Depending on how long you’ve been with your company, it might be worth taking a moment to think about how you’re perceived by managers. How would they describe you? Do they know what kinds of work make you the most engaged and happiest, compared to which projects are beneath your skill level?
Setting aside the easy excuse of “everyone’s very busy, they might not notice these things,” if you’re feeling overlooked at work, that might mean you’re being passed over for promotions, raises, or even just the opportunity to take on more exciting projects that better align with your interests. If other people are getting these kinds of opportunities and you’re not, it might be time to make some changes. Here are a few steps to take to prevent being overlooked at work and, instead, to become an invaluable member of your team.
Find and communicate your passion.
The first part of standing out at work is standing up. Is there a kind of work or project area within your current position that fires you up? Is there something you really love to do, or something that maybe your company doesn’t do a lot of but it would really help if it did? Maybe you think having more attention and time invested in your company’s social media presence would help attract more customers or clients — have a conversation with your manager about this and prepare some data points to back this up. Then make the case why you’re the best person to take on this project. Offer to try making a change for a short while — maybe two weeks, maybe a month, maybe six months — to see if the additional effort makes a difference and, if not, to let it slide. By clearly stating your interest, your intentions and your well-thought-out ideas on how to test this theory, you’re showing that you’re serious and willing to put your time where your ideas are.
Talk about your accomplishments.
When was the last time you let your manager know when you were happy with the way something you worked on turned out? When was the last time you allowed someone else to give you praise for a job well done? If no one knows how hard you’re working or how much you’ve achieved, or when you’ve gone beyond expectations and what was asked of you to do something exceptional, no one will know to consider you for bigger and better things. If the initial protest is that you don’t like drawing attention to yourself, consider that you can’t grow into something new and more challenging if no one knows you’re a seed waiting for the sunlight.
Talk about your growth too.
If there’s an area of your job in which you’ve maybe had some struggles, but you’ve worked diligently to improve and make strides to better understand it, talk about that too! A willingness to learn, to dedicate time and effort to improve on something that has been troubling, is a great character strength and something managers appreciate. It means you won’t shy away from a challenge and will work hard to learn something new until it becomes just another part of your regular set of tasks.
Make strong connections.
It’s so easy to fall into the routine of just talking with people on your team. Given that everyone is so busy and being pulled in many directions at once, especially if your company or team is short-staffed or has downsized, there might not seem to be time to socialize or just say hello to people outside of meetings. But it’s worth trying to get to know people you work with and letting them get to know you as well. Building relationships means people will be able to think of you when a new project comes along, especially if they know it’s on a topic that interests you. If no one knows who you are, they can’t help you find new opportunities to learn new skills or take on new challenges. Talking with your manager on a more regular basis, not just to provide an update on your current work but to talk about ideas you’ve had for your team, is a great way to start!
Become an expert or specialist in something.
The best way to help advance your career is to become the go-to person on a particular topic. If you’ve always been assigned analytical work for your team, for example, become exceptional at it. If you’re a creative thinker, raise your hand every time a brainstorming session comes up and offer to sit in and help think up new ideas. Be the person your team goes to for help on a particular kind of work, a topic, or a need. Even being the go-to proofreader is an area of expertise that comes in high demand from time to time! Find something you can do really well and use that as a stepping stool to advance your career.
Time for a change? See what jobs Sterling Personnel is looking to fill today!
You might not be one to draw attention to yourself or like being in the spotlight, but if you’re feeling overlooked and overshadowed by your colleagues and you’d like to have a chance to change your job, you’re going to need to step up a little and let your light shine a little brighter. It’s certainly worth a try!
If you’re already doing these things and still getting passed up for opportunities to expand your career, it might be time to make a bigger change. Sterling Personnel specializes in helping talented people find new jobs where their ambition and skills will be appreciated. Take a look at our open positions and, if one catches your eye, give us a call! We can even help put your resume in the hands of decision-makers right away. Call Sterling Personnel today and let’s get you started on the path to a brighter future.