Growing up, you were probably told to study hard, get good grades, go to college, and find a job with a respectable company, where you could spend 30 or 40 years working your way up the corporate ladder.
And for the millions of you who have chosen that path, there is good news. You don’t always have to play the waiting game — you know, the one where you wait for a promotion, you wait to get a raise and you wait to be noticed.
Having spent more than 10 years working my way up from peon status to being in a partnership in a $200 million financial planning practice, I have come to understand what it takes to make headway in corporate America.
I actually rose up the ladder and found myself in a very lucrative job. And I did it without any fancy credentials or even a college degree. I did it by studying people and building relationships with my peers and bosses.
Tips for getting noticed
There are so many things that employees can do to get noticed and stand out from their coworkers. So many employees try to fly under the radar and just get by without stirring the pot. Don’t be that employee! You want to be noticed by your superiors. (Click here to tweet this bit of inspiration.)
Go after it. The cream always rises to the top and you need to be the cream! There is no need to be obnoxious, aggressive or pushy. This will only serve to alienate you from your coworkers and arouse resentment.
Instead, try using these subtle habits every day and you’ll be amazed at how fast you get noticed.
1. Make eye contact with your boss
This is a sign not only of confidence (bosses love confidence), but also of honesty. Ever try lying to people’s faces? It’s extremely hard to look them in the eye when you do.
2. Remember what matters to them
Know their spouse’s name, their children’s names and their pets’ names. People love when others remember the things that they hold most dear. Doing this will not only show that you care but will strengthen your relationship.
3. Be bold
Be the first one to ask a question in a meeting. Don’t worry about looking stupid. The fear of criticism will prevent most people from opening their mouths and therefore getting noticed. A good boss will appreciate the moxie you have for being willing to engage.
4. Never show up late
Bosses hate tardiness because it takes away from productivity and most bosses are compensated in some form or another on productivity. By being late, you are in essence taking money from their pockets, disrespecting them and the firm, and showing them you don’t take your job seriously.
5. Own your mistakes
It’s far too easy to blame someone for breaking that damn copier, but own up to it and you will be rewarded. Not monetarily of course, but by gaining respect as an honest person. If you screw up a deal that costs the firm money, take ownership of it and ask how you can do better next time. Especially in very large companies, where it’s easy to go unnoticed, be the responsible one who can own up to making a mistake.
Yes, it will suck having to work late when you have tickets to the Red Sox game, but think of the upside. By sacrificing your time (and fun) in the short term, your long-term future may brighten significantly. Be the team player who is available in a pinch. Being the go-to person when a deadline needs to be met can become a huge asset to your career.
7. Have fun
Believe it or not, bosses actually like to see their employees having fun. It is possible to enjoy your work. Silencing your laughter when your boss turns the corner only shows that you think work has to be boring and may look like you are hiding something. Bosses want happy employees because they are far more productive and less likely to quit.
8. Be a creative thinker
Most employees will simply do what they are told and not much more. Try anticipating what your boss or company might need. Think ahead and surprise your boss. Good bosses will be receptive to your suggestions and feedback, so give it to them. Statements like: “Have you thought of XYZ?” or “Do you think it would be more productive if we did XYZ?” can make a huge difference in how you are viewed by your employer.
Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion. Be constructive if you think you have a better solution, as many bosses may view your advice and feedback as threatening.
Try developing a few of these habits at a time and see how it affects your job. Remember, good things happen to good employees. And to be recognized as a good employee, you first need to be recognized!
Steve is a contributing writer for DevelopGoodHabits.com, a site dedicated to helping you eliminate bad habits, creating better ones and making major life changes. To learn more, check out the free report 77 Good Habits to Live a Better Life.