How to Stand Out At Work Without Standing Out

Successful careers start with standing out from the crowd.

But, many workers will contribute only what their job requirements call for and not perform much more. A select few will work really hard at their job and do extremely well.  However, there is a small subset of workers who really put themselves out and chip in in any way possible. To advance with your employer, you must be a member of that group.

So, what are some ways you can stand out at work?

How to stand out at work

If you perform your work duties well, you will be recognized as a worker good at his job. However, when it comes time to promote, the management team looks for leaders. Leaders are those workers who are totally involved with the success of the company. They pay attention to their job and responsibility but also are dedicated to the entire business, its goals and vision.

What other activities must an employee take on in addition to his job to stand out?

Many people do not realize that while they were hired to do a job, Management believes it’s also their responsibility to do whatever it takes for the company to flourish. You need to continuously find ways to save or earn the company money, to be get ahead and to demonstrate your value to the firm.

Here are the top 10 ways you can stand out at work and advance your career:

1.Create Your Own Side-projects

Excelling at an assigned project is expected.  Excelling at a side-project helps you stand out.  Create a project and work on it on your own time at home. Your side project will make you ‘that guy.’

It is especially true if you create something for customers.  Test out your ideas for a special product or deliver a unique service with a particular client in mind.  Management will appreciate you even more especially if it locks-in a customer to your company or if the new product or service idea can then be sold to other customers

2. Do Things Without Being Asked

If you see that something needs to be done and nobody is doing it, DO IT. It’s always surprising how few employees do this.

It’s really quite simple: people who step in and help out stand out.

3. Do MORE Than What Your Job Requires

Go beyond offering “standard help.” I’m always impressed in a supermarket if I ask a stocking clerk where an item is located and s/he takes me directly to it rather that saying, “It’s on aisle 8.”  So, at work, don’t give a standard reply on how to do it.  Do it for them!

No matter your job, going above and beyond your standard job duties will help you grow your career.

4. Take the Lead When You Can

Someone must be the leader. Why shouldn’t it be you? If it’s not you, still contribute at a high level. Provide ideas and suggestions. Challenge things that do not make sense. If you do this respectfully, you will stand out.

Once again, silence does not get you noticed; it gets you overlooked. Engage in your career and try to become the leader where possible, but don’t step on anyone’s toes while you’re trying to take over the lead.

Talk it up and do your job as if you already ARE a leader there. If you do not agree with something, ask questions.

5. Be Proactive

Learn all about the organization and how your role can bring maximize benefit to it.  Learn a skill that will help you stand out.  For example, you might become the person everybody goes to for assistance with developing an important presentation to Management or for help with operating a particular computer software.

Anticipate problems that might arise and think about ways to fix them before they even occur. Do not wait for things to happen and be a “reactive” employee.

Most workers know they could do more if they wanted to. So be that person and come up with a plan.  But plans are not enough.  Put the plan into action and mention what you’re doing to your boss.

6. Always Offer Ideas and Suggestions

Start with your own job and if you have an idea or two about how it can be done more efficiently, suggest it. Even if your manager balks at it, keep making suggestions wherever you can.

Eventually, one of your ideas will gain support and you’ll make a difference at work. Sometimes the smallest ideas can have the greatest impact.

7. Do Not Sit Quietly in Meetings

Every meeting has employees who talk and those who do not. Strengthen the discussion any way you can and contribute at a high level. When management is in meetings with you, they take notice of the contributors.  But don’t talk just for the sake of hearing your voice.  Then you will stand out as a blowhard that managers will want to muzzle.

Leaders are not silent in meetings. Advance in your career by being active in it.

8. Be Dependable and Reliable

Show up on time every day. Let appropriate people know well ahead of time if you must be late or absent.  Be on time, whether you’re arriving for work, returning from lunch, going to staff meetings, or completing tasks.

Be prepared. Come to work willing to pay attention, follow directions, and do the job.

Do what you say you’ll do.

Keep your work area organized. This habit shows your boss and co-workers that you’re in control of what you’re doing.

Review the quality of your own work.  It shouldn’t take your supervisor to point out your errors or faulty judgement.

9. Work Harder Than Anyone Else

Nothing is an alternative for hard work. Observe the people working around you: How many of them are working as hard as they could?

Very few.

The best way to stand out is to out-work all your co-workers.  It’s also the easiest way because you’ll be the only one trying.

10. Always Offer to Help Others

Become the “go-to” person—the person that can be counted on to help. If you are that person, it will go a long way!

What-if your company announced layoffs. An employee who is the “go-to” person and adds value to the organization will be considerably less likely to be laid off than an employee who just sits quietly and does their job.  A quiet employee that does their job well doesn’t stand out as an indispensable employee.

By offering to help others and having expertise, you’ll stand out as an impressive employee—one most companies wouldn’t want to lose.

Conclusion

When you are at work, always seek out ways to improve the company. Become an integral part of taking your company to the next level.

If you show your interest lies far beyond yourself, your specific job responsibilities, and your salary, you’ll stand out and you’ll be setting yourself up to become a future leader in the company.