There are a ton of websites out there that promise to give you the best career advice. Many of them have great advice from seasoned experts, but I can save you a lot of time right here and right now:
Get it done.
If you spend enough time in the workplace, you will discover that some people truly know how to get it done. “It” can be anything — getting a form approved, responding to your information request, setting up a meeting, responding to your email, whatever.
On the other hand, there are people who you send something to and it disappears. If it doesn’t completely disappear, it certainly feels like it did. By the time you receive a response you’ve already maneuvered your way around that person or forgotten why you emailed them to begin with.
Taking care of business is an important skill at any stage of your career, but it is particularly helpful at the beginning. You may be starting out at what you think sounds like a boring job, such as a position as an administrative assistant, but developing a reputation as someone who gets things done quickly and accurately is invaluable.
So how do you develop this key skill set?
1. Prioritization. Let’s say you have 10 emails in your inbox and all contain tasks that you must do today. How do you prioritize that? Look at who sent the emails to you. Are they higher-ups in the org? Your boss? Your boss’s boss? Next, what is the easiest task? What will take you only a few minutes? Get those out of the way first. Then re-prioritize again.
2. Network, Network, Network. Many people think that when they have landed the job they do not need to network. This is simply not true. The key is to network within your organization. Find out who has the in with HR and who the best IT people are, and then build relationships. When your boss is trying to get an offer approved or needs his BlackBerry replaced NOW, these are the people you want to call on…just don’t forget to reciprocate if they need something from you.
3. Communication. This is another critical skill set to develop. When you are emailed a request or task, keep in touch with the requestor. If it is taking you some time to complete or finish the request, communicate this. Otherwise people see your lack of communication and start to conjure up reasons on their own for the delay.
The above are just a few tips. There are many more I could provide, but the key is to get stuff done. The quicker and more accurate you are, the better. When your name comes up, you want people to think, “I can send anything to her and she gets it done,” NOT “Sending stuff to her is pointless, I never hear back.”
Melissa Fairman is an HR practitioner who has worked in multiple industries and HR specialties. Her experience encompasses performance management, global HR systems, and other generalist work. Her passion is empowering people to help themselves in their careers. You can connect with her via her blog, HrRemix, Twitter @HrRemix, or email.