If you’re determined to get a promotion, raise or even a better job this year, one thing you must ask yourself is: “How can I improve my employment opportunities?” Thankfully, it may be easier than you think to stack the deck in your favor. Here are a few suggestions to get you noticed on the job by the people who hold the purse strings:
1. Dress for Success. The saying goes, dress for the job you want, not the job you have. No, this is not an excuse to get a whole new wardrobe. But polishing your appearance to look the part, one or two levels above your current job, projects your professional potential. If your superiors can imagine you on the job, they may be more prone to offer you the job.
2. Network with the right people. Don’t just hang out with your work buddies with whom you feel comfortable. Find opportunities to chat up supervisors and executives in your department/company, even if it’s in the elevator. And whatever your field, find a networking group to meet with after work. The wider and stronger your network, the better your opportunities.
3. Volunteer for projects outside of your job description. Sometimes the thought of taking on one more responsibility seems daunting, But if you’re willing to step outside your comfort zone to take risks at work, it shows that you’re up to the challenge.
4. Bring new ideas that affect your company’s bottom line. These ideas could be big, like expanding the market (maybe you have unique insights into the Hispanic market, for example) or smaller (lowering costs on office supplies, for example). The goal is to show that you care about your employer’s business as if it were your own.
5. Promote other people’s projects. When you become the cheerleader for your colleagues’ projects and celebrate their success, you demonstrate a selflessness and overall positive attitude without bitterness or jealousy.
6. Mentor your juniors. Mentoring someone in a junior position or intern shows your leadership and team-building skills. Whether or not the mentee is a direct report, mentoring shows that you are interested in supporting the new pipeline of employees and that you have the ability and willingness to lead others to success.
7. Actively participate in meetings. Learn to voice your opinion diplomatically, even if you don’t agree with everyone in the group. If you have a well supported argument, you may be able to persuade others to consider your alternative point of view. Similarly, if you ask concerted questions, it shows you’re committed to understanding the business goals.
8. Help organize events and attend functions. This includes the office party, conferences, meetings and smaller gatherings. Whenever you are on the organizer’s side, you contribute to setting the agenda. That means you help decide the topics that will be discussed, select and deal with the speakers, and have your name included in all communications. And by all means, try to attend these functions when possible.
Adapting even a few of these ideas can quickly change the way in which you are perceived on the job. And being noticed is step Number One to accessing better opportunities.