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Develop Your Job Smarts

Job smarts help you succeed at work. They help make your work more satisfying and make your employer realize you’re valuable. Explore these ways to refine your job smarts.

Use job smarts from the start

Congratulations on your new job! Take the time to understand how your new employer works. You’ll impress your supervisor and pass your probation by:

  • Knowing where things are and who does what
  • Abiding by workplace rules and policies
  • Following the workplace culture

Unless you’re saying something positive, now is not the time to comment on staff or policies. Give yourself the chance to take in what this organization does, how it does it, and why it does it this way. Learn more about the job smarts you’ll need during your first 2 weeks at work.

Aim for a positive attitude

Be that person who’s easy to work with. Your positive attitude can be that one final factor that helps your employer decide to keep you on. You don’t have to come in with balloons and a marching band; just show your employer that you enjoy and care about your job in a way that fits your personality. Try these job smarts:

  • Treat people the way you want to be treated. Be friendly, supportive, respectful, and co-operative.
  • Talk and listen respectfully. Speak clearly and pay attention when others are speaking. Avoiding interruptions helps you clearly understand what they’ve said before you respond.
  • Speak positively about your employer and co-workers. Don’t gossip or criticize about people or their behaviour. If you are asked to give feedback, offer helpful advice or share concerns privately with whomever asked you the questions.
  • Be enthusiastic about your work. Avoid complaining about your job. Believe in your ability to do it and to do it well.
  • Be flexible and open minded. Realize that people approach a situation from different backgrounds and may have different opinions. Be aware that you can’t control everything. Expect the unexpected. Keep learning—it will help you handle change.
  • Stay relaxed, patient, and polite. People respond better to respect and calmness than they do to sarcasm and anger.

A positive attitude can start with a smile, but it can lead to the positive results you expect. Evaluate your attitude and see how a shift toward the positive can give you extra job smarts that will help you get—and keep—the work you want.

Respect the job

By taking the time to understand what you need to do to make your job a success, you’re demonstrating job smarts. For example:

  • Be prepared. Come ready to pay attention, follow directions, and do the job.
  • Dress for the job. Consider the type of work you’re doing, how your co-workers dress, and the image your organization wants to present.
  • Look and act confident. Speak clearly and loudly enough to be heard. Look at people when you speak to them or they speak to you.
  • Use your time properly. Be on time for work. Don’t spend hours socializing, take extra-long breaks, or use company time for personal business. Warn your employer if you know you’ll be late or absent. Use sick leave only when you’re sick.
  • Be productive. Keep your work area neat and clean and do what you say you’ll do. Plan to do the most important tasks first. When you’ve finished one task, move to the next without waiting to be told. Finish crucial tasks even if you have to skip a break or stay past quitting time. Check the quality of your work and do your best.
  • Take responsibility. Be accountable for any mistakes you make.
  • Work safely. Know the health and safety hazards and abide by the regulations in your workplace.
  • Live up to your values. Be truthful and honest. Maintain your integrity.

Join the team

Working with others to achieve common goals, even if the task isn’t part of your job description, shows your job smarts. Here’s how you do it:

  • Take on the task that needs to be done. Just make sure you’re not overstepping a co-worker’s responsibilities.
  • Jump at the chance to help a co-worker on a project. You’ll learn something new and earn a reputation as a helpful employee.
  • Share information and resources.
  • Support and encourage your co-workers.
  • Ask for help when you need it. Recognizing your limits shows your personal strength and maturity.
  • Respect the diverse opinions and experiences of your co-workers.
  • Avoid dating co-workers or supervisors. You’ll sidestep gossip, misunderstandings, and accusations of favouritism.

Add value to your organization

Did you know that you can help yourself by helping your employer? Adding to your company’s bottom line will make your employer notice you and boost your job smarts. For example, you can learn:

  • All you can about the organization and your role.
  • How to do all the tasks that are part of your job.
  • A skill that will help you stand out. For example, you might become the person everyone goes to for help with a software program or with proofreading important emails.

Remember, whether you’re in school or on the job, a positive attitude will help you learn.

Refresh your career

Sometimes even the best job in the world can become less than ideal. To make your work life more satisfying, consider these job-smart solutions:

By using job smarts, you increase your success and satisfaction at work. It’s a great way to keep your job and invest in your future. Your employer will appreciate your efforts, which can lead to a promotion or a glowing reference if you plan to move on.

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