This is the second post in our series on how to accelerate your career in your twenties. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing lots of useful tips and advice in these articles to help you master the early stages of your career and rise quickly through the ranks. Next up, how to stand out from the crowd.
Getting one step ahead of your colleagues can be difficult in a big company, particularly if you’re surrounded by peers with similar aspirations. The key to getting ahead in your career is to get noticed. Of course, there are good and bad ways to get noticed, but when done in earnest and with genuine value to bring to the table, putting yourself in the spotlight can pay big. Here are just a few ways to go about getting noticed at work.
Dress the part, become the part
Some offices have strict dress codes with dress down Fridays. Others are slightly more relaxed and will let you rock up without a tie. Then there are creative offices where anything goes. Regardless of which bracket your company falls into, there are things you can do to stand out. Look at your contemporaries and superiors. What’s your boss wearing? Of course, we’re not suggesting you turn up wearing the same thing or try to look like your 60 year old line manager, but it’s important to make a similar level of effort. Doing so will earn their respect and make them more likely to pay attention to you. It will also demonstrate how serious you are about the role you’ve taken on. Appearances matter.
Can you see an obvious weakness in how your department is run? Spotted a huge opportunity to increase efficiency? Tell someone about it. Don’t be afraid to respectfully share your ideas and make suggestions, be it through a carefully worded email or a polite word by the water cooler. If you can make someone’s life easier without taking any of the credit, they’ll admire and respect you. Do it for enough people and you’ll start to stand out in no time.
Ask lots of questions
Not to the point of being annoying, but ask questions at every opportunity. This isn’t necessarily for your benefit, but more to highlight your interest in things your colleagues are working on. Whether you’re in a meeting or just relaxing in the staff area, if someone starts talking about something they’re working on, ask them about it. What’s their objective? How did they make it work? Did they encounter any issues and if so, can you help? Taking an active interest in company affairs will net you lots of stand-out points, and when the opportunity comes for a promotion in your department, you’ll likely be near the top of a few lists.
Standing out at work can be tough, especially if you work in a company with hundreds of other staff members, but start small. Start by getting the attention of those around you by helping them, talking to them and being a good co-worker, then expand your circle. Before you know it you’ll be standing head and shoulders above your peers.