It’s a dog eat dog world out there, but that doesn’t mean you have to bark and bite too while getting ahead.
It’s not just employees that sometimes get overlooked in the busy buzz of office life. Entrepreneurs and founding teams also need to make their mark and stand-out so that progress and potential will be achieved.
Of course, the best way to get your work noticed by your boss or your clients and customers is to be exceptionally good at your job. And the best way to excel at your job is to focus on your work and ignore all of the outside noise; the gossip, games, politics and time wasting that goes on around actual work. These things aren’t work. Keep your focus and you’ll have a huge advantage over colleagues and competition. Here are four honest (and proven!) ways to get your work noticed.
1. Enjoy what you’re doing:
“Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.”
If you don’t enjoy what you do for a living, then what is the point in doing it? My grandmother, who lived to the age of 102, held a high level position in department store management for 40 years. Before she took that job, earlier in her career, she worked in shops my great-grandfather owned. She loved her work and always advised us to do something we truly enjoy because then it just didn’t feel like tasks when its something you also really love (and are good at!).
When people enjoy their work, stressful situations lighten, there’s a bounce in their step and a genuine smile appears on faces. Taking pride in what you do, enjoying the daily challenges and looking forward to each day with enthusiasm is a competitive advantage. People who enjoy what they do, sparkle in a crowded room full of people who are just there for the paychecks.
2. Carve out a niche for yourself:
Owning a niche means spotting a useful area that no one else around you has taken yet. It might be as simple as being the best person in your office with Excel or the most effective proposal writer. Or it could mean being brilliant with critical operational issues like employee schedules or your team’s budget. Maybe you offer to edit the new internal newsletter Human Resources is launching. Owning a niche helps you stand out from the herd and gives you a superior quality. If you’re an employee, remember when managers get together they talk. If your name comes up it will be in this sort of positive sentence; “I see that Taylor has done some outstanding work on this project.”
3. Know something others don’t:
Knowing something other people in your professional circle don’t puts you at an advantage. It could be that the SaaS startup you work for is looking to expand to South America and you earned a minor in Spanish at university and can help implement the expansion roadmap. Or perhaps you realize that there is a product gap in the market and your unique combination of developer skills, business acumen and that degree in sociology makes you the best person to form a company so you can create a new product and fill it. Know your strengths and weaknesses and decide where your specialist knowledge will be useful. Whatever you decide, make sure it is interesting, topical and relevant. This way others will come to you when they need your knowledge (or product/service if you’ve decided to take the entrepreneurial leap!).
4. Be 100% committed:
If you want to succeed in your career, either as an employee or entrepreneur, you are going to have to work a lot harder than your colleagues. They can coast but you can’t. To make it to the top, you have to be 100% committed.
There is no real holiday time for those who want to get noticed and advance. Days off are spent expanding skills, reading industry articles and learning everything that can be digested so that you can climb to the top and stay there. If you’re onboard with point #1 — enjoying what you do — then this won’t seem like work either.
Continuous professional growth is fun IF you’re passionate about what you do. Being vigilant, dedicated and prepared will build you into one powerful force in your field. Is it possible? Is it worth it? You bet. You can ask highly successful people if they regret their journey and all the hard work: the Richard Bransons, Barack Obamas, and Bill Gates’ of the world. But you don’t even have to look that far up the wealth ladder. Ask any entrepreneur in your local area: the coffee shop owner, dry cleaner, account, architect, physiotherapist, or the mechanic who owns the busiest shop — they are all success stories too and for the ones who truly love what they do — they will always tell you that all the hard work was worth it AND it’s keeping their doors open so they can continue serve happy customers like you.