Working long hours? Long over-due promotion? sound familiar? Thousands of people work every day in their offices diligently and professionally but don’t seem to get anywhere whilst others seem to zip up the ladder with seeming ease. The reason: they just don’t get noticed or simply don’t stick in the memory. Their response tends to be simply working even harder and longer to try and change the situation but it simply doesn’t work.
Here are some top suggestions for getting yourself noticed at work:
1. Don’t (just) do your job
Doing your job is what you’re paid for; it’s the bare minimum your employer expects. Over time you’ll be rewarded for the quality of your reports, projects, hitting targets etc but it’s a pretty inefficient way of going about getting noticed and standing out from everyone else.
Why not become that guy who always organises the world cup sweep stake? organises the charity collections? or arranges social events? Whilst often seen as the function of admin staff or juniors, any manager worth their salt knows that these roles require planning, management, and delivery skills. Anyone performing one of these roles to a high standard always stands out.
2. Be a Steady Eddy
Become the guy that delivers on his promises. If you promise to do something and follow through on it then you are more likely to be remembered for the next time an opportunity comes up. Managers like people that they can give a task to knowing that their involvement therein will be minimal. They don’t want to spend their time troubleshooting and cleaning up after you’ve failed to deliver on what was agreed.
Being reliable is a skill in itself. If you promise the world in an effort to please then you’re only setting yourself for a nasty fall. Know your limits and don’t take on too much. Being solid and reliable might not be the most glamorous of traits but if you look around the office you may notice that those traits are not always available in abundance.
3. Be a Floor Walker
Not a Jedi knight but a friendly approachable guy around the office. Consciously take 10-15 minutes a week to talk briefly with people in the company that you don’t normally interact with as part of your job.
It doesn’t have to be important stuff but it shows people that you’re interested in them and also makes you more likely to stick in their memory. If it’s a more senior person then you may be in their mind when the next great opportunity comes up, if they are less senior then you never know when you might need a favour or they may pass you a good lead or idea.
It’s seems crazy that people can work in an open plan office for years and never know anything about the person at the desk a few metres away. Yet it happens at offices all over the world all the time.
4. E-Mail (Almost) Everyone
The most effective tool you have at your disposal for letting others know what a great job you’re doing is the ‘cc:’ line on you e-mail. It’s a license to include anyone in any way connected with the project. Even if your boss doesn’t even read the email, they will still see your name popping up in their inbox which will keep you in their minds and also reinforce the impression that you are busying away on the project.
Never be afraid to bother people with the ‘cc:’ as most prefer to be kept up to speed rather than risk missing something vital. If you are e-mailing someone too often then they’ll usually politely let you know.
5. Be a Knowledge Hoover
Knowledge is something you start without and acquire over time. If you don’t have it then you’re at a disadvantage and the only way to get it is through experience and effort. Which explains why generally, the more experience you have then the more you tend to be worth to an employer.
Knowledge is great, it’s a very powerful tool, but it is of limited use when it comes to getting noticed. In order to do that, knowledge needs to be coupled with something else: the desire to acquire more.
Mrs A knows a lot and takes little interest in learning anything new.
Mr/Mrs B knows a lot and takes a lot of interest in learning new things, asks plenty of questions, and is keen to take time to discuss different ideas and options
Mr/Mrs A = Insurance For Subcontractors Knowledge
Mr/Mrs B = Knowledge PLUS Desire to Acquire More
Both individuals in the example possess plenty of knowledge and arguably this is FAR more important as it’s what allows them to do their job effectively. It’s the tool they need to do their job and get paid each month. Yet you probably know an ‘A’ and ‘B’ in your office and there is no need to explain who is more highly thought of and talked about.
So don’t just listen to a colleague, engage them. Don’t just nod politely, ask ‘why?’ don’t just scan the training material, absorb it.
6. Play Teacher
Whilst the official line is ‘those who can, teach’ the in-joke in our, and many other, industries is that ‘those who can’t, teach’. Whilst this may be unfair to the teaching profession, it nevertheless highlights that ‘doing’ is generally considered a more worthy activity than instructing others on how to. Hence, In-house training and education at many companies falls well short of the mark.
However, children are our future, or rather graduates are. So why not take one (or a few) under your wing and impart all that knowledge to them through either a mentoring programme or through formal training sessions. No formal mechanism for this at your company? Go to talk to the boss about setting one up. You want to get noticed don’t you?
What’s in it for you? Increased job satisfaction, loyalty from less experienced colleagues, impress yourself with how much you know (hopefully), practice presenting and public speaking skills, a change in your typical working day, as well as getting noticed as someone knowledgeable and who can guide others (two key management skills).
7. Up, Up, Upskill and Away…
Upskilling involves an individual making the effort to obtain a new skill or to significantly increase their skills in a specific area. That could mean taking on a significant new commitment like an MSc or MBA or simply attending night school or an online course in Microsoft Office to improve your productivity. Either way, taking this on will not only get you noticed but further benefits will follow when you put your new found skills into action in your job.
Upskilling can be at its most beneficial when it’s combined with a niche i.e. you obtain a skill that no one else in the company/department has. You become the expert by default.
For example, you may take a short course on marketing or desktop publishing for beginners. You may not be sufficiently qualified at the end of the course to able to get yourself a job with a big PR agency but you may find that in your small construction company you now know infinitely more than anyone else on that topic. So you become ‘expert by default’ and soon opportunities to get involved in BD, tender bids, newsletters will all come your way.
It is true to say that ‘In the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king’
8. Attend Internal Social Events
You can work all day, every day, and do a great job but it’s worthless in terms of getting rewarded for it if nobody is aware of your efforts. Office socials and after work drinks are a great way to socialise with people from the office but also a good chance for self-publicity.
In-between the discussions of the weekends football fixtures and the latest office romance, take the opportunity to mention a difficult problem you solved last week or some positive feedback you receive from a client or customer. You never know who is listening.
Don’t be afraid to sell yourself. If you don’t – then who else will?
9. Dress to Impress
I knew of a facilities manager who wore extremely ‘loud’ shirts. These weren’t just ‘Friday shirts’, they were more akin to a purchase made shortly before a two week beach holiday in Hawaii. Whilst the assumption was that the manager was simply a bad dresser and/or colour blind, when asked, he explained that he did it to make himself clearly recognisable and easier for colleagues, consultants, contractors etc to find him.
And it worked; everyone seemed to know this guy even if not by name then by ‘… oh is that the guy with the bright shirts, yeah I know him’. The point being Home Builders In South Florida that you don’t have to go to extremes (see article image) but a dress sense quirk when done correctly can be a quick win in-terms of raising your profile.
10. Learn to Say Yes to opportunities
Ever ducked out of something or turned it down because it’s beneath you? you’re too busy? not your area of expertise and so on? All very valid reasons for saying no but how many times have these been not reasons but excuses? How often is the real reason to say no in fact the fear of being taken out of your comfort zone or, even worse, simply the fear of failure?
Companies, especially the big multinational firms and contractors, tend to be risk averse and keen to protect their images (and PI insurance). Because of this, the danger in many companies is that you won’t be given opportunities until you are more than ready to handle them. So the logic says that for any opportunities for new projects, or new responsibilities that are offered, the default answer should be ‘yes please’. You already have to work against your employers risk adverse approach; don’t be your own worse enemy as well.
Ask yourself what’s the worse that could happen? You may be taking on a new project/role but you still have the support of managers and colleagues around, and its not likely that you’re the first person ever to do the role or type of project in the history of the company. Even if the opportunity turns out not to be right for you, you’re likely to be better off in the long run for having given it a try.
So there it is, our guide to getting noticed. Before putting any of the above into action just ensure sure you actually want to get noticed. Plenty of people are doing a great jobs and yet choose to fly very happily under the radar everyday. Good luck to them, there’s a lot to be said for that approach.
And if you’re going to get noticed make sure it’s combined with being good at the job itself which is absolutely fundamental. Getting yourself noticed for being a useless employee is probably not going to enhance your career prospects – perhaps quite the opposite.