You give your best, perform well and hope it gets you noticed, but while good performance is important and critical to advancing your career; unfortunately, it’s not always enough. Many of your peers are doing great work as well. You have to do, have, be something more than that to stand out from the crowd.
How do you make sure people remember you? How do you make a solid, lasting impression? What makes you different and how can you stand out from all the rest?
A massive difference isn’t required, but a noticeable one is. Often the simplest differentiation can be the key to establishing your brilliance.
Be Yourself – Some Key Differentiators
Attitude. Be enthusiastic. Be positive. Be engaging. Be passionate. An upbeat, professional attitude stands out. No matter what the workday brings, it’s important to show that you can stay confident and upbeat. People generally enjoy working with other people who are pleasant, encouraging, and constructive, rather than complaining, negative, rude and destructive.
Engagement. Be friendly. Let your personality show through. Be approachable. Build relationships and trust. Engage others and show a genuine interest in their lives, and their thoughts. Find a mentor to help you get to know people. A knowledgeable, connected mentor can be a huge resource to help you build relationships and connects with others in your field.
Communication. You might think excellent professional communication skills are a given, but you’d be mistaken. Many very competent people lack effective, professional communication skills. Pay careful attention to how you express yourself, not only in formal written communications, but also in e-mails, on the phone, and in face-to-face conversations. Be confident, respectful, and clear in all of your communications. Learn to be a better listener as well. Give your full attention, maintain eye contact, and try to really understand and absorb what people are saying. An attentive, respectful listener is a rare commodity. Developing stellar communication habits goes a long way towards differentiating yourself.
Contribution. Dedication and involvement stand out. Be more prepared than everyone else on the team is. Do your homework, gather your resources, and show up prepared and ready to work. If you’re actively engaged in the work process and make a significant contribution to the team, it will be noticed. You also might want to volunteer to contribute beyond your mandatory workload and offer to take part in charity events or be a part of other committees.
Creative Thinking. Think creatively. Don’t be afraid to express your creativity and look for innovative solutions. Ask intelligent and useful questions. Ask questions that no one else is asking. It’s often not the answers you provide that make an impression, but your ability to ask insightful questions. Not only will you demonstrate that you can “think outside the box,” but that you can use your creative skills in a way that benefits the entire work team.
Results. Results speak…very loudly. People pay more attention to what you do, than what you say. What do you do exceptionally well? Can you learn to do it even better? Strive to be the go-to person whenever that skill is needed. Your skill expertise doesn’t have to be odd or complicated; it’s actually better if it’s a simple, often required, skill that you do better than others. And don’t hesitate to toot your own horn occasionally. There’s nothing wrong with letting people know when you’ve achieved something significant, as long as you’re careful not to be annoying. Achievement stands out and drives career advancement.
Take-Aways. They key is to decide what’s different about you, and then learn to capitalize on it. Pay attention to what you do best, what you bring to the table, what’s special about you. Be memorable or unique. Be remarkable and talented. Be professional and reliable. Be creative and interesting. Let what’s different about you be visible, work on cultivating that “specialness” and you will get noticed.