How to Increase your Visibility at Work
Ever wonder why you were passed over for that promotion? Here are some tips to build connections and get noticed
Did a promotion or important assignment you rightfully deserved go to one of your colleagues instead? If you possess similar skills and experience as your coworker, you may have been passed over because he or she does more to get noticed at work. One of the biggest career mistakes you can make is to sweat and slave, and then let your contributions go unnoticed. You may think your work speaks for itself, but sometimes you have to toot your own horn to gain recognition and move forward in your career.
Here are some tips to raise your visibility:
- CONDUCT A SELF-ASSESSMENT
Before you look for ways to promote yourself, take an honest look at your professional abilities. Are you committed to continual learning? If so, what steps have you taken to keep current on marketing trends? Make sure you are always striving toward excellence and improving any weaknesses. The more effective you are in your role, the more opportunities there are to be recognized for your contributions.
- SHOW INITIATIVE
Volunteer for new assignments, even those considered unpleasant or risky. Sometimes these offer the best opportunities to showcase your abilities. Perhaps the marketing director has just requested help with an important internal initiative and no one is willing to take charge. This is an excellent opportunity for you to assume a leadership role and secure a solid platform for your ideas. Your efforts to get involved when others are reluctant will be both appreciated and acknowledged.
- SPEAK UP
Demonstrate your enthusiasm and interest in the company by actively participating in office discussions. Before you attend meetings, review the agenda and prepare a few points of interests on the topics at hand. While you don’t want to talk just to hear yourself speak, do not hesitate to share your ideas when you have something valuable to add. Also look for opportunities to present on topics. You might, for example, volunteer to serve as a trainer during new-hire orientations, providing an overview of the marketing department and how people in other areas of the company can work with your group effectively.
- EXERCISE YOUR BRAGGING RIGHTS
You may have heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know – it’s who you know.” But in many cases, it’s more important who knows you. Imagine the executives in your company are having a meeting to decide who will work on an exciting new project. Would anyone in the room mention your name? Do any of the key people know who you are and what you’ve accomplished? If your name doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve got some self-promoting to do.
Getting onto someone’s radar screen can be difficult or nerve-racking, so take small steps. Can you e-mail a weekly status report to your boss detailing major accomplishments and upcoming projects? Can you be responsible for sending update memos for your team or volunteer to present your group’s milestones at a meeting? All of these activities can help increase your visibility.
- ACCEPT CREDIT GRACIOUSLY
When someone compliments you for doing an outstanding job on a project, how do you react? If you typically shrug it off and say, “It was nothing,” you may be leaving the door wide open for someone else to steal your thunder. A much better response would be, “Thank you. I’m really glad the hard work paid off,” or “Thanks. I’m really pleased with the way it turned out, too.” Just be careful about accepting credit that’s not yours – it’s a surefire way to create tension and animosity among your teammates.
- SHOOT THE BREEZE
Do not underestimate the importance of attending company gatherings, such as the annual picnic or holiday party. But do more than just make an appearance. Take the time to talk with people throughout the company – not just the coworkers you already know well – and participate in special activities such as contests and team sports. Through these informal events, you can develop camaraderie with other employees and make valuable new contacts within the organization.
Working hard will always be critical to your success, but you will never achieve your full potential unless others are aware of your expertise and accomplishments. Pursuing new challenges and getting involved in team and company activities will help you steadily build awareness and better position you for future advancement opportunities.
Eric Kimble is the Denver branch manager for The Creative Group, a division of Robert Half that specializes in the placement of interactive, design, marketing and public relations professionals on a project and full-time basis. For more information, including job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and TCG's blog, contact Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org.