Tips for Getting Your Employer to Notice You
There's more to success than landing the job—getting your foot in the door doesn't guarantee you the path you want. So here are some tips for getting your employer to notice you—because you don't want to be stuck where you started forever.
There's nothing more frustrating than feeling stuck or stagnated in a job you had always dreamed about. But it happens—for whatever reason, many employees find themselves passed up for promotions, having their work go unnoticed and unrewarded, and watching others climb the proverbial ladder right on by them.
Getting your employer to notice you can be tricky, but there are plenty of ways to impress your boss and give yourself the edge you need to be moving up in your company, and making sure that you're valued as an employee and a person.
Many employees think that the way to get ahead in a career is simply by doing the work, being professional, and dressing to impress. And of course those are necessary components to success in a company, but they aren't, alone, sufficient. Research studies on workplace success have shown overwhelmingly that likability is a key factor—possibly the most important factor—in success, above job skill and longevity at the company.
This isn't to say that if you're stuck in a position at your job that you're just not satisfied with, it's because people don't like you. But you may be sabotaging yourself with too much professionalism and propriety. While staying within the confines of professional workplace behaviors, it's crucial to getting your employer to notice you to be friendly and kind—employers don't just want their tasks done, they want their employees to be team players. Plus, they're human—if you have a rapport with your co-workers and bosses, your chances of receiving that promotion or those accolades are higher, simply because they have generally positive feelings about you as a person.
Let your work and history speak for itself.
You're doing your job, and doing it well. You're punctual, polite, and your results are solid. But still, you're watching less qualified, newer employees move up the proverbial ladder, right on past you. In that scenario, most people would feel rightfully frustrated and even resentful, whether of their co-workers, their employer, or both.
But it's important not to give in to those frustrations. One of the worst things you can do in this situation is express your feelings in resentful ways—that might get your employer to notice you, but not for the reasons you want. You want to let your hard work and quality speak for themselves. If your employer hears you grumbling about how your great work isn't receiving the attention it deserves, or comparing your work to a co-workers in a way that puts them down, they're going to wonder about your ability to be a team player, and question your motivations in the job. So it's important that as you work to get your employer to notice you, you do so without coming off as resentful, or as though you're bragging about yourself and you work and view yourself as superior to your co-workers.
Take on a task outside your normal field.
Employers love to see initiative. If you're having trouble getting your employer to notice you, think for a bit about what you might be able to add to the company, outside the borders of your job description. Especially for those vying for a promotion, you want to demonstrate your ability to do more than just your job.
Of course, you have to be careful when taking on extra tasks—first, you want to make sure you only commit yourself to things you are able to do. You also want to make sure you don't commit yourself to too much, and have your regular job performance suffer as a result. Rather than showing your employer that you're an adaptable, hard-working team player, you would simply appear as though you don't take your job seriously.
But by taking on moderate extra tasks, you can guarantee your employer will take notice. It demonstrates work ethic, leadership skills, and all sorts of other traits that employers love to see. You may also consider taking on a task that would fall into the job description of the job you'd like, rather than the one you have, in order to prove that you're qualified and competent for that position.
Ask questions and ask for help.
Many people want to seem, to their employer, absolutely perfect. They see room for improvement as weakness, and think that their employer will think less of them if they ask questions or ask for help. But that's certainly not the case. In fact, asking questions is one of the most important steps to getting your employer to notice you.
It does two very important things. First, it gives you the opportunity to speak with your superiors more regularly, and in positive ways. Just having more face time with your boss can go a long way in getting your value noted.
The second thing this does is demonstrate your desire to improve, and your ability to adapt to new and changing roles. Of course, you don't want to be asking basic questions that you would need to know in order to do your job now. But you may want to discuss areas of your performance that could improve, and how to do so, or suggest new methods you could learn that may boost efficiency or quality in your work. This will make your employer take note of you as someone inquisitive, self-starting, and willing to do the work required to take on new tasks.
Add unique skills to your repertoire.
In a good company, most of the employees (or the ones who stay long term) are going to be good at their jobs. So, being good at your job isn't necessarily going to get you noticed if you have nothing extra to offer. Adding a unique skill to your repertoire may just give you that edge that will get your employer to notice you above your similarly competent co-workers.
For example, if your job requires regular communication with a variety of customers and clients, as in customer service or sales positions, good interpersonal skills are a must. Because of this, most employees are going to have that skill, and it can't necessarily help you get ahead. In a case like this, you may want to consider learning a new language, a skill that would make you invaluable in a niche area, and giving you the opportunity to take on new responsibilities—something that may show your employer that you would be a good candidate for even more possibilities, sending some good news your way.
Keep your network updated.
When you're first searching for a job, one of the most important things you have to do is network. At that stage, networking is all about finding people that can help you get your foot in the door in your desired field. But once you land the job, you shouldn't let your connections fade—in fact, you should always be making new professional connections and updating your network across social media.
Networking as an established employee is important for a couple of reasons. First, it gives you the ability to suggest potential new positions or employees for the company, which is something your employers will surely note and appreciate. But even more importantly, it helps you keep up-to-date in your field. If you feel like your career is stagnating, you may actually be right—many fields are constantly growing and adapting, and staying on top of the newest methods and trends can make you an invaluable resource for your company.
Don't make it a competition.
You've watched new employees celebrate their promotions, and sat in the same position as co-worker after co-worker moves passed you. It wouldn't be surprising to hear that this situation is causing feelings of resentment towards your co-workers. But it's important not to turn your push for success into a competition and look at your co-workers as the enemy. More than anything, employers want to see a team player—someone who can take the initiative when necessary, but who can also be diplomatic and friendly, and form positive relationships in the workplace.
There is a definite temptation to want to one-up your co-workers, or compare your work to theirs in order to draw attention to the quality of your work. This is especially true if you feel like your co-workers' work is being unfairly recognized over yours. But stepping on others to get ahead is more often than not going to backfire—your employers might notice you, but you don't want to be noticed as the resentful employee that can't work in a team. Being a useful member of the company, and contributing your part to a whole, shows both personal and professional traits that employers everywhere value very highly.
Take the lead.
Without making it a competition, you do want to be willing to take the initiative at times. When you're particularly qualified to lead a project, or have a useful skill that others don't, don't keep it to yourself. When your employer sees you using your gifts for the benefit of your co-workers and the company in general, they'll be impressed both by the demonstration of your skill and by your leadership abilities.
Of course, you want to be careful here, too. If you know that another member of the team is more qualified in the particulars of a project, it's okay to simply be a good team player and do your part. You don't want to attempt to take the lead on something, and ultimately turn into a workplace tyrant—which I have certainly seen happen. But when your skills qualify you to lead a project or teach a new method, taking that initiative will make you stand out not just as a model employee, but as someone with great leadership potential.
Approach every task with confidence.
Getting your employer to notice you takes more than doing your job well. It takes doing other jobs well, too. I mentioned earlier that it's a good idea to take on extra tasks at work, which is certainly true. But it's also important to take them—and any other task—on with confidence. When your employer puts something on your plate that seems horribly difficult or maybe just mundane, you still want to tackle it with a positive attitude, that demonstrates your adaptability and willingness to take on any task.
I also mentioned earlier that it's okay, and actually beneficial, to ask for help. This applies here, too. If you're faced with a task that you don't feel completely qualified for, don't refuse it—instead, impress your employers by putting in the extra work to become qualified. This will show them that not only do you have this one new skill, but that you are able and willing to learn. You can always go to another co-worker for help, or put in a little extra time to teach yourself. So you should approach every task with confidence, even if that confidence is only in your ability to learn, and not your ability to succeed at it right away.
Be more inclusive (of your own talents).
When you were blasting companies with your résumé and cover letters, knowing the ways to entice employers to open your emails, you probably included a ton of skills that weren't exactly in the job description, and explained how they made you an ideal candidate. Much like networking, this is a practice you want to bring with you in your long term employment.
Now, I obviously don't mean you should walk around telling everyone all about your cool skills and how you might someday be able to use them. But you should mention any special abilities, knowledge, or skill that might prove useful in other areas of the company. You may even ask your employer if they could use any help in one of these fields, and give yourself a leg up just by letting them know that there's more to you than competence at your day-to-day tasks.