To help you do just that, we asked members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) this question:
“What is the one out-of-the-box thing a young team member can do to impress you the most?”
Here’s the g00d-as-gold advice they offered:
Invent Jobs for Themselves
Whenever I see potential in someone, I’m not envisioning them simply being up to par. That’s ridiculous. I’m making a hire because things need to get done, but I’m also investing in talent because I want to see where it will grow naturally. When I see an employee look for projects and initiatives without being asked, that’s when I am the most impressed.
Find Gaps and Fill Them
At a startup, things are constantly changing. The young team members who continue to impress me the most are the ones who look for holes and fill them. Whether it’s an innovative new tool for managing projects or a unique twist on new business opportunities, it’s wonderful to have junior team members who spend their downtime looking for ways to help the company instead of playing on Pinterest.
Bring Me a Project Proposal
Being proactive is critical; the best way to go about that is to draft a short proposal for a project that you think we should take on (and that you should lead). Lay out what the problem is, what your proposed solution looks like and what resources will be necessary. Even if the answer is no, this shows that you’re proactively looking for opportunities to make big contributions.
Create Productivity Scripts
One thing that a couple of my employees have done is to take the initiative and create programs and scripts of their own to help them be as productive as possible throughout the work day. I’m impressed. Every time.
Whenever someone enthusiastically works overtime because they want to, and not because they have to, it impresses me. When they’re eager to finish up a project or tackle new ones, simply because they desire to drive the business forward, I have to smile. I appreciate employees who don’t regard themselves as employees but rather as partners, and demonstrate their dedication to the company.
Demonstrate Curiosity and a Good Attitude
A good employer will want to hire a genius, but “genius” is not IQ or how many sales you can make. It is the right attitude accompanied by curiosity. This will impress anyone.
I’m most impressed by team members who are thorough with everything they do. It demonstrates to me that they’ve done their homework and put energy into ensuring they’ve covered all their bases. In the world of big data analytics, there’s no room for sloppiness or carelessness.
Ask A Lot of Questions
When you start working at a new company it’s expected that you don’t know everything. I’m most impressed with new employees who ask a lot of questions (but never the same question twice), and show a genuine curiosity in learning everything they can about the company, the industry and their specific role.
Demonstrate They Know “Great is Better Than Perfect” Sometimes
When you work with a lot of rockstar, type-A people, perfection chasing is rife and can seriously slow a company down. When young hires come on board, I’m ecstatic when a project they’ve been given gets done on time and they say “I didn’t do the perfect thing I could have done because of the time it would have taken. This thing I did instead worked really well in its place.”
Promote the Brand
It may go without saying, but young team members can add a lot of value to a company by utilizing their networks and being an enthusiast of the product or services the company sells. Showing pride in their company, team and brand tells employers that they are committed to the mission of the company and excited about growing alongside it.
Show They Understand the Wider Business Issues
For early employees, I hope to see that they understand the business outside of their role, too. It’s a good indication that they intend to grow with the business.
Take Our Company Values and Mission Seriously
As our team grows, it becomes more and more challenging to make sure we continue to live by the values that have made us successful. So when a young team member proves that he or she can be trusted to protect the company and delight our clients even when we aren’t watching, that impresses us more than anything else.
For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at YEC!
Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.