So you want to get ahead in your career? Join the club. Everyone is looking for ways to stand out and get noticed. If you’re worried about blending in with the crowd, it’s time to increase your visibility and raise your professional profile. Here’s a simple two-step process to do just that.
Step 1: Contribute More Value
Obviously, you want to get noticed for good things. Exceptional work that positively impacts the organization is the name of the game. Find ways to increase your value the company. You want every penny they pay you to provide a bigger return than the pennies they pay others.
To do this, you have to get creative. You can’t think exactly like everyone else. Look for opportunities to:
- Improve efficiency
- Improve the quality of work product
- Save money for the company
- Earn money for the company
- Fix problems
- Prevent future problems
You’re looking to achieve one (or more) of these six “value add” outcomes. In order to make that happen, approach every task, project, responsibility, etc. with a curious mind. Ask yourself questions like:
- How can I make this process more efficient?
- How can I create better results?
- How can I use my resources more effectively?
- How can I make this more profitable?
- How can I turn this around?
- How can I make this more sustainable?
Whenever possible, take action on your own. Don’t look for anyone to hold your hand here. Don’t wait for instruction or approval (unless not doing so would be detrimental). Remember that the most valuable employees are those who think for themselves, have the ability to work autonomously, and create outstanding results in the process.
Whenever you accomplish one of the 6 “value add” outcomes listed above, take note of your success and the measurable impact your actions had on the organization. Then, it’s time for step 2.
Step 2: Get Vocal
Don’t keep your added value to yourself. In order to raise your profile, people need to know what you achieved and why it’s important. No one goes digging to learn this stuff. You, and you alone, are responsible for promoting your value. Be an advocate for yourself.
Get comfortable sharing your accomplishments with others, especially those above you. Look for opportunities to discuss what you did and how you did it.
If self-promotion creates great discomfort for you, practice creating short “brag bites”, a term coined by Peggy Klaus, author of Brag: The Art of Tooting Your Own Horn Without Blowing It. Klaus defines brag bites as, “snippets of information about you, expressed in a short pithy manner.”
By creating and practicing “brag bites” that describe your recent accomplishments, you’ll have quick, easy responses whenever you find yourself in the lunchroom, or on an elevator with a higher-up who casually asks, “What have you been up to?”
While this two-step process is “simple,” it’s not necessarily easy. It takes effort, commitment, creativity, and guts. But it’s also a worthwhile endeavor for your career—especially once you start reaping the rewards.