First PrinciplesNo matter what job you’re seeking or career path you take, there is essential stuff in almost any circumstance. We’re not trying to be insulting, just reinforcing behaviors critical to professional and personal growth.

Common Courtesies

  • Look people in the eye. If this really makes you uncomfortable, look right above the eye.
  • When greeting people, extend a firm handshake, not too long or too firm.
  • Be courteous. Extend kindness to everyone you meet in this process, not just the people who make the hiring decisions. Negativity and pretension will get you nowhere.
  • Be positive. Try to see the positive in your circumstance and experiences.
  • Be respectful. If someone has gone out of their way for you, has done you a favor, or is taking time to speak with you, make sure they know you appreciate it.
  • Say thank you. And then say it again.

Professional Do's and Don'ts

  • There is no second chance for a first impression. Often, people will make appraisals of you based on their first, immediate impression. Do everything you can to make it a good one.
  • Be on time. Phone calls, meetings, interviews, anything – be on time.
  • Keep your commitments.
  • Avoid sloppy language. Even if the environment is casual, respect the person you are speaking or corresponding with.
  • Dress appropriately.  No t-shirts, cleavage, or stains from breakfast.  While company culture may determine the dress code, it’s always best to err on the side of overdressed.

Active Engagement

  • Carry yourself with pride- good posture, head up. If you’re not proud of yourself and confident in who you are, it will be very difficult for an employer to get excited about you.
  • Be curious. People are interested in interesting people. Stay current on national/international news and events, as well as company news.
  • Be an active listener. Show that you are engaged in every conversation. Give acknowledgement. Pick up on conversation cues.
  • Speak clearly and thoughtfully.

Do This

Stay Current

  • Staying current with local and international news is not only critical for general engagement, but also for understanding how world events impact business and industries.
  • Whether you read the newspaper, subscribe to online news outlets, follow a variety of legitimate sources on social media, or all of the above, make sure you find a method for keeping yourself up to date.
  • If you’re looking for a place to start, we’ve got some recommendations:
    • Tried and true journalism is a great place to start – check out the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Guardian, the Financial Times, NPR, and BBC.
    • Daily or weekly email newsletters are another easy way to stay in the loop – look at Next Draft or The Skimm for a brief summary of daily news. The Hustle focuses on business, tech, and culture, and The Morning Brew gives a synopsis of the business and financial markets.
    • Staying up to speed with the job market and industries relevant to your search can be just as important. It’s worth looking at LinkedIn Pulse, The Muse, Ask a Manager and Hireable on a regular basis.


Stay Organized

  • Find an organizational system that works for you. It might be a physical calendar, it might be a giant stack of multi-colored Post-It notes, it might be an app. Whatever it is, find a method you’ll actually use and stick to it.
  • Here are our top suggestions and favorite apps:
    • Keep a calendar. Don’t just write down upcoming appointments, but also use it to set goals for yourself and make note of when you turned in applications and when you corresponded with your network. This will help you immensely when follow-up time rolls around. Your phone already has a calendar app – use it.
    • Utilize cloud-based storage for all job-related documents. If you ever need your resume in a pinch, you can access it from any device, even if you’re on the go. Google Drive, Dropbox, or Box will do the trick.
    • Evernote is a great resource for note-taking, organizing information, and archiving relevant articles, websites, etc.
    • Trello is like an online bulletin board that will help you keep track of immediate tasks, ongoing projects / idea, and simple to-do lists.
    • For more visual learners, SimpleMind is a great tool for visual brainstorming, thought organization, and idea collection.
    • Wunderlist, Remember the Milk, Anydo, Todoist, and Do are all great apps for more basic to-do lists and task management.