Recent college grads who want to get off to a good start in their first professional job would do well to think like their employers. Every employer has a variety of needs and wants that employees are expected to fulfill. The best employees recognize those needs and do everything in their power to satisfy them.

“If you want to impress your employer, There are plenty of things you can do. One way to get some attention Is to prove they can count on you.”

Employers want employees who . . .

1. Understand The Business – New employees should make a special effort to learn about the products, services, customers and challenges at their new employer. You can’t make good decisions and do an effective job, when you know little about the operation. Smart employees study the literature, read the financials and talk with the employees who have the information they need.

2. Achieve Positive Results – When new employees hit the ground running, employers will be impressed. Since you will see things with fresh eyes, you may spot a few areas that can be improved. Speed and quality together are usually well received. When you look for ways to improve productivity, beat deadlines and exceed quality requirements, you impact the numbers and show your employer that you can contribute.

3. Make Sacrifices – Employees who make sacrifices for their employers and their customers are valued. By helping others, putting in overtime in order to meet deadlines and accepting responsibility even though personal sacrifices may be involved, employees demonstrate behaviors that employers value and appreciate. Employees who are unwilling to make some personal sacrifices for their employers often limit their promotional opportunities.

4. Put Customers First – Most employers realize that without customers, there is no business. That’s why employees who put customers first and are willing to go the extra mile for a customer are valuable assets. On the other hand, employees who provide poor service or offend customers will be quickly eliminated.

5. Solve Problems – Employers always appreciate employees who solve problems. The willingness to tackle problems along with the ability to gather the information and resources needed to come up with an acceptable solution is a skill that not everyone has. People who accept assignments that are too complex and end up failing will adversely affect the organization. Wise employees know when to ask for help.

6. Treat Others With Respect – The best employees work well with others because they treat everyone with respect and appreciate their unique contributions. Since teamwork is critical to organizational success, team players are needed by every organization. They pick people up, support them and help them succeed. Employees who do not receive the respect they deserve will almost always underperform.

7. Act In The Best Interests Of The Employer – The best employees always act in a way that will help their employers to succeed. They work hard to ensure that their employers accomplish the most critical goals. When choices are required, loyal employees anticipate the consequences and always act in the best interests of their employers. Employees who always put themselves first will limit their potential.

8. Accept And Adjust To Changes – You will face hundreds of thousands of changes during your career. You can quickly adapt, complain and slowly adapt or fight the change and never adapt. Generally, those employees who accept the change, adapt quickly and move on will find greater success. Employees who can’t or won’t adapt become part of the problem.

9. Present A Positive Attitude – The attitude you choose to present to others will either help you achieve your goals, hamper the achievement of your goals or prevent you from achieving your goals. The most appreciated employees choose to present a positive, can do, let’s give it a try attitude.

10. Demonstrate Leadership Skills -Leaders move things forward and achieve results. Every employer loves them because they are able to mobilize and motivate others to perform at a higher level. They bring people together to achieve the goals that require teamwork, inspiration and exceptional performance.

11. Understand The Bottom Line – Everything has a bottom line. Whether they are concerned about financials, productivity, quality, service or results, to survive, employers are bottom line oriented. Employees who understand and aggressively pursue bottom line results are highly valued. Only employers with great profit margins can offer great salaries and great benefits. Therefore, employees who merely show up to collect a paycheck add little value and have little value in the competitive world.

There is a lesson here. College graduates who intend to find success in the competitive world should understand and achieve the needs and wants of their employer. Exceptional employees exceed requirements, please important customers, achieve outstanding results and solve or prevent the problems that hamper company success.

Many college graduates will find it easier to achieve success when they decide to think like their employers and endeavor to make them stronger. Importantly, once students are employed, college grades no longer count. Grades don’t help anyone serve an angry and desperate customer or beat a critical financial deadline. Former “C” students will regularly compete with former “A” students, but only their performance and results will count.