Finding Recognition at Work
Does it sometimes feel like your hard work isn't noticed?
Perhaps you do such good work on a regular basis that your manager takes you for granted. Maybe, because of this, you're no longer recognized and rewarded for your efforts as you once were.
In this article, we'll discuss strategies for getting noticed for the great work that you do. This, in turn, will help you to continue moving toward your career goals.
Why Try to Get Noticed?
You might be the best worker in your organization, and the one everyone wants on their team – but, if you remain largely unnoticed, you'll be passed up for new projects, additional responsibilities, awards, and promotions.
How to Get Noticed at Work
The following strategies will go a long way toward helping you get noticed at work.
Develop Specialist Skills
Do you consider yourself a "generalist" – someone who does many different things in different roles, or a "specialist" – someone who is an expert in one or two specific areas?
When an organization is in its infancy, it will often hire generalists, because they can perform in many different roles. As organizations grow, however, specialists are often hired to focus on key areas. This may leave the hard-working generalists feeling pushed aside and disempowered.
If you're a generalist, think strategically about what types of skills your organization needs. Work on building these skills to become a specialist. The more knowledgeable and skilful you become in a particular area, the more likely you are to be noticed for your work.
Remember that organizations also tend to look for people with "soft skills" – non-technical skills such as creative thinking, emotional intelligence, and conflict resolution. These are often as important as professional expertise. If you're thinking about becoming a specialist in a certain area, don't forget these important skills. Helping your boss resolve a major conflict within your team will get you noticed just as much as delivering a great presentation or sales report.
Get Out of the Shadows
It can be easy to stay in the background and keep your head down. But to get noticed, you'll need to take yourself out of the shadows.
A simple way to start is by making a conscious effort to talk more in meetings and on digital communications channels. Improving your network by joining events and socializing will also mean more people will get to know who you are. This can be daunting for some, but working on your self-confidence and communication skills will go a long way toward making this possible.
It's also important to get credit for your ideas. Sometimes, whether intentionally or unintentionally, your manager or colleagues may present your ideas as their own. If a person claims your ideas as their own in a meeting, gently but firmly correct the misstatement. It's important that you speak up. This might mean having a difficult conversation with your boss, but the situation will only get worse if you don't and your well-being will suffer.
Try to discover if it's happening to anyone else as well – often, a colleague or boss "borrows" ideas from several people, not just one. If you believe this is part of a wider problem, start to document instances when they occur.
Take on More Responsibilities
You can also get noticed in your organization by taking on more responsibilities whenever possible.
This doesn't mean that you should overwork yourself. But if you see a new project or role that will help you expand your skills, take advantage of it. Look out for projects that have high visibility within the organization, or that will show a significant impact on the bottom line.
This is particularly important with innovation and process improvement. Developing a reputation as an innovator or creative thinker can be valuable. So try to get assigned to projects where these skills are valued.
As you take on more responsibilities, make sure that you continue to do the core parts of your job well. If you fail to do this, you'll get noticed – but for all the wrong reasons!
Track Your Accomplishments
When you're working hard, it's easy to forget some of your achievements over the past six to 12 months.
Keep track of all your accomplishments within the organization. If clients or colleagues pay you compliments, write them down. If the compliment came in an email or social channel, take a screen shot. If you exceeded last quarter's sales goals, for instance, make a note of the statistics that prove it.
When it's time for your performance review, you'll now have hard evidence to prove to your boss what a great job you're doing. Then, when it's time to ask for a pay raise or promotion, you'll be in a better position to secure it.
More Tips on Getting Noticed
Here are a few more ideas for getting the people you work with to notice you:
- Make sure you're visible. This is an important way to get noticed at work, so try to speak up and contribute in meetings, volunteer for high-profile projects, and work on your public speaking skills.
And make time to catch up with your co-workers in person or online. See our article, Increasing Your Visibility, for more ways to be seen at work.
- Stay updated on your industry. Having commercial awareness of your wider industry improves decision making and problem solving, and makes you an even more valuable employee.
Consuming trade newsletters, blogs, podcasts, social media, and other relevant materials will keep you up-to-date on trends and technology. Even better, why not seek out opportunities to be a contributor?
- Find a mentor. Mentors can offer valuable advice and career coaching. They'll also serve as sponsors for you, within the company and further afield. Chances are that the mentor has been through the same situations that you're experiencing and can help you to navigate them successfully.
- Get involved with your organization's charitable causes. Volunteering for these activities – like running in a race or helping to organize a fundraising event – can help you build your network and raise your profile within the wider organization, while also contributing to a worthwhile cause.
People can often overlook your efforts, even if you consistently work hard. It's up to you to draw the spotlight, so that you can keep moving toward your career goals. To get noticed at work:
- Develop a specialization in areas that are important to your organization.
- Get out of the shadows by owning your work.
- Take on more responsibilities and volunteer for interesting projects.
- Track your accomplishments so you can prove your worth when you need to.
Also, consider finding a mentor and getting involved in charity events. Staying up-to-date on developments in your industry will improve your expertise – and value – to an organization. Finally, make sure you're visible by actively contributing to meetings and high-profile projects.
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