(Author's note: this is a post originally published in 2005. The advice still holds true.)
Our friend Joy, who's been in the PR biz for many moons now, e-mailed us that an intern at her company had asked her for advice as she starts out in the business world.
Joy replied to the intern with the following list:
1. Be honest and ethical. You'll be able to look yourself in the mirror.
2. Be friendly with your coworkers. Don't view them as competition.
3. Proof your work. The typo you don't notice is the one that everyone else will spot immediately.
4. Be polite and genuine to everyone you encounter. Display an interest in who they are and what they do.
5. If you point out a problem, you must have a solution to offer as well. And when you take on responsibility, be able to go to your superiors with both a summary of the problem and the solution you have already started implementing.
6. Try to make your manager look good. Both to his/her manager and to the rest of the company.
7. Carry a pen and something to write on -- whenever you walk into your manager's office.
8. Don't worry about people "talking about you behind your back." People are going to talk. Let them.
9. Be busy. Ask for extra projects if you run out of things to do, especially from coworkers whose projects interest you.
10. Be professional -- in your dress, demeanor and cube decor.
11. Don't fall asleep at work. Stop partying till all hours before workdays and get to bed at a decent hour.
12. Stay informed about national and international events. Don't be the last to hear that Israel is bombing Lebanon. And why. And where Lebanon is.
13. Accept responsibility when things go wrong. Be ready to say that something is your fault and apologize for your error. Do so even if you have to accept responsibility for something that is technically someone else's error. You'll earn respect.
14. Plan ahead. Have a contingency plan for things that could go wrong (such as taking extra supplies to an event or having a paper back-up of your PowerPoint presentation).
15. Follow up. Stay on top of projects that have been assigned to you. Don't say, "He never got back to me" when you should be following up frequently.
16. Show up. Avoid taking unnecessary days off -- yes, you can lose a job for attendance problems alone.
17. Keep a neat desk. You'll appear to be organized, responsible and trustworthy.
Scott Baradell is CEO of the unified PR and marketing agency Idea Grove, one of the top 25 technology PR firms in the United States. His first book,
Trust Signals, is scheduled for publication in 2021.