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9 Rules for Being a Stellar Employee

Grade point averages, volunteer work, and other standard resume features can only tell you so much about a person. In the real world, employers are looking for more than an impressive resume; they want an impressive employee. Becoming that person requires nine essential traits, all of which contribute to earning brownie points from your boss.

stellar employee

The Top 9 Ways to Impress Your Boss

Realistically, there are dozens of different ways to make a positive impression on your boss, but these are the nine most important:

Be reliable. Put simply, do what you promise. When you say you’ll be somewhere, get there on time. When you say you’ll do something, follow through with it. As a reliable employee, you can separate yourself from the majority of your peers. Employers are looking for people they can count on, and your dependability will determine your value.

Show passion. Unless your boss is extremely cold and calculated, he or she likely wants employees who exhibit passion and enthusiasm. Passion shows you care about your responsibilities and are working for more than a paycheck. Show passion by going the extra mile and completing tasks with a positive attitude.

Honesty matters. While the business world can be cutthroat and fierce, employers almost always respect honesty and integrity. It makes them feel good about delegating responsibilities and provides a sense of security. According to a representative at, “The best employees have the courage to speak out when something isn’t right.” You can show your character by being as open and honest as possible, even when it’s not the easiest thing to do.

Continue to improve. While a company hires you based on your existing skillset and past experiences, they expect you to improve over time. Keep your boss happy by showing him or her you are committed to steady growth. Enhance the skills you already have, add complementary skills, and never settle for average.

Take action. If there is one thing every boss hates, it’s having to hold their employees’ hands every step of the way. You can make a positive impression by being proactive and engaged at all times. Find ways to complete tasks without being told, and avoid constant babysitting.

Beat deadlines. This goes hand in hand with being reliable. Instead of simply meeting deadlines, try your hand at beating deadlines – consistently. This is something your boss will take notice of and will likely land you better opportunities for more responsibility in the future. Whenever you can, remember to under-promise and over-deliver.

Stop pointing out problems. According to Lea McLeod, M.A., “Your job is not to constantly point out problems that arise, but rather, to proactively start thinking about what solutions could help address those challenges.” Which category do you fall into? Do you constantly point out problems, or do you suggest solutions? The latter is what employers look for in stellar employees.

Be confident. Have you ever taken the time to think about the responsibility your boss must have to run a successful company? If you were in his or her shoes, would you prefer to delegate tasks to timid or confident employees? Chances are you would choose the confident employee who exhibits signs of assuredness and strength. Start showing confidence and notice the difference.

Exhibit leadership. Last but certainly not least is leadership. Every employer wants employees who have what it takes to lead in high-pressure situations. Find ways to exhibit leadership and show your boss that you have what it takes to motivate and succeed.

While there are many other unique characteristics and traits employers are looking for, these nine should provide you with a good starting point. Start practicing today and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a stellar employee.