t call, you may find yourself in trouble… and looking for another job. Finding that job will be extra difficult, because you’ll have to tell them why you left your last employment.
So, be dependable. Call ahead. Your boss may not like that you can’t make it in, but he’ll love that you let him know.
Competent, cheerful, and communicative. Important keys. That all adds up to being reliable! What a concept.
Something to do today
Make a list of the times in the last year that your schedule has changed unexpectedly and kept you from going to work as normal. What did you do? Were those things that helped your relationship with your boss or hurt it?