It is graduation month and it always makes me think of all the fresh new employees who will be entering the workforce in the coming months. It’s not always easy to get on the shortlist or stay on the short list of most valued employees. This week we offer three ways to help yourself stand out at work.
The national unemployment rate remains very low so most everyone who wants to work is working. On top of that, the US has another 1 million+ college graduates entering the workplace this year. All of this makes for a crowded talent pool that might bring challenges when you are trying to stand out. So what can you do to differentiate yourself?
First, if you are a new employee who is just starting in a job, check out these tips for Onboarding Yourself Using EQ. Employees who are recognized as invaluable and indispensable enjoy several benefits, some of which include faster promotions and better bonuses. Some have more influence over their work conditions and resources. Many have more opportunity to grow and succeed in a career. Being smart or having technical competence is not enough on its own, here are three things you can do to be unforgettable:
1. Think continuous improvement. Job skills have shelf-life and employers value employees who are keeping their skills current. They attend company provided training, they are active in their industry associations and keep up with trends. The most valued employees are seen as coachable. They are open to feedback and make behavioral changes as a result. They understand that jobs change, competitive landscapes change, and expectations change and they must adapt accordingly.
2. Don’t be high maintenance. High maintenance employees end up in conflicts with supervisors or coworkers. They drag others into their drama. They play the victim when they don’t get the promotion/raise/transfer they want. If you want to be considered a low maintenance employee you will need to show some resilience. Don’t be easily offended, don’t let your emotions undermine you, don’t get caught up in gossip. Do your job earnestly and be accountable and conscientious.
3. Own your work. Some people worry that by publicly sharing their contributions or accomplishments they will come across as arrogant. Others take credit for others’ work without giving it a second thought. There is nothing wrong with taking credit for your own work, being proud of what you have done, and not being afraid to let others know what you are capable of. When people mention you, you want them to think “confident," “well qualified," and “self-aware."
Any one of these traits can help you stand out from the crowd, but by demonstrating all three you really set yourself apart. It doesn’t matter what industry, job role, company size or length of service, you can begin using these techniques today and enhance the perception about how valuable you really are.