With unemployment high, office environments are more competitive than ever. Those who don’t demonstrate their value to their employer will be the first ones out the door: that’s just the way it is. In tough work environments like yours you can respond in a couple different ways: you could let fear guide you and spend your time undermining coworkers or you could take the initiative to make yourself better so that your employer values you so much that you will never be “let go.” Below you will find 9 steps for standing out in your office that you can use to that end.
- Finish your college degree in a viable field: If you are going to college, get a degree that demonstrates power and get it from as good a school as possible. When you have that diploma, you will earn respect beginning the moment you walk through the office door.
- Get a degree that is outside your college major: Being just another pumpkin in the patch won’t help you stand out. You look the same to employers and coworkers as anyone else. Try setting yourself apart. Rather than accounting, study math. Rather than business, study engineering. You will never stand out if you are afraid to be different.
- Go back to school: Competitive job markets mean that you must become more productive than ever before just to stay on board. Rather than just trying to weather the storm, be proactive by developing new skills and earning new certifications: you could even get your graduate degree. While other employees are busy stabbing each other in the back, you are going the extra mile to make yourself a more valuable asset to your company. That will make you stand out.
- Be nice at work: Workers who complain, bicker, and criticize are drains on emotions and morale and will usually be the first to get laid off. For you to stand out (in a good way), you need to be one of those people that everyone likes to work with. Show your willingness to help others, respect seniority, and pay your dues. You will boost your job security as well as your paycheck when you do.
- Exceed expectations: There is no better way to trump office politics than by superior performance. In everything you do, strive for excellence, delivering more than expected to your boss, coworkers, and customers. When expectations are unclear, you should schedule time to discuss them with your boss so you are on the same page. After that, go above and beyond the call of duty in everything you do.
- Be a problem solver: Don’t just complain about all the things that are wrong in your office, department, or company. Find solutions to the problems and you will stand out as someone willing to step out in faith to make your office a better place to work. You don’t have to limit yourself to work-related tasks either: from light bulbs to stopped up toilets you can make a difference at the office that will earn you stature and respect.
- Take odd assignments: Everyone wants to go to Hawaii on company business, right? This means that you may never get to go and you therefore will never stand out among your peers. Take the jobs that no one wants. Go to the small towns or the dirty, obscure sites when your company asks for volunteers. This way you get to start building a track record right away that will lead to amazing open doors in the future.
- Move to where the opportunities are: The best workers gravitate to population centers because that is where the best jobs are. No matter how much you like your hometown, you will never stand out in your corporation in obscurity. To get where you want to be in your career, you need to be at headquarters, so move there now so you can focus your career on positions that offer the most opportunity.
- Get out when you hit obstacles: You don’t want to be known as a quitter, so try to find balance between waiting for your next promotion and moving to another company where you will have more opportunities. The important thing is to get out quickly when you realize that your boss will never let you move to the next level.
These 9 steps for standing out in your office should help you build your value in the workplace. This will help make your employment “recession proof” and pave the way for a fast paced, successful career.