How to Impress Your Boss

Use these tips to stay on your boss's good side from your first day forward.

How to Impress Your Boss

It can be a fine line. You want to figure out how to impress your boss, but you don’t want to look insincere or be seen as a suck-up by your co-workers.

There are concrete benefits to knowing how to impress your boss. When you’re on the boss’s “A-list,” you’re more likely to be assigned high-profile projects that will help advance your career. Your input is more likely to be heard. And while we'd like to think managers give performance appraisals based on work results, studies prove supervisors give more favorable evaluations to employees who are likable. When it comes to layoffs, you’re less likely to be on the RIF list if you’re in good standing with your boss.

So how do you stay on your boss’s good side? We’ve put together a list of tangible things you can do if you want to know how to impress your boss at work.

How to Impress Your New Boss

You may be excited and a little anxious on your first day. You’ve got co-workers’ names to memorize and the challenge of finding your way around a new building. You also need to concentrate on how to impress your boss. On the first day of your job, you set the tone and establish that relationship.

Each supervisor has different things that trigger the good impression button, but here are five suggestions to start on the right foot with nearly any boss:

  • Take notes: You’re going to have a lot of info thrown at you. Write it down so you can refer to it later. Note the names and functions of people you’ll be working with. That way, you won’t have to ask your boss for information they’ve already covered, saving both of you precious time.
  • Ask smart questions: Asking questions shows interest. But refer to your notes or do some research first. When you do ask your boss a question, it will be an important and well-informed one.
  • Reach out to co-workers: Your boss will make initial introductions. Show initiative by following up with co-workers. Assimilating early into the team is how to impress your boss right away.
  • Hit the ground running: As soon as you can, ask your boss for your first assignment. Then, take the initiative and ask what’s next rather than waiting for another project.
  • Follow up: Again, refer to those notes and turn in first-day paperwork and assignments early. Respond to “think abouts”—problems or projects the boss mentioned in passing: “After you’ve gotten settled, I’d like you to think about how we can clean up the XYZ spreadsheets.”

10 Ways to Continue Making a Good Impression on Your Boss

After that first day of good impressions, keep up the momentum. Your boss will continue to evaluate you the first few weeks to validate that you were a good hiring decision. Follow these 10 suggestions for how to impress your boss to continue the good vibes:

  1. Arrive early and stay late
  2. Show up
  3. Be vested
  4. Be copacetic
  5. Walk quickly
  6. Check your baggage at the door
  7. Never present a problem without a solution
  8. Stay organized
  9. Know your boss
  10. Prove you’re a team player

1. Arrive Early and Stay Late

Arriving early and staying late demonstrates your work ethic. If you’re at your desk (or online) before your boss arrives and when they leave, they’re sure to know you’re there. You don’t want to find out the boss has been looking for you before you showed up.

2. Show Up

Speaking of showing up, be visible. Don’t call off work unless it’s a true emergency. Participate in company events, meetings, etc., even if they are “optional.” Be punctual to meetings. It shows enthusiasm for your job and that you want to be part of the team.

3. Be Vested

Show you are fully focused on your job while at work. Save personal work and phone calls for your break or lunch—and do it away from your desk. Show up to meetings prepared and give your full attention by turning off your phone, asking questions, and speaking up when the boss asks for input. If you’re working from home, be accessible and don't use the company laptop for personal work or web surfing.

4. Be Copacetic

Have a pleasant attitude, so people want to be around you. Don’t be the guy that stumbles in every week complaining that it’s Monday, he’s got too much work, and company policies are stupid. Embrace a positive attitude. If you genuinely don’t like your boss or job, quietly look for another one.

5. Walk Quickly and With Intention

Whether you’re briefly speaking to a co-worker, getting coffee, or heading to and from the restroom, use a brisk pace. Don’t stroll aimlessly or loiter. Keep on the move, and you’ll look busy and hard working. Your boss will get the impression that you’re focused and productive.

6. Check Your Baggage at the Door

Don’t share everything. That’s definitely not how to impress your boss. They don’t have time to deal with your drama, and you may leave the impression you can’t do your job because you’re distracted.

7. Never Present a Problem Without a Solution

Telling your boss about a problem adds it to their already long list. Instead, find a solution and present it with the problem, and you’ll be known as an ideas person who takes initiative.

8. Stay Organized

Find a system to keep track of everything you're working on and know when it’s due. It’s not your boss’s job to police your workload. If you work in an office, keep your desk tidy so it looks like you can easily find things.

9. Know Your Boss

Make your boss’s priorities your priorities. Even if you think your way is better, do things their way from start to finish the first time and then suggest changes once you’ve proven yourself. For example, want to know how to give a killer presentation to impress your boss? Ask them what they want you to cover, and then do it. Deliver work in the way your boss prefers, whether it’s a PowerPoint deck, written report, or by talking through the results.

10. Prove You’re a Team Player

Chances are, your boss asked if you were “team-oriented” when you interviewed. Show you’re a good team member by helping and supporting your co-workers. One of the best ways to figure out how to impress your boss is to impress your team.

Develop Impressive Work Habits to Keep Your Career on an Upward Track

You may have noticed that our suggestions for how to impress your boss will also make you a good employee long-term, wherever you work. And from your graduation date until your last job move, Monster is by your side with resources to help you navigate the world of work. Stay in touch with us by filling out a Monster profile. We’ll send you career advice based on your preferences and make your info and resume available to recruiters who have job opportunities to share with you.