After months of searching, you’ve finally been hired for that “dream” job. Now, the only thing left to do is actually keep it for an extended period of time.

Courtesy: pwinsure.com

Courtesy: pwinsure.com

A company recruiter comparing a resume with 10 jobs over a three-year period with one featuring just two or three quality positions over a 10 year span has a pretty easy task in front of them.

They’ll almost always go with their instinct telling them the candidate that has demonstrated stability in his/her career will continue down that path and remain with their company for years to come. This is because as difficult as it may be to grow out of negative personal traits accumulated over the years, it’s probably even harder to shed bad working habits.

The one thing you need to keep in mind if this is a job you really want to keep for a long time, is that being “smart” outweighs being “right.” A cardinal rule in business–and life in general, is that you don’t always have to be “right,” but if you’re smart most of the time, things should work out in your favor.

Here’s a list of the top 5 tips for keeping a job I’ve compiled based on years of experience:

1.  Follow directions.

Sounds easy, right? It’s definitely not. It takes patience, experience and practice to do exactly what’s expected of you. In some cases, companies don’t even want you taking extra initiative. They prefer an employee who gets the job done well and on time to one who’s always scheming and coming up with ideas that don’t necessarily fit the company agenda. Even if you’re way overqualified, they might not want you rubbing it into their face–after all, that means you’ll be asking for a raise pretty soon…

2.  Don’t talk too much.

You’re on your first day at work and dying to socialize. You tell the girl in the cubicle next to you how hard it’s been for you to find love. Only you don’t realize she’s going through a divorce straight out of “Silence of the Lambs.” Next thing you know, you have a one-way ticket home as compensation for your services. Not saying anything leaves you out of harms way. Talking too much can you get killed…or fired.

*Talking politics or sex will get you killed…..or fired.

3.  Create value.

You need to demonstrate why it makes sense for the company to keep you. They’re paying you good money. It’s up to you to show them why they’re doing the right thing. Creating value means being the best at what you do. It means doing things others aren’t capable of doing, i.e. being “indispensable.”

4.  Stay excited.

It’s your first day at work and you’re jacked. Nothing has ever felt this good. Now, imagine yourself 3-4 months into the job. Another long day at the office. You wish you were on a deserted island with a Kardashian. You need to make yourself excited about your job even if it’s been 5 years since that first day. If you can’t, maybe it’s not the right position for you.

5.  Don’t be late.

Coming to work late or leaving early is one of those pet-peeves employers tend to have that doesn’t necessarily have to do with job performance. You can be late all you want and still do a better job than everyone else. It doesn’t matter. Tardiness and unexcused absences can (and usually do) make the difference between getting fired and receiving a raise.

*This includes getting your assignments done on time and showing up a few minutes early for the interview.