Still the best advice: be on time, neat, courteous
''While it sounds like an old-fashioned, Puritan sermon, the fact still remains that success in your job depends upon working hard, trying to be as effective as possible, and developing a reputation for being honest,'' writes Richard H. Buskirk in ''Your Career: How to Plan It - How to Manage It - How to Change It'' (CBI Publishing Company Inc., Boston, 1980, $10.95).
While people are consuming career advice manuals and looking into the intricacies of Japanese management systems and cafeteria-style benefits packages , employees who want to get ahead are often overlooking the business fundamentals, say the experts.
''Such innocuous 'tasks' as coming to work on time every day, looking reasonably neat, being friendly and courteous to fellow employees and clients, and keeping your work space relatively clean can make a big impression on your supervisor-employer,'' according to Adele Lewis, William Lewis, and Steven Radlauer in ''How to Choose, Change, Advance Your Career'' (Barron's Educational Series Inc., Woodbury, N.Y.).
''Of course, none of this makes any difference if you are not getting your work done. However, assuming that you are doing a reasonably good job with your work, paying attention to these fundamentals practically guarantees you a place in the organizational 'fast lane' when it comes time for raises and promotions, '' they write.
Richard Jacobson, international president of the Administrative Management Society, says the workplace is changing so dramatically with the onset of high-technology equipment that the professional needs to ''develop a cutting-edge awareness of what is new in his or her field. A professional is a person who has mastered staying ahead, getting on top of events before they get on top of you.''
Being professional means learning to view change as opportunity, and becoming conversant with those changes. ''Corporations are ripe for severe paring right now,'' he warns, ''and the individual who is not prepared for change, who is not acting professional, will be the first to get pared.''
Such ''professionalism'' cuts across all occupations, he believes. ''There are professional car mechanics as well as amateur. Which kind would you take your car to?'' he asks.
The professional, writes Mr. Buskirk, understands the fundamental things bosses expect, like work. ''The most valuable image you can develop is that of getting the job done, no matter what. No excuses, no alibis. You get the job done.''
The professional also understands loyalty. ''Unfortunately, many times (the boss) expects more loyalty than is due,'' Mr. Buskirk admits.
''Most administrators feel it is very important that they have working for them people who are reasonably loyal to them, and in whom they can reasonably confide with some degree of assurance that they are not going to be stabbed in the back,'' he explains.
In fact, say the experts, the true professional is the one with ''integrity, '' a word Mr. Buskirk defines as ''truthfulness, ethical behavior, morality, being true to one's own philosophies, refusal to sacrifice doing what is right for the sake of expediency, and keeping one's word.''
Such qualities are the ''fundamentals of career building,'' say the Lewises. ''There are no fundamental secrets that you don't already know,'' they say. ''Common sense is the key, and common sense is not something that only a PhD can grasp. It is really just a matter of being well-groomed, courteous, easy to get along with, and hardworking. If you are able to keep a level head in any situation, all the better.
''And when it's employee evaluation time and your supervisor starts weighing the pluses and minuses,'' say these experts, ''we're sure that you'll be right up there with the best of them - like cream rising to the top.''