Years ago, when newspapers were opening as well as folding, I was part of the editorial team that was setting up a new weekly newspaper. We were up against two long-established papers that were both essential reading on our patch, so we really had to work hard to get our foot in the door and get noticed. We had to attend every local council meeting and court case, sweet talk our way onto every press list, and meet everybody in person who we possibly could.
There was no kicking back in office, making a quick phone call, and leaving it at that. It was vital that we built good relationships within our community, so people would get to know who we were, contact us when they had a story, talk to us when we contacted them, and – most importantly – buy our newspaper each week!
That meant constant trips out of the office, slogging up muddy country lanes to talk to farmers about their prizewinning pigs or spending long evenings listening to local councillors debating the pros and cons of speed bumps. It meant following up even the most unpromising lead to get a story that our competitors had missed, thinking twice as hard and creatively as them about how we covered stories, and making sure that we were the ultimate professionals – there was no room for missing appointments, or for spelling people's names incorrectly, or for getting our facts wrong.
Everyone on the team was committed to making the newspaper a success. We were all young, enthusiastic, and fired up by the challenge of "taking on the big boys." It was a very exciting, if exhausting, time! Unfortunately, despite all of that commitment, the photographer quickly got noticed for all the wrong reasons. He constantly missed appointments to photograph people we were writing about. He would also regularly get the names wrong of the people who he did manage to meet.
And so he came to the editor's attention. She made it very clear that the newspaper couldn't afford to have a photographer who didn't turn up to jobs, and that he had to do something about it urgently. So, with the support of the rest of the editorial team, he started getting to appointments on time and paying more attention to the detail of people's names.
Obviously this isn't ideally why you'd want senior people in your organization to know who you are! There are many more positive ways of getting yourself noticed that will give your career a boost, rather than earn you an ear bashing from the boss. So we asked you, our friends, followers and contacts on social media, "What are your top tips for getting noticed at work?"
The question received a lot of responses, and a number of you mentioned the need for reliability. Rukudzo Mhonda, for example, replied on Facebook, "Keep time appointments, meetings... Be reliable" while Sadiq Vazhakkad, also on Facebook, felt that punctuality was important.
Equally important for a lot of people was being a team player and working for the good of the organization, not just yourself. Facebook follower Shad Drury sums it up: "Some people just want a paycheck. Some people want to work their way to the top. Once in a while you'll get that one person who sets aside their own agenda for the good of the entire purpose and vision of the team/company. If you want to be noticed – be that person who works, not just for themselves but for everyone involved."
And Lisa Hastings added on LinkedIn, "I think by being part of the team rather than aiming 'just to get yourself noticed' it inevitably happens. Only by working with others towards a vision or aim are you likely to rock their, and inevitably the company you're at's, world."
"Going above and beyond" was also a popular suggestion. Michele Mryick suggested on Facebook that knowing your customer and aiming to please him or her by doing just that is a good way to get noticed by senior managers. She said, "If you do your job well, you have only just done your job – above and beyond is noticed and appreciated not only clients but by upper management."
BrainBlenderTec offered a suitably succinct suggestion on Twitter, "Overperform with as little as possible always gets noticed," while Nedzad Neziri suggested on LinkedIn, "Do more than you get paid for. Why? Because doing more than expected will get you noticed (don't overshoot it out of scope also). On your job you will cope with ups and downs on a regular basis, but review your work [and] learn from your mistakes. Share your knowledge and listen to others. Find your spot under the spotlight."
Being a hard worker and a "people person," coming up with innovative solutions to problems, and setting your co-workers the right example are also important to you. Nick Etten said on LinkedIn, for example, "Taking interest in solving a problem or meeting a goal, using foresight to plan ahead and prepare for more than just the next step of a project, and setting a positive example for your co-workers to follow. These kinds of things can be done in any job no matter how simple the tasks or how complex the projects. Above all, though, make sure to build a good working relationship with your supervisor/manager. Take some time to become a recognizable face that can be trusted."
Our Twitter follower Vijay Mahajan offered these seven tips:
And the final word goes to Nicki Young on LinkedIn: "Be serious about your work, not about yourself - work hard, have fun."
In Part Two of our Career Journey series, our coaches share their top tips to help you prepare for an interview.
This week is learning at work week. See how you can make time for learning in the workplace.
Who doesn't enjoy a good sequel, trilogy or series? I do because I like watching a story evolve and unfold in, often, surprising ways! Managing your career can feel like a similar journey. In fact, the career journey you take develops over time, as you learn and grow. That's why I suggested this series of […]
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