Seven Ways to Make the Right Impression at Work

Right ImpressionIf you're lucky enough to land a great new job, do all you can to make a good first impression. I've been in the entertainment business a long time, nearly 25 years heading Susan Blond, Inc., and I've learned to sense from the very beginning who is going to succeed and who won't.

Some people give a great interview but do not have the follow-through, creativity and drive that is needed. There's a reason why they call it work, but with these tips and a lot of enthusiasm you'll be on your way!

1. Dress up

People are more apt to ask you to important meetings or evening events if you have the right look. Imagine a great photographer is going to shoot you every day -- it's better to be overdressed; you can always take off your jacket or change into flat shoes.

2. Timing is everything

Get to work early, stay late, and never ever leave before your boss. The last thing you want is to not be around when your boss needs you, especially if a crisis pops up.

You may think your third cousin's baby shower is important, but choose which events you need to be out for. Schedule vacations or days off around holidays, not smack in the middle of the busiest time. Take an extra day around Memorial Day, July 4, Christmas - you're less likely to be missed.

3. Speak up

Smile, look at the person who's talking, don't bite your nails, don't tap your pen. If you have an opinion, speak up! Speak loudly and clearly, and don't talk with your hand in front of your mouth - if we can't hear what you're saying we should at least be able to read your lips! Don't correct or interrupt, and don't talk too much, look for the tell-tale glazed-over eyes - it's a good sign you've lost the crowd.

4. Go for it

Remember there's always room for you to prove yourself and even show off - look for the opportunities. If someone mentions a task or assignment in a meeting and asks for volunteers, go for it. It's worth taking on the extra assignment; it makes a good impression. Go above and beyond for a client - of all the magazine covers I got for Ozzy Osbourne, he remembers me in his memoir as the one who introduced him to Andy Warhol over dinner.

5. Smile and act like you're running for office

Being enthusiastic is important for success - if you complain, it brings you down and it brings down the team. If you need to gripe, write it all down on a piece of paper and throw it out. Don't be upset if it seems like you're getting more criticism than compliments. At the end of each day, go through what you've accomplished, and take pride in your work.

Listen to your boss - when they talk about what they read, watch, where they eat, a museum they love, pay attention. It wouldn't kill you to pick up a book they have enjoyed; it will show that you value their taste. I recently suggested that my staff see the Bill Cunningham documentary at the Film Forum, and check out a new article on Tina Brown. I notice if people make the effort. Leave your comfort zone and you might actually like it.

You should also try to make as many friends as you can at the company. It makes the days more fun, and you'll learn from them. Show your interest in company activities, and go to work events even if it's not for your particular team.

6. Try to find an answer on your own...

If your supervisor needs any piece of information, like a contact for John Leland at The New York Times, don't just go back to him/her without an answer if you don't find it right away. Try seven different ways to get it: Google, search a media database, call the main line, look at old media lists, figure out the Times' email formula, ask industry friends. If you still come up with nothing after a lot of digging, you can tell your supervisor that you're having a hard time.

7. ... But don't be afraid to ask for help.

So many of you are so determined to do it all by yourself, that you don't ask for any help. When that happens, you suffer, the client suffers, and the company suffers. You don't know everything. Keep asking, there is always more to learn!

Need help landing the job? Check out my interview tips:

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