Promote Yourself: 5 Key Ways to Stand Out at Work

Tuesday June 7th, 2016

shutterstock_360673847Competition in the workplace is stiff. In order to get that promotion you are looking at (or sometimes, even just to survive employment cuts), you need to stand out from the crowd. Getting the job done and staying out of trouble really isn’t enough. Standing out and getting noticed are the keys to successfully working up the ladder.

You’ve probably heard this before in some form, but perhaps you aren’t quite sure how exactly to go about standing out. Not to worry, this article will outline five ways that you can stand out in your workplace.

1. Stop focusing on your weaknesses

Most people are aware of their weaknesses because others have pointed them out and encouraged you to work on improving them. From your grade school teacher to your boss, it is not uncommon to have progress reports which barely touch on your strengths and then have a lengthy section that discusses “areas that can be improved”.

Rather than working endlessly to work on areas in which you may never fully excel, try focusing more of your energy on improving the areas in which you are already strong.

Think of it this way: if you were to keep your strengths at the same level while working tirelessly to improve your weaknesses, your strengths will be “good” and your weaknesses will become “okay.” This is common of many people in the workplace.

If you were to stop being so concerned about the areas “that could use improvement” and spend your time and energy honing your strengths, you could become even better in those areas. It is better to be great at one or several things than mediocre in many.

This is not to say that you should ignore all of your weaknesses. Some of those weaknesses, if strengthened, could help further improve your current strengths. Take some time to examine your “areas of improvement”. Ask yourself, “Does this weakness get in the way of my success?” If the answer to that question is yes, then you need to make improvements. If those areas of weakness are not necessary or helpful to your success, ignore them. They aren’t worth your time and effort.

When you are great at one thing, you can become the person in your workplace who is known for that area of expertise.

2. Speak up

Do you have any thoughts or concerns about your workplace? Maybe you have an idea about how you could improve productivity or increase safety. Don’t keep them to yourself; share them with your superiors.

Every idea you share might not be implemented, but keep those ideas and suggestions coming. By taking the time to provide thoughtful feedback and suggestions, you are showing that you are invested in the company and that you care about its success.

Another way that you can stand out is to speak up in meetings. Be sure to add some thoughtful insight at each meeting. You won’t be noticed by staying silent, but saying something just to speak may get you negative attention.

3. Do more than your job description

If you would like to be noticed and get a promotion, you need to do more than just what your current job entails. Even if you are good at what you do, all you are proving is that you are the perfect fit for the job you already have.

In order to climb that ladder and take a place of leadership, you need to prove that you have the interest of the company in mind. Take notice of things that need to be done and do them, whether they fall within your job description or not. Being a team player is a great way to stand out and get noticed.

4. Be personable

Of course it is important to be professional at work, but that does not mean that you need to stiff, boring, or cold. Show some of your personality and be personable.

Take time to get to know your co-workers and be relatable. A good leader is someone that can relate with others and has good people skills. Superiors that are looking to promote will be looking for candidates that interact well with others.

5. Work harder than everyone else

You may think that hard work is an obvious part of success, but how many people are really working hard? Not just staying busy, but really giving each and every task their best effort? The answer is probably not as many as you may think. Put your full attention and your best into each task you do, no matter how great or small. If you work harder than everyone around you, you will stand out and be noticed.

Sometimes promotions take some time, but stay the course and continue to do your best.