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Today, more than ever before, it’s important that those who are in a position to benefit your career know who you are and what you’ve accomplished. Successful professionals understand the importance both of being visible and letting others know about their achievements. As importantly, they know how to reach this objective in an appropriate way that is not construed as bragging or conceit.
"Successful professionals don’t wait to get noticed while they toil away on a project. They know how to constructively leverage their individuality and achievements in the workplace," says John M McKee, CEO of the international career coaching and consulting practice BusinessSuccessCoach.net.
McKee, the author of "Career Wisdom – 101 Proven Ways to Ensure Workplace Success," among other titles, and a Tempur-Pedic Wellness Advisor, offers aspiring professionals these tips for establishing a positive high profile and effectively conveying "workplace wins" with powers that be, both inside and outside of their current place of employment:
1. Develop an elevator speech. The chance to make a great impression can come up at unexpected times – including an elevator ride. It’s important that you can take advantage of any opportunity to promote yourself succinctly and effectively. Develop a message that is about 2 or 3 sentences long and memorize it, so that you may capitalize on fortuitous chance meetings.
2. Pace your boss. To really stand out from the others and get the all important promotion, employees should ensure they are in the office whenever the boss is in. Let her or him see that you share the same work ethic. Simply put, if your boss is at work, you should be as well. If (s)he has decided that it’s necessary to be there after hours, on weekends, or early in the morning, it is entirely to your advantage to be there at the same time. This is a great opportunity to distinguish yourself from others in the workplace and capitalize on one-on-one time with the boss.
3. Over-communicate. Keep anyone who is in a position to help you move ahead well-apprised of what you are planning or currently working on. Take advantage of every legitimate opportunity to have face time with your direct superior or other decision makers inside the organization. The more people know you, and are aware of your projects and results, the better the chances of your name being suggested when new opportunities arise. A good way to do this when working remotely is to create a regular "status update" memo, which helps those in other locations keep track of your progress and performance.
4. Shine brighter by sharing credit. No one likes a “glory hog.” One of the fastest ways for a subordinate to become disliked and disrespected by a boss is by taking the sole recognition for a team effort. Good employees are recognized for their ability to share the success with others. Learn to cite those who have helped create successes, most definitely to include your boss. Sharing these accolades will ultimately further your career growth.
5. Look the part. One’s “presence” plays a big part in who gets promoted and who doesn’t. In a nutshell, presence is a combination of how we look, how we carry ourselves, and our communication skills. Many decision makers still associate one’s appearance, demeanor and speaking ability with their overall ability – a formidable challenge for those who have physical or other stereotype-based attributes that are difficult, if not impossible, to change, such as height or weight, blonde hair color, or simply a high pitched voice. Irrespective of these barriers, condition yourself to carry yourself with best posture, speak and gesture in a confident and authoritative manner, and wear attire that imparts your success.
6. Arrive rested and prepared. Far too many arrive at work – and those all-important meetings – tired, foggy and under-prepared, which hinders performance on all fronts. Quality sleep in a conducive sleep environment not only leaves you well-rested and focused, but also improves your ability to think critically and “connect the dots.” Whether it’s a group meeting in the conference room or a one-on-one sit down with your boss, the more rested and prepared you appear, the more likely you are to be seen as the one who is in the best position to perform what’s needed – now and in the future.
7. Toss the tech. Those who think that communicating via e-mail replaces the need to actually talk with people around them – including the boss – fail to recognize the importance of personally connecting with others in today’s highly automated and technological environment. Communicating in person whenever possible is imperative for success-seekers, no matter how intimidating or unaccommodating your boss may be.
8. Deliver the goods. In business, it’s all about accountability. Bosses love those who keep in mind that they are there to perform a function, not come up with excuses as to why they couldn’t deliver results. If for whatever reason you have fallen short in a task, admit it. Don’t use hollow-sounding excuses, but rather show that you take responsibility for the shortfall and are willing to “make good.” The boss will respect your approach.
9. Know what you’re worth. Employees who know what’s going on in the market gain additional respect from their bosses. By keeping on top of the job market, who the rising stars and key players are, who’s hiring, and what your value is to the company, you present yourself as a professional who is seeking career opportunity, which can increase your perceived value to the company. Just be careful not to position this information as if you’re “shopping around” for a job elsewhere, lest they feel you’re not committed to the organization and lose trust in you.
10. Network, network, network. This remains one of the best and most effective ways of sourcing jobs outside your existing employer. If you don’t have any connections outside of your current company – start to develop them both online and off! Attend industry events, read industry periodicals and online journals to be aware of changes. If you don’t have a page on a social networking site like Linkedin or Facebook – make one. More and more hiring decisions are made using internet searches. And always have an up-to-date, well planned and thoughtfully articulated resume ready for any request – from someone inside or outside your company.