By Lisa P. Cohn, PHR
Career Services, Jewish Community Services
Have you ever wondered how some people at work seem to get noticed and acknowledged more than others?
Maybe you prefer to keep a low profile at work. If so, this strategy may not always be to your advantage. You may need to become your own advocate! We are not talking about ego here, but about getting recognized and appreciated for what you do. It’s also about not missing out on opportunities for advancement.
First, look for the opportunities to get noticed for your ideas in the work setting, and consider your approach to getting recognized. You may need to push yourself a little. Ask for more responsibility and take on more projects when they are offered.
Remember that the people you associate with represent you, so develop a close network of professional peers and subject matter experts. Spend some time getting to know your supervisor on a personal level and seek out constructive feedback on your work performance. Get to know your boss’s boss, your peers and other individuals within various organizational levels.
Consider meeting one-on-one with others in the organization to ask them about their personal career paths and how they secured their current roles in the organization. Make a point to attend major events such as annual meetings, local networking events in the community and organizational supported lunches, breakfasts and initiatives.
Now that you are noticed, consider what return you are looking for from the organization. It is important to prove yourself behind the scenes in your department or division before you go in front of a wider audience.
Once you feel comfortable in your role, start to advocate for yourself and tell your peers about successful projects and initiatives in which you played a part or that you want to expand. Keep documentation about the projects you’ve participated in and your role. This can be helpful when it is time for performance reviews/evaluations or if questions arise about your contributions to the organization.
In order to get credit, you must give credit to others when credit is due. Remember to recognize any and all members of your team who helped you achieve a specific goal, challenge or objective, no matter how big or small. Leave your ego out of the equation and focus on a formula for advancement and success. Keep in mind that actions and behavior speak much louder than words!
- Agree to take on a new project, even if you are not initially interested in the assignment.
- Don’t apologize to your supervisor or team if you have a new idea that is different from the past.
- Be your own personal advocate.
- Give credit when credit is due.
- Consider seeking out a mentor or mentoring a peer who is new to the organization, which may highlight your organizational involvement to others. This will also show that you want to learn from other, or that you want to directly help others achieve success in their careers.
- Pick your battles carefully and decide when you most value recognition from others.
Although you may not immediately see the results, realize that the proof is in the pudding.
For example, I once worked on a small team at a non-profit company, where one of my peers would take all of my ideas and claim them as her own. I kept quiet and did not challenge these ideas when presented. As a result, I made an effort to discuss new ideas with this peer only during meetings or in a team environment where others were present.This individual stopped asking me for new project feedback and personal ideas, except in the group setting, and eventually the group clearly saw that I was the originator of the new ideas and prior ideas.
The number one way to get noticed and make your mark in a professional setting is to actively advocate your ideas for improvement, but also to have patience. Realize that some initial ideas may be met with uncertainty, but that this is a standard part of any process. A bump in the process also allows you a slow down period to better evaluate your goals and effectiveness.