Ah, your workplace. Whether you’re in a small office environment or you’re working for a big company, it’s completely reasonable that you’d want to be noticed — and commended — for your efforts.
Why? There are clear benefits to standing out at work. Those whose efforts go above and beyond what is expected of someone in a particular position are the employees who are often first considered for raises, promotions, what have you.
So, how can you utilize your strengths to put your work into the standout category?
Be passionate about both your company and your role
Someone who truly loves his or her work, but not in a “kiss-up to the boss” type of way, is a treasured employee. Love of one’s role will show in his or her work. There’s more to you than what you do, but you can still be proud to be defined by and to love your job.
Dress for the job you want
Yes, it’s a cliché. But if you’re in a work environment where every day is “Casual Friday,” chances are you’ll be tempted to roll into the office in sweats, especially if your colleagues are doing the same. Pro tip: the office is not your 8a.m. college class. It’s no place for sweats. This is not to say that you need to show up every day in a suit and tie, or an A-line skirt with heels if your job does not call for it, but you do have to look neat and appropriate. While you truly can’t judge a book by its cover, you’ll stand out if you’re dressing above the status quo.
Don’t be afraid to work hard
Of course, “work hard” is not equal to “overworking.” But use your work ethic to come up with new ways to define the words “hard worker.” In this context, working “hard” could mean staying late without being asked. It could mean showing up early when you know that your department is short-staffed. It could mean simply thinking ahead to what is coming up (that big presentation, a report), and making certain that you’re prepared for it.
Be a team player
New employee joining your department? Offer to help show that person the ropes. New technology or software being installed? Use that millennial digital native prowess and serve as the in-house IT person to the best of your ability. Colleague having a birthday? Bring the coffee and donuts, and supply the card that you’ll send around the office. Bring kindness back into your workplace. This line of standout thinking and practice doesn’t involve stepping on the metaphorical toes of your colleagues — because being helpful is just as important is working hard.
Everyone loves a hard worker, but no one — not even your boss — loves a martyr. The employee who will work hard and help others without announcing that he or she is doing so is appreciated and noticed. That said, don’t be afraid to assert yourself if you find that your efforts are being taken advantage of.
Be a trailblazer for social responsibility
We hear a lot of buzz about corporate social responsibility, but even in a small office setting, why not offer your ideas on how your workplace can give back to the community? Millennials are known for their collective passion for social justice, and actively seek out companies with a track record in social responsibility. But if you’re in a place where you just don’t see that happening, make a plan to get out there and change lives with your colleagues.
… let your actions speak for you. Be yourself and stay true to your work ethic. Believe that said work ethic and unconventional values will help you to go far and stand out, both in your current job and in your career going forward. To quote a long-loved teen movie: “Be the flamingo in a flock of pigeons.”