“Being a part of success is more important than being personally indispensable.” Pat Riley
Every employee can improve their standing in the workplace by adhering to certain adaptable work place practices. These ideas may seem obvious at first glance but implementing them in ones daily routine is not easy. It requires discipline and a conviction that your contribution can make a difference in your work environment and in your career advancement. Use these strategies to reinvent yourself and become what recruiters refer to as “top talent.”
The first thing I tell my clients who are starting a new job is this: Your main job should be to KEEP your job! At first glance, this statement may not seem so profound but in today’s economy it is a real challenge for many employees. It’s important to consider every day at work why your company needs you and what you can do above and beyond in completing your prescribed job description to take on more capacity and add value to your firm.
Here’s a general rule about the most successful employees: They come early and stay late, try harder, and continually advance their skills. The most valued employees don’t limit themselves (nor their work) by their job description. They tend to be flexible and find creative ways to help their department succeed.
Employees who consistently receive top performance reviews and promotions look for ways to ease their boss’s stress and step in to help out in with those tasks without stepping on (his) or other employee’s toes. The person who keeps his or her job demonstrates willingness to assume responsibility for a task that no one else wants to do or is so challenging that most couldn’t do. They don’t become complacent and continually work on observing and improving things around them in order to keep their job. They recognize that no one is completely indispensable to they work harder at maintaining a favorable reputation.
Anita Bruzzese, Gannet, a nationally syndicated columnist on the workplace and award-winning journalist explains how to pitch your strengths in a performance review.
She emphasizes that the presentation should include:
• Your contributions. Use bullet points to highlight your achievements in the last year. Relate them directly to your written objectives for the review period.
• Your willingness to pitch in. List areas where you could contribute more to the organization or department. This is a chance to mention special projects, cost-saving ideas or taking on more responsibilities.
• Your goals. Write where you’d like your career to go within the company, noting any promotions you want to achieve.
• Your suggestions for the next year’s objectives
Sherri Edwards, Consultant/Trainer/Coach at Resource Maximizer and Forbes contributor outlines key areas to focus on that are the key to keeping your dream job: These two stand out in my mind.
Pay attention. Make sure that details regarding your deliverables are not slipping through the cracks. A series of little mistakes creates as much of a lasting impression as one BIG mistake. Watch for verbal and nonverbal cues from others when speaking or presenting information. Are people smiling? Are they responsive? If no, then ask what you have missed. Don’t pretend nothing happened.
Stay connected to your network. It is easy to get settled into a routine and believe you will never have to look for another job. Don’t be fooled by momentary comfort. The world continues to change and there are no guarantees for anyone’s job security. Your network will keep you on top of what’s new, what’s outdated, relevant needs in other arenas and in-demand skills. Don’t leave your network behind just because you think you have your “dream job”.
I would add to Sherri’s advice a few more ways to get enlisted as a top performer in your company:
Maintain Consistency: Sustain your performance so you’re perceived as dependable and achievement oriented. Keep raising the bar for yourself.
Put Your Company First: Build on your performance by demonstrating that you place the company’s objectives, values and mission before your own. Don’t be a yes man be a company man…know the difference!
Anticipate problems and needs of management
Volunteer for training and new assignments, even undesirable ones
Avoid temptation to publicly criticize your company
Pick out one or more things in your job to do better than anyone else. Offer to become involved in areas that need improvement so you can establish yourself as the “go-to” person. That will help managers remember you favorably.
Be a team player Always support your boss and your team. Don’t get involved in petty jurisdictional fights that could derail the overall success of a program or the organization. However, remain as independent as possible in choosing your role on the team or what part of the project you’ll be responsible for.
Try to save your employer money. Focusing on the bottom line is an excellent way to set you apart from other employees. For instance, if your company is looking to upgrade its bookkeeping software program and you’re aware of a cheaper option that’s just as effective as the replacement being proposed, don’t be afraid to make that recommendation. And if you’re well versed in the program, offer to train your coworkers instead of having the organization pay to bring someone in. Saving your company money makes it more likely you’ll be seen as one of its vital employees
Become an expert
Become an expert in some essential field of activity. Become THE expert. Get yourself known as the first and obvious person to turn to on anything to do with your chosen subject. Read all you can about the subject. Speak on the subject whenever you are given the chance, at meetings and in presentations. Publish internal reports, making sure that the circulation list includes the top management.
Make sure that your subject is essential to the company – to its manufacturing process, to its sales methods, to its essential competitive edge, to its debt collection. Whatever it is, make sure that you are widely accepted as THE expert.
Above and beyond all this advice, make it your driving goal to add value to your team.
Your main goal should be to add value wherever you can!
Consistently meet your assigned goals while also continuously adding to that capacity. Watch the boss for cues for what she needs to get done that either isn’t getting done right or quickly enough by other people. Try to make an impact and seek results that are quantitative in nature. Make your focus about them more than about you! Stand out by learning to tune in to the ways you can apply your sills to assist them with specific challenges they face. Use the mantra “I’m just happy to have a job” combined with “What can I do to make this place better today?” Adopt this outlook and you’ll be more satisfied with your work and improve your rapport with your staff and your superiors.
Beth Kuhel, M.B.A., C.E.I.P (Certified Employment Interview Professional)
Beth is Founder and President of Get Hired, LLC. She advises students on how to bridge the gap from school to career. Beth is the co-author of From Diploma to Dream Job: Five Overlooked Steps to a Successful Career (available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/1461087082) Her coaching assists students to successfully match their needs, interests, passions, skills, and personal goals with the needs of a sustainable industry in a sustainable location. Beth is also a resource for print and online media and offers workshops for University Career Service Departments, High School Guidance Counselors and College Alumni Associations. See website for more details about Beth’s services www.fromdiploma2dreamjob.com