If your talents, skills, potential and resourcefulness are going unnoticed at work while others with less contributions have been rewarded handsomely, it’s time to get noticed at work.
Here are five questions for you that will let know if you need to get noticed at work or not:
If all your answers to the questions above are ‘Yes’, then you have probably not mastered the fine art of increasing your visibility, showing the importance of your value and the value you add at your workplace.
At this stage, are you still asking why you should sell your skills or promote yourself at work?
Well, it is as simple as this, if you want to move up the corporate ladder at work and get noticed, yes you must promote yourself. When all’s said and done, we are all salespeople no matter what job we do and in virtually all aspects of our life.
When we attend job interviews, we sell ourselves to potential employers. When we want more business or customers, we sell our services and we are proud of our brand. Selling yourself simply refers to showing others what you are capable of promoting your skills and attributes to others.
This article is not about getting noticed at work for doing nothing; frankly, you have to be seen as adding value to the business, your team, your work etc. at work. My point here is that it does not mean that you should get busy advertising yourself needlessly. This would only make you unpopular if there is no substance behind your self-promotion.
You get noticed by indicating that you have contributed; showing the return on investment of your contributions, the value that you have added and that you are ready to contribute more in responsible ways.
Clearly, a great deal of tact is involved in this. The last thing you want is to find yourself labelled as a self promoter or an over-ambitious, low productivity master of self promotion. Truthfully, getting noticed at work begins with learning more about the business of your organization, the strategy, objectives, the different business units, how the organization functions, the products, processes, your network and knowing the people that matters in the organization.
After familiarizing yourself with all these aspects, your credibility quotient will increase. As you master all these, you have to remember that creativity, effective communication, and your record of previous achievements speak loudest.
If you don’t want to be one of the people who are just a face in the crowd as many companies these days prefer candidates who are outgoing, assertive, have a can do attitude, and can multi task, you have to change and cultivate new habits to help you become that perfect employee first.
It is not only your achievements which will speak for you but mostly your growth within the organization is often dictated by other people’s perception of you.
As it is important to get noticed at work, here are 25 tips to help get you at work:
1. Dress suitably and professionally: You must know this as first impression counts. As a well dressed employee, you will exude class and always be viewed with admiration. Dress professionally and appropriately as required for your specific position. You never know who might drop by.
Do not wear casual clothes to work unless you work in the warehouse at night. Make sure to look well groomed always. Getting noticed can be as simple as adjusting the way you dress. Invest in your appearance by having a few good suits, shoes, work shirts, smart dresses etc. After all, you are working for your salary, you may as well work on your appearance too to get you noticed so that you can earn more.
2. Always be punctual. Always be on time to work, meetings, functions, and never take a holiday when a major event is taking place at work unless it is absolutely necessary. You need to have the interest of your organization in mind. If the occasion is important to the organization, make it important for yourself too.
3. Respect yourself and others. This is a no-brainer; treat others as you want to be treated. If you respect yourself, other people will respect you. Make a habit of greeting others or exchanging pleasantries with those around you. Also be helpful and supportive to any new employees joining the organization. In addition, try making friends with people in the other departments too. Don’t shy away from complimenting a good job, initiative or innovation. If somebody is doing a good job tell them. Also mention this to people higher up the chain. Being fair and showing you care is a great way to set a good example.
4. Be willing share your knowledge and mentor. If you have an idea which is beneficial for the company go ahead and share it with your boss. Make your boss know that you appreciate him for the support given by him. Be ready to share your skills and knowledge. Don’t be selfish with your own knowledge. Sharing is a great way to be noticed at work. Sharing regularly with the same people may not have immediate major benefits but in the long-term you will reap the rewards and so will they.
5. Find your niche. Know your stuff, your worth and be confident about it. Check your list of attributes, your past accomplishments or your knowledge and ask yourself, ‘What am I really good at? Find out and make yourself the expert on the subjects. Become the “go to” person in your team or the office for those particular things.
6. At every opportunity, make your presence felt. Research things before hand and ask sensible questions. Be very visible at work, meetings, and at important functions and be available when your colleagues or boss needs you. Don’t just keep an act of busy working; inculcate the habit of adding value as well.
7. Communication. Remember that this is not just about how you talk only, your body language and conversation should reflect a confident you. Speak up concisely and clearly. Be assertive. People would not take you seriously if you act or talk like a comedian always or someone who is unsure or frightened.
8. Increase your visibility within the organization. You need to get known throughout the organization, because that’s a good route to future promotions and pay rises. So, do the work that adds value and not just the busy work. If you’re asked to head up a committee, for example, select people from other groups as well as people you think it would be helpful for you to know. Visit others in your office. Use the lunch breaks or the coffee times in the morning productively and always chat nicely to people. By doing this you can know what others are working on, see where you can join in or offer help and just simply chat about general but appropriate stuff.
9. Keep up to date with the world at large. You have the internet, join an online group that does work that’s valued by your employer, and use it to garner information. Know exactly who your company’s competitors are and what they are doing. Are you reading the right blogs? If not, look for and bookmark the correct blogs. Do some market research. What opportunities are out there for your company, team or business unit? Is there a gap that could be filled there? Join LinkedIn, go onto WordPress, start your own blog based on your interest – keep it professional, be on Twitter, follow the right SMEs or business and belong to the right professional bodies. Share your personal presentation slides on SlideShare. Read up on what your counterparts and other people are doing.
10. Give your reputation a kick. Your name needs to be seen and heard. Try to start putting your name to more things – projects, initiatives and proposals. Does your company have a blog or a forum? If so, start posting regularly. If your company is large enough to have an internal publication start offering stories for it.
11. Learn a new technology. The internet is in information overload, if you don’t know how to do something it is now as easy as opening up YouTube, eHow To, Google, Yahoo, or another new browser window on your computer and searching for the answer. Strive to learn something new every day no matter how small or big. The opportunity is there. Start teaching yourself the necessary skills now, and be vocal about it. It’s sure to heighten your profile at work.
12. Know the people that matters in the company. The only way to do this is by getting involved, volunteer for projects; be part of groups, participate in hosting events etc., because if you work for a company with over 10,000 staff, it is easy to get lost in the shuffle and will take awhile to get to know people and for them to know you. If you get involved in a project that involves several other departments, pretty soon, people from these other departments will be in meetings with you, contact you to discuss and you will learn more about what they are doing and they will know what you are capable of and what you do. By so doing, you will very quickly start to get known in parts of the company that would never have known you if not for your involvement in the project.
13. Step up. Yes, step up to the plate, challenge yourself, take on things. If an opportunity is offered and you have the ability to get the job done then, stand up and raise your hand high.
14. Make sure you get credit when credit is due. Ensure that you market yourself with any work that you do or any work that you send to others. It takes a few seconds to add your name to things like presentations, projects, reports etc. Your work shouldn’t be from an anonymous source. Ensure that your reports show that you wrote them and when possible make sure your boss and their bosses if possible see and know what you are doing. There is no better way to sell yourself than by consistently completing good work but no one will know it’s from you unless you let them know.
15. Prompt and promote cooperation. Remember that people like to know WIIFM (What is in it for me), so approach all negotiations with an attitude that allows you and others to win, you’ll be more effective at obtaining cooperation and ultimately getting what you need to get things done.
16. Be reliable. It is imperative that you are seen as responsible and reliable. Let your boss know that he can count on you. Be an expert in your field of work and brand yourself as invaluable to your organization. Remember that reliable employees are always taken care of when it comes to raises in pay and promotions. You must never leave work undone or postponed. Do the work that should be done immediately. Be thorough and complete every task before hand to create the impression of reliability. Meet your deadlines and it is better to under promise and over deliver on a consistent basis.
17. Speak up in meetings. Do not just speak for the sake of speaking but always contribute during meetings as this is a great way to sell yourself, share your knowledge, and get noticed by your boss and colleagues. If you have something to say, say it. Not saying anything and not getting involved in meetings can be misinterpreted by others as proof of lack of knowledge, indifference, or apathy on your part.
18. Be a leader more than you are a follower. There will be several opportunities that will lead to making a plan, executing and evaluating the plan. Try and take up the lead, the responsibility and the organizing but ensure that you do a good job.
19. Stay aware and updated. Read your company and industry related publications, reports and magazines and be aware of any market trends. Be sure to keep track of what is happening in the organization and be very open to learn new things and be at the forefront of innovation and new technologies.
20. Know your achievements and keep a record of them. Ensure that you aware of the importance of your deliverables and keep all the positive feedback you receive from individuals. Above all, keep a record of your achievements to share with people as necessary.
21. Perfect your pitch. The current recession means that now, more than ever, professionals, including doctors, lawyers and accountants are being forced to sell their skills. One of the most important things you can do is learn how to speak about your skills and attributes to others. Being able to sum up unique aspects of your skills in a way that excites others should be a fundamental skill that you possess.
Yet many people pay little attention to the continuing development of “their elevator pitch’ which is the quick, succinct summation of what you do. The elevator pitch, so named because it should last no longer than the average elevator ride is far too important to take casually. It’s one of the most effective methods available to reach others with a winning message. True, you may not actually be doing the pitching in an elevator, but even if your meeting is a planned, sit-down event, you should still be prepared to capture your audience’s attention quickly.
22. Correct undesirable habits and improve the positive ones. No one is perfect, so, what are your undesirable habits that are standing in your way? For instance, if you find yourself thinking, “I don’t want to gossip in the office anymore.” Yet, when the next person comes to your cubicle or during lunch time, you fall back into your old pattern. You then get angry or frustrated with yourself. One way to help break through the old pattern is to bring it to your conscious mind, and be ready to resolve the issue.
The first step is to clearly state your intention in a positive manner. There are a number of ways to do this. One method is to write down what it is you intend to change. Another method is to state your intentions and repeat these intentions silently to yourself whenever they come to your mind. Try various methods until you find what works best for you. For example, for gossiping, you may choose the affirmation, “I speak only kind words about others.” The reason it should be stated in a positive manner is because of the law of attraction and the power of intention; what you really focus on is what you draw unto yourself.
23. Take on an unpopular project. If there’s a high-profile project that’s scaring everyone else but has the potential to get you noticed and win you major brownie points if it succeeds, then, if you are sure of your ability to pull it through effectively, be bold to go for it. Even if you’re only 75% successful, you’ll still be noticed as a person willing to take on something challenging, tough, and risky but of importance to the business on. The trick is to under promise but over deliver.
24. Remember not to be jack of all trade but a master of none, so limit yourself. Choose your activities carefully, and focus on doing them well rather than trying to be visible all over the place. Your aim is to be seen as someone who’s on the way up, so start laying the groundwork as from today.
25. Be the mediator. If a dispute between two colleagues is causing a breakdown in communication in your project team or within your group, see if you can set up a formal meeting to discuss the issues. If you are not in a position to do this, speak to your boss about the ideas that you have to solve the problem. If you are very junior, you may come across as stepping on some toes which is not good, but it’s a good idea to keep in mind when you are in middle management. And if you master the art of inter-departmental communication, that rise should come quickly. However, if you are able to facilitate this, then, once you are all together, tell the arguers that you wish to clear the air by talking to them one at a time about the situation and then allowing the other to respond to what was just said. Remember, you have to remain impartial and encourage the arguers to come to a mutually-satisfactory resolution.
To conclude, selling yourself at work is about letting your peers and superiors know about your skills, the purpose you serve, the reasons why your role exist and important in the company. The person, who interacts seamlessly across teams and departments or within a group of people, would be a valued team member.
The staff whom a manager relies on to get things done is least likely to be forgotten or made redundant.
Feel free to add more tips to the ones above through your comments.