Keep Your Job: What Employed Students Need to Know and Do

When ‘keeping their jobs’ is a critical necessity for financially strapped college students with part-time, co-op and summer jobs, there are things they can do to improve their chances for continued employment. Working students who are concerned about their job stability should:1. Get a good grasp on the basics of their jobs.a. Understand exactly ‘what’ has to be done and ‘how’ to do itb. Identify the people they serve: Supervisors, Internal & External Customersc. Become an expert in the technical and most difficult aspects of their jobsd. Strive to improve their relationship with co-workers and customerse. Learn what their customers want and how they want itf. Learn the job-ending No-No’s that must be avoidedg. Identify the people above them with the most influence over their futureh. Be willing to make some sacrifices for their employersI. Understand their Supervisor’s needs, wants, quirks and hot buttonsj. Make everyone around them look good2. Do the job to the best of their ability (Be an asset to the employer)a. Meet or exceed quality requirementsb. Meet or exceed the amount or volume expectedc. Meet or exceed the level of service customers need and expectd. Anticipate problems and suggest fixes or ways to prevent theme. Communicate effectively. Keep people informed. Warn them of problemsf. Adhere to time and on-time requirementsg. Maintain a positive, willing to try attitudeh. Help others when they need itI. Enhance the employer’s image and reputation3. To impress others with their work ethic and desire to contribute, employed students should ask these questions, when appropriate.a. What’s next?b. What more can I do?c. How can I help?d. How can I do this aspect of the job better?e. How can I better serve my customers?f. How can I learn more about that?g. Who has the information I need?4. Serve their Internal and External Customersa. Identify their primary and secondary customersb. Learn each customer’s preferences, needs, wants and expectationsc. Learn each customer’s idiosyncrasiesd. Give customers more, better, faster, when and where they want it5. Generate ideas for:a. Improving product and service quality and speedb. New products and servicesc. Attracting new customersd. Improving profit marginse. Increasing sales6. Build good relationships with other employees and other departments.a. Exchange pleasantries with everyone. Be friendly and smileb. Listen to and learn from the best employeesc. Be there when others need helpd. Be willing to share informatione. Offer encouragementf. Learn who can be trusted and who can’t7. Accept the fact that there are things beyond personal control.a. Regardless of job performance and likability, bad thingssometimes happen to employees, through no fault of their ownb. Create a back-up plan that can be implemented if somethinghappens to their employment stability8. The back-up plan for finding another job should include these actions:a. Obtain written references and recommendations from the mostimpressive people they have worked withb. Ask these same people for ideas, suggestions and contacts thatmay help them obtain useful job hunting informationc. Visit the Career Services Officed. Speak with Professors to see if they have contacts and suggestionse. Update their résumé – Emphasize contributions, accomplishments,successes and areas of exceptional performancef. Identify and contact every employer that is of interestg. Identify and participate in Professional Associations and LocalBusiness Organizationsh. Make a list of potential networking contacts. Use their Network toidentify employment opportunities and additional contacts.I. Develop a few positive, work-related examples and stories that can beused during networking meetings and interviewsj. Create and follow a script when speaking to Network contactsk. Be flexible regarding the new job they accept. In tough times, jobs are fewRecognize that employed students should be performing well before things drastically sour for their current employers. They must do everything they can to be an employee their employer wants to keep. Exceptional job performance will sometimes positively affect the hard decisions that distressed employers may be required to make. However, when keeping the current job is not possible or does not look to be possible, wise students take the early steps that will put them in the best position to obtain another job.