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10 Ways To Stand Out at Work as a Millennial in the Workplace

how to stand out as millennials in the workplace

Millennials often get stereotyped as lazy and entitled. But in my experience, millennials are hard-working go-getters who will stop at nothing to get the job done. We know this because the millennial workplace is competitive, where everyone does everything they can to contribute and be the best employee in the office.

We all want to stand out, for the right reasons of course, but that can be a challenge when everyone in your office is angling to get ahead.

Try these 10 methods of standing out as a millennial in your workplace:

1. Always do your best, no matter how big or small the responsibility is.

No one is going to give you an award for making perfect copies, but that’s no reason to half-commit to the task at hand. The people who do their best at every single task they are given are the ones who stand out as reliable and dedicated time after time. It may not be the most exciting job in the world, but if it’s your current job, you need to do it to the best of your ability.

2. Have a positive attitude.

It seems simple, but your attitude is one of the first things people notice about you. You don’t need to bring cupcakes to work every single day (although, that is a nice gesture every once in a while), but encouraging your co-workers to do their best, keeping your negative opinions to yourself, and wearing a smile will help you stand out among people who don’t do those things.

3. Stay away from the water cooler gossip.

Right up there with office politics, work gossip tends to be hobby that many secretly enjoy. When you engage in gossip, you give other people ammunition to throw you under the bus down the road.

You will be working with your co-workers for at least a year (maybe even longer depending on your industry). Gossip only makes it harder to establish lasting connections, and you never know who is listening.

4. Take on more responsibility.

If you think you’re ready to take on more responsibilities, ask your boss or supervisor what you can do to help. Proving you are ready for more responsibility means that you’ve already mastered what you’re responsible for now. Only take on more if you’re able to manage the workload you have now, otherwise, you’ll seem unprepared because you bit off more than you could chew.

5. Don’t be “that guy.”

Remember back in college when you had to do those awful group projects? Unfortunately, we will never get away from them. Professional life is really just a long string of group projects. You know the guy (or gal) who never carried their weight, was completely unreliable, and frustrated everyone? Don’t be that guy. You’ll stand out for all the wrong reasons.

6. Never sit idle.

Worse than “that guy” is the employee who sits twiddling their thumbs, waiting for the clock to hit 5 pm. Even if you’ve finished what you need to get done for today, start on something you need to do tomorrow or next week. We all need a break during the day, but if your co-workers or your boss see you doing nothing, instead of showing them how quickly you can get your tasks done, you’re showing them your lazy side.

7. Create efficiency… or find a way to save the company money.

There’s no better way to prove your attention to detail and your value to your company than figure out a way to save them money or streamline a process. Other than making money, there’s nothing companies like more than saving money.

8. Put your phone away and stay off of Facebook.

No matter how good of an employee you are, showing your focus on your phone instead of on your work gives off a disengaged and lazy vibe to those around you. Remember, you aren’t getting paid to text your friends or check your social media accounts all day — you are here to work. So show up and engage with your work environment instead of your phone.

9. Keep a professional portfolio.

While you might not be able to make it public, keeping a record of your work will set you apart from your peers who don’t make the same effort. You will be able to bring your portfolio with you to your annual review or even to new job interviews to prove your worth.

10. Dress the part.

Some work environments are more relaxed than others, but you should always put an effort into your appearance. Stay away from the “just rolled out of bed” look and go for more polished and professional choices. Even if it’s not necessarily true, a messy and careless appearance makes people instantly think of a messy and careless employee. If you can’t dress yourself, why would you be able to manage a big account? Always wear work appropriate clothing, especially in a more traditional environment.

As millennials, we bring many new and innovative elements to the workforce. We are full of passion, committed to making the world a better place, and work harder than most people give us credit for. Stand out and represent yourself, and the entire millennial generation, by being the best employee that you can possibly be.

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2 Responses

  1. As an owner of three companies for over 25 years and in the workforce for 30 years, I can from personal experience the above should be a mandated “given” for all millenials.

    I can’t tell you how many young people I have let go due to constant personal texting, facebooking, pinning etc. not looking or asking for more challenges (or work to do), and just not taking any real initiative in a position.

    On the flip side, I have had fabulous college interns that have been a real asset to my firm, and will go on to do great things. Now those young people are in the “smart and superior” category. Honestly folks, there have been a few, but not as many as I would like to see out there. I have one assistant that has been with me since a teenager. She is bright, gets the big picture and executes properly. She asks questions when needed, but moves through projects with ease. She also shows great enthusiasm for all that we do.

    I recently worked with millenials that were quoting product for a client company event. I found them to be unprepared, disorganized people who could not execute the directive requested from their upper management. They had three people on a project of which was running amok. All this hassle due to lack of internal communication. There is no time for this type of behavior in the work place. Always be sure to have a directive, understand the project fully, request appropriate information and never send mixed signals to a vendor.

    Lastly folks, always remember to dress for success. I’m sorry but to walk into any company (in my case it was a major retailer) and be met by a millenial buyer with holes in their jeans and snapping gum is simply unacceptable. You are representing your self as well as your company. Dress appropriately and be respectful of those that come to meet with you. Respond of your interest or lack of interest in meetings accordingly. Take notes, ask questions and engage with your vendors. Business is a partnership. Be a partner, take initiative, be enthusiastic, drive change and be all that you can be!

    Off my soapbox –
    Denise Buzy-Pucheu
    DBP & Associates, Inc.

    1. Hi Denise, thank you for sharing your experience with us. I’m sorry you worked with millennials who fit the stereotypes. And I completely agree, dressing for success is not to be underestimated.

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