Having just celebrated my 25-year anniversary with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, I thought it was time to share some of the many things I’ve learned along the way. Some of these are things I’ve always had a hunch about, but there are a number of tips that I’d wish I’d known when I started my career as a graduate. Here is my list of 25:
1. Dress for the job that you want, not the one that you have.
2. You’ve got your degree – now keep learning. Take a class, learn a language and keep finding ways to stand out from your peers.
3. No task is too small to do well. Take pride in your work. Detail counts.
4. Spend time on the shop floor. It’s essential to understand what the mainstay of your business is – learn it and do it well.
5. YOU are in charge of your future – go out and make it happen. Very few successful people got to the top by waiting for someone to give them the OK to succeed.
7. Learn to sell. Every job has an element of sales in it. And while you are at it, know how to sell yourself. Step up and talk about your accomplishments and what you have done for your company. And do this without being boastful.
8. Drink coffee or tea or water….something which causes you to meet up with others at the office coffee station. It’s a great place to hear the company news or find out about a new project. And to share a slice of carrot cake.
10. Be nice. To everyone. You never know when a past or current contact can play a role in your future.
11. And speaking of that, don’t burn bridges. You never know where people will end up. It would be awful to slate your manager in an exit interview, only to find out six months later that they’ve joined your new company.
12. Get some rest. There’s no need to burn the candle at both ends. You will find quickly enough that staying up late to party isn’t always the wisest decision come 8.00 am the following morning.
13. Be on time. Nothing says ‘I’m selfish and I matter more than you’ than being late to meetings. Respect others at all times.
14. Find a mentor – either inside or outside of your company.
15. Work ethic isn’t about the number of hours you work but about the quality of your work.
16. Stay positive. It’s essential if you really want to succeed in a team and be asked to work on interesting projects.
17. Be a yes person. Yes people are much more fun to be around than no people. Say yes to staying after work to help a colleague, yes to a new assignment or yes to working on a special project.
18. Find a company that has values that match your own. If you can do this one thing, work won’t feel much like work.
19. Hire people that are different to you that will question your thought process and your decision making. Your team and your company will be all the better for it.
20. Keep your personal brand top of mind. Your brand is your appearance, how you sound and how you act. Understand social media and how your personal life is intertwined with your professional life.
21, Ask questions. Lots of them. And listen to what others have to say. Empathize before you try to make yourself heard or understood.
22. Don’t be afraid to fail. The difference between successful and unsuccessful people is how they deal with failure. Learn from your mistakes and move on.
23. Be reflective of your skills. Knowing your strengths is important, but knowing your weaknesses is critical. You need both sides of the coin to succeed and to be a credible leader that others respect.
24. Learn to prioritize. Very few days finish without surprises. Get used to juggling and enjoy that you’ve got a lot going on.
25. Don’t turn off your opportunity monitor. Be on the lookout for opportunities to improve. Keep your eyes and ears open. Get out of your comfort zone. Put yourself forward for an international assignment or a job that you’re not quite ready for. Challenge yourself every day. And don’t forget – anything is possible!