Get Ahead

Want to make a great first impression at your new job? Here are 4 things every boss is dying to hear

Brad Nethery | Twenty20

Succeeding in the workplace is highly predicated upon communication. This is especially important when it comes to interactions with your boss.

If you want to make a first great impression (and get a promotion quickly), make it a priority to communicate the following—starting on day one:

1. "Here's exactly what I'm working on."

You were hired to perform a role, so do it and do it well. Knowing exactly what your responsibilities are will help you to be more efficient, effective and competent at your job.

I try to surround myself with people who really know what they are doing, and give them the freedom to do it.
Oprah Winfrey

Then, take the time to learn about different aspects of the business related to your role. That way, when asked how things are going, you'll be able to give an answer that not only demonstrates how well you know your priorities, but that you're also learning new things.

2. "I'd love to take on more projects."

One trait that managers at Elon Musk's SpaceX look for in job candidates is the appetite for exploration. (OK, so maybe you don't work at SpaceX, but your employer still wants you to be curious.) Curious people are more engaged, motivated and innovative.

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Look for opportunities that will allow you to be more knowledgeable and learn new skills related to your role. Your boss will know that you're open to taking on more responsibilities, so they'll immediately think of you when new projects arise.

3. "I have a solution."

Job interviews at Google include queries such as, "Give me an example of a time when you solved a difficult analytical problem."

As an employee in the trenches, you are living the daily business operations. There are going to be things that either don't work or could be be improved. Be ready to share problems or inefficiencies, as well as solutions. Your solution may not work, but your boss will appreciate — and remember — that you had one.

4. "You can trust me."

Warren Buffet looks for three things when hiring people: Intelligence, initiative and integrity. In a speech to students at the University of Georgia, he said, "If they don't have the latter, the first two will kill you, because if you're going to get someone without integrity, you want them lazy and dumb."

Your boss wants you to communicate with integrity regarding all aspects of your job. Employees who operate with integrity are trustworthy and command respect. They are the people who managers want to entrust with more responsibilities.

If they don't have the latter, the first two will kill you, because if you're going to get someone without integrity, you want them lazy and dumb.
Warren Buffett

Commit to excellence

Think about the next conversation you might have with your boss. Are you in a position to communicate that you're competent, motivated, creative and trustworthy? If the answer is no, examine what you're doing and assess how you can align your work efforts with the messages that successful employees tell their bosses.

Elle Kaplan is the founder and CEO of LexION Capital, a fiduciary wealth management firm in New York City serving high-net-worth individuals. She is also the chief investment officer and founder of LexION Alpha. Follow her on Twitter @ellekaplan .

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