Found Your First Job? Get a Strong Start with These Tips


“I am 17 and worked hard to get my first job. What do I need to know to be successful?” – Elizabeth from Reno, NV


First of all, congratulations! I applaud you for having the perseverance required to land a job. Now, your task is to demonstrate a commitment to your employer. Let’s take a few minutes to explore exactly what commitment looks like in the workplace and how you can show responsibility, dependability and a good attitude in your new job.


Now that you have the job, it is time to show your employer just how responsible you are as an employee. No doubt during your interview you shared that you are responsible and can be counted on when needed, but actions speak louder than words! So here are three things that will demonstrate responsibility:

  1. Always listen when instructions are being provided – make a list if you have to so you don’t forget anything.
  2. Ask your supervisor for help when you have questions or don’t fully understand what you are asked to do.
  3. Always be on time for work or call your supervisor if you will be late.

A rule that has helped me over the years has been this: early is on time and on time is late. This simply explains that if you are scheduled to begin work at 3:00 p.m. you should not be arriving at work at that time, but you should be there and ready to start your shift promptly at 3:00.


Employers need to know that once you have been trained in your position that they can count on you to perform your role every day. Remember, a major part of why you were hired was because you convinced your employer that they could count on you to get the job done.  Here are three ways you can demonstrate dependability:

  1. Accurately complete all task assigned in the time frame that was provided.
  2. Have the ability to work independently – without your supervisor having to check behind you.
  3. Always show up at work when you are scheduled.

In the event that personal emergencies arise, work with co-workers to cover your shift if you are unable.  Remember, consistently coming to work when scheduled and on time goes a long way in demonstrating to your employer that you are an employee that they can depend on.


The importance of having a good attitude is a no-brainer. You want to avoid being one of those kinds of people that takes orders and gives the impression that they are doing their boss a favor by being there. Here are three things to remember that will help in demonstrating a good attitude:

  1. Leave your personal problems outside of the workplace.
  2. Be willing to accept constructive criticism – the intent is to help you to improve.
  3. Always greet your customers/co-workers with a smile and treat them with respect.

In my experience, an individual who demonstrates a positive attitude and willingness to help others is viewed as an asset in the workplace. Good luck to you in your career journey.