Invisible at Work? Here’s What to Do
By Donna Farrugia, Executive Director of The Creative Group
Business is improving for your employer, and you’re certain you’ll receive the long-delayed promotion you’ve been coveting. But when the announcement is made, you find out a colleague was given the opportunity to move up. What do you do?
If you possess similar skills and experience as your coworker, you may have been passed over because he or she does more to get noticed. You may think that your work speaks for itself, but often times, and particularly when working on group projects, you have to toot your own horn in order to gain visibility. Here are five ideas:
- Conduct a self-assessment. Before you look for ways to promote yourself, take an honest look at your professional abilities. Are you committed to continual learning? If so, what steps have you taken to keep current on industry trends? Make sure you are always striving toward excellence and improving any weaknesses. The more effective you are in your role, the more opportunities there are to be recognized for your contributions.
- Show initiative. Volunteer for new assignments, even those considered unpleasant or risky; sometimes these offer the best opportunities to showcase your abilities. Perhaps the creative director has just requested help with an important internal initiative and no one is willing to take charge. This is a good chance for you to take on a leadership role and secure a solid platform for your ideas. Your efforts to become involved when others are reluctant will be both appreciated and acknowledged.
- Speak up. Demonstrate your enthusiasm and interest in the company by actively participating in group discussions. Before you attend meetings, review the agenda and prepare a few points of interest on the topic at hand. While you don’t want to talk just to hear yourself speak, do not hesitate to share your ideas when you have something valuable to add. Also look for opportunities to present on topics. You might, for example, volunteer to serve as a trainer during new-hire orientations, providing an overview of the creative department and how people in other areas of the company can work with your group effectively.
- Keep your successes top of mind. You may have heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” But in many cases, it’s more important who knows you. If key people at your company don’t know about your accomplishments, there is little chance you’ll be selected to participate, much less manage, high-profile projects. You can get on their radar screen by taking small steps, like sending update memos for your team or volunteering to present your group’s milestones at a meeting. These types of activities can help increase your visibility with executives.
Working hard will always be critical to your success, but you will never achieve your full potential unless others are aware of your expertise and accomplishments. Pursuing new challenges and getting involved in team and cross-departmental activities will help you steadily build awareness and better position you for future advancement opportunities.
Donna Farrugia is executive director of The Creative Group, a specialized staffing service placing interactive, design and marketing professionals with a variety of firms. More information, including online job-hunting services, candidate portfolios and The Creative Group’s award-winning career magazine, can be found at creativegroup.com.