First Principles

No matter what job you’re seeking or career path you take, there is essential stuff in almost any circumstance that will be critical to professional and personal growth.

Common Courtesies

Look people in the eye. If this really makes you uncomfortable, look right above the eye. On camera, be conscious of what the viewer is seeing.
When greeting people, extend a firm handshake, not too long or too firm. If it’s a remote call, engage enthusiastically.
Be courteous. Extend kindness to everyone you meet in this process, not just the people who make the hiring decisions. 
Be positive. Focus on the good aspects of your circumstance and experiences.
Be respectful and express your appreciation. If someone has done you a favor or taken time to help you, make sure they know you appreciate it.
Say “thank you”. And then say “thank you” 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. If you agree to something, do it. If you can’t, let them know as soon as possible.
Take action immediately. If you see an attractive job posting, apply promptly. When you complete an interview, thank the interviewers immediately. If someone offers help, respond immediately. If people do a favor for you, thank them promptly.
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 conservative side.

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 up to date with current events. The news is critical for understanding how events impact the world around us.
Whether your sources are in print or online, make sure they are reliable and you keep yourself up to date.

Stay Organized

Find an organizational system that works for you. Whether it’s an app, post-it notes or a physical calendar, find a method you’ll actually use and stick to it.
Keep a calendar to track upcoming appointments and maintain a permanent record of past ones. At the same time, use it to set goals for yourself and make note of applications submitted, and follow up correspondence with your network. 
Store vital documents in the cloud. If you ever need your resume or a cover letter in a pinch, you can access them from any device. Google Drive, Dropbox, or Box will do the trick.

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When you first told me to take my hand away from my face while I was talking to you, I was insulted. You didn’t know me or anything. As we kept talking, I realized my hand WAS stopping me from being real and proud of myself. Sure it was awkward but thanks for making me aware of it. I appreciate your honesty.

-Alonso B.

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