Employers assume that those they hire know how to perform certain tasks. For example your boss will expect you to know how to write a professional email and answer the phone properly. Those tasks are pretty simple, but others are a bit more complicated—for example apologizing for a mistake. That's not something everyone knows how to do. Here are 8 tasks, some simple and some not, that everyone must master:
1.Sending a Professional Email
If you are under the age of 30 it's very likely you have been using email since you've known how to write. What you may not know is that there's a big difference between sending email to your friends and using this medium for work-related correspondence. For example, you may write in all lowercase letters, use slang and abbreviations, and perhaps even let misspellings and bad grammar go by, when sending email to your friends. Those are some of the "do nots" to which you should be attentive when corresponding with coworkers, your boss or clients.
2.Writing a Memo or Business Letter
It's hard to imagine having to send a paper copy of a memo or letter instead of an email, but it could happen. In case it ever does, you should know how to do it properly.
3.Answering the Telephoned and Making Phone Calls
You've been making and receiving phone calls your entire life. Of course you know how to do this very simple task: you pick up the phone and say hello (or if making a call, you ask for the person to whom you want to speak). That's fine for personal phone calls but not for business calls. When you answer a call you should always identify yourself by name and state the name of your department or company. Give your name to the person who answers the phone when you are the caller and then tell him or her who you are trying to reach.
When you meet someone new it is polite to introduce yourself to him or her. It is also polite to introduce people to one another. In a work-related situation it is always best to use first and last names. For example, say "Hello. I'm Mary Smith" when you meet someone for the first time. You can also do this when you run into someone you've met before but whose name you don't remember. In that case, you can add "I know we've met before but I'm afraid I've forgotten your name." Chances are they don't remember yours either! When introducing others say, for example, "John Jones, I'd like you to meet Peter Smith."
5.Taking Minutes at a Meeting
Many jobs involve attending meetings, at least occasionally. Often it is required that written records, called minutes. At some point, the person running the meeting may turn to you to take these minutes. This will require keeping track of attendees and carefully taking notes of all discussions. You will also have to type up the minutes after the meeting.
6.Writing a 'To Do' List
Most jobs involve juggling multiple tasks. The best way to keep track of all of them is to keep a to do list. Write down all the tasks for which you are responsible, prioritized by the order in which you must complete them. Include due dates. Whether you use a smart phone app, computer software or a piece of paper, make sure you can either check off or cross out items as you complete them.
7.Apologizing for a Mistake
In order to apologize for a mistake, you will have to admit you made it. That's a hard thing to do but it's necessary. It is imperative that you act quickly—as soon as you realize your error, talk to your boss or whomever it will effect. Try to have a plan in mind to correct the mistake.
8.Calling in Sick
No one likes getting sick but, even more than that, most people hate calling in sick. A precarious job market has led us to believe our presence at the office (or wherever your workplace happens to be) is of the utmost importance. While it is true that you shouldn't take sick days unnecessarily, you should try to avoid infecting your coworkers—stay home if you have a something they could catch! A phone call is usually the best way to inform your boss of your absence but make sure to follow your employer's notification procedures.