You’re ambitious, you work hard and now you’ve landed the job you believe will take you places. That’s great! The only problem is, this is a competitive field and you’re surrounded by other motivated, hungry, doing-what-it-takes type people. How do you set yourself apart from the crowd?
Be different from the crowd
To stand out from the crowd, you need to be different from the crowd. The most ambitious among you are going to strive to be the first one in and the last one out. To work the hardest, to outperform everyone else. Obviously to achieve the success you’re after you’re going to have to do those things too. However to get noticed, to be given special opportunities you’re also going to have to do something different.
The different thing you do will entirely depend on you. Each of us is a unique individual with specialized talents unique to us. Are you particularly good at writing? At organizing? Are you an ideas person? Whatever your strength is, build on it and become known for it. Being known for something helps you stand out from everyone else. It makes you a go-to person for that thing. Once you become a go-to person for one thing you’ll have your chance to show off your shine in other things.
If you see something that needs to get done then go ahead and do it. If you wait around for someone to ask you to do it, then you’re only doing what’s expected. By being proactive and getting it done simply because it needs doing, you’re showing initiative.
You can even go further than that. If you come up with a brand new way to doing something, go ahead and test it out. If it doesn’t work no one else has been inconvenienced, but if it does, you’re the person who’s streamlined operations, or found a new way of approaching customers or developed a new system.
If there are problems or inefficiencies in the workplace, don’t just talk about them or point them out, work on solutions. Whether it’s steps that can be taken to work around the problem or solutions to address it. Show you want to be involved in moving things forward, not just pointing out reasons for getting derailed along the way.
Don’t overextend yourself
When you’re in the zone and everything is clicking along smoothly it sometimes feels like you can accomplish anything and everything. Can you take on this project? YES! Can you do that? Absolutely!
Whether it’s part of your day to day job or extra side projects you’re taking on, it’s imperative that you do what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it. You might think you have a memory that holds everything like a steel trap, but all you need is for one small thing to fall through the cracks for tiny new cracks to appear in your reputation. Write down everything. Meeting times, promised completion times, names, dates. Check and update your calendar regularly.
Also remember, as much as you might think you can do everything, you can’t. Sometimes your plate is full or something is beyond your scope. When that happens you need to be able to say so. In the long run, declining a project is far better for your standing out efforts than not getting it done or not doing it well.
Remember your work life is part of your life life
Don’t forget about the personal side of life. Get to know the people you work with. Find out about their families, the people they care about. Let them know about yours. Share your interests and hobbies. You are more than a worker bee in the hive, you are a person. All of us relate to other people better than to just workmates.
Get yourself a map
You might think you’re on the road to success, but you’re still going to need a map. There are likely all kinds of things you don’t know yet. Those are the things that will send you in the wrong direction, to dead ends, or around the long way. There are also people who do know the things you don’t. Identify those people. Call them. Take them out for coffee or drinks. Email them. By filling in your knowledge gaps you can keep yourself moving in a straight line.
While you’re busy finding out what you don’t know, don’t forget to share what you do know. Every person you help along the way is going to remember you for it. Not only does it feel good, it’s also helping you in your standing apart from the crowd quest.
There are things we do on our own and there are things we do with the help of others. Make sure you’re acknowledging the help, support and accomplishments of others along the way. Everyone benefits. Credit is being given where credit is due. They feel good about what they’ve done. You feel good for letting others know about it and you’re noticed for sharing and spreading the glory.