THE BLOG
07/09/2014 05:14 pm ET | Updated Sep 08, 2014

5 Ways to Impress a Tough Boss

Justin Horrocks via Getty Images

Did you start a new internship or job this summer? Congrats! You're probably killing it, being the hardworking collegiette you are. Unfortunately, not every employer is able to see that. Maybe you come into work every day, eager to do your best, and your boss doesn't even acknowledge your presence! Or maybe you thought you would blow her away with a stellar report, and instead she told you to do the whole thing over.

Whether your boss is ignoring you or just being plain mean, we came up with some tips for how to handle even the toughest of bosses.

1. Be the first one in the office

You may think that your boss is just crazy, but plenty of collegiettes have bad work habits that they aren't even aware of. Make sure you're totally blameless here before you start worrying about your boss's behavior. Vicki Salemi, career coach and author of Big Career in the Big City, says arriving early is one of the easiest ways to get on your boss's good side.

Showing up early and leaving late will show that you "don't focus on the clock in terms of a start or end time, but instead, that you mean business," Salemi says. When you set an alarm to wake you up, set another one for a few minutes before you need to leave for work. That way, you'll know when you need to wrap up your morning routine and get out the door.

When your smiling face is the first thing your boss sees when walking through the office door, he or she will know that your work is your top priority. Don't be the girl who walks in 10 minutes late because she stopped for coffee. Plan your mornings out and always leave extra time for public transportation issues and other unexpected delays.

2. Dress the part

Dressing appropriately for your office is an absolute must. If you're unsure what the culture is like at your job, always err on the side of overdressing. As they say, you should dress for the job you want, not the job you have!

Even if your office is super casual, there are definitely certain style choices you need to avoid. You don't want your boss to make snap judgments based on your appearance, so it's best to play it safe.

Stay away from ripped jeans, save your crop tops for the weekend and don't go overboard with your makeup. If you're ever in doubt about an outfit, then you probably shouldn't wear it. It might fly with the office culture, but it may prevent your manager from taking you seriously.

3. Focus on the job

When you're at work, your phone can be your worst enemy. There are few things worse than having your boss walk in on you taking a Snapchat. Even if you pick up your phone to check your email, you'll somehow end up scrolling through your Instagram feed for 20 minutes.

Nixing bad office behaviors like checking your phone will help your boss take you seriously. "Show that you're committed to the job by eliminating distractions," Salemi says. "Delete distracting apps like Twitter and Facebook from your phone, or, better yet, don't even take your phone out of your bag while you're in the office."

It only takes one time being caught on Facebook to ruin your boss's impression of you. Getting rid of the temptation to check your phone will help you to stand out as a dedicated employee.

4. Go all out

We're sure you're doing a great job at work, but if your boss is having trouble seeing it, it might be time to kick it into overdrive. Show your boss that you're the most valuable member of the team. "What boss, no matter how easy to please, wouldn't want an excellent team player reporting to them?" Salemi says. If you knock every project out of the park, "you'll make him or her look good," she says.

"As a manager, I've always been impressed when my employees ... worked beyond responsibilities on their job description and took initiative," Salemi says. So don't just do what you're told; do as much as you possibly can.

However, be careful not to burn yourself out. You don't need to voluntarily be in the office for 12 hours a day -- especially if you're unpaid. You just need to show that you really care. Take a few extra minutes to turn a report into an organized, easy-to-follow presentation. Volunteer to run errands or work on projects that aren't necessarily within your job description. Find little things here and there that you can pick up in addition to your standard workload.

A big part of giving it your all is not waiting to be assigned a task; offer to help other team members with their assignments when you have downtime. Look for things to do and get them done before your boss can even ask you about them. The best way to satisfy your boss is to meet his or her needs before he or she is even aware of them!

5. Schedule a one-on-one meeting

If your boss never gives you any feedback, you might be feeling pretty frustrated. How are you supposed to know if you're on the right track when you're getting nothing but radio silence?

According to Tom Dezell, author of Networking for the Novice, Nervous, or Naïve Job Seeker, a lot of employers struggle when it comes to providing feedback for their employees. "It's perfectly acceptable during your 'learning curve' to ask others what the boss's style of providing feedback is," he says.

If you've asked around and it seems like your boss doesn't give feedback to anyone, then it's up to you to get some yourself. "If you learn that the lack of feedback is simply the boss's MO, request a meeting to clarify ways you can find out how well you're doing," Dezell says.

This is just how some managers work; everyone has a different style. "Don't take it personally, and don't let them get you down," says Nicole Samartino, programming and community manager at FindSpark, a community for young creatives. "Actively set up a meeting to get feedback. Sometimes you need to sit the person down and demand their attention."

Approach your boss when he or she doesn't seem too busy. Or, if it's easier for you, send him or her an email; sometimes it's easier to ask for something when you can have time to compose your words. Explain that you're enjoying working with him or her and you feel that you could work even better with some input on how you're doing. Approach it as a way to improve your work, not a need to boost your ego or have your hand held. That way, your boss can see that your end goal is doing your best for the company.

Your boss may not even realize that he or she isn't giving you any input, and the only way to get any is to ask for it!

See more ways to impress your supervisor at Hercampus.com!

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