How to Make Your Work Stand Out

Your PowerPoints are powerful. Your reports are remarkable. And yet you’re feeling like no one notices all your good work. You’re sometimes left wondering, Where’s the love in the workplace?

Being overlooked for your contributions can not only hurt your performance and your compensation, it can also affect your relationship with your co-workers, your day-to-day job satisfaction and your ability to feel motivated to take on challenging new projects.

But solutions for getting positively noticed at work can be surprisingly counterintuitive, from articulating your disappointment to taking on a new hobby. Here are six new ways to raise your profile on the job.

Raise Your Profile

Raise Your Profile

Your PowerPoints are powerful. Your reports are remarkable. And yet you’re feeling like no one notices all your good work. You’re sometimes left wondering, Where’s the love in the workplace?

Being overlooked for your contributions can not only hurt your performance and your compensation, it can also affect your relationship with your co-workers, your day-to-day job satisfaction and your ability to feel motivated to take on challenging new projects.

But solutions for getting positively noticed at work can be surprisingly counterintuitive, from articulating your disappointment to taking on a new hobby. Here are six new ways to raise your profile on the job.

Speak Up When You’re Dissatisfied

Speak Up When You’re Dissatisfied

Putting on a happy face when you’re feeling disgruntled or disappointed may not be helping your profile. According to a recent University of Liverpool study published in Human Relations that aimed to study the way feelings can impact the workplace, the authors found being too positive can actually backfire. Yes, getting angry (albeit, constructively) can lead to a better outcome than staying too complacent and not “rocking the boat.”

Other research backs up these results. A study published in Emotion on how feelings of happiness and anger impact well-being revealed that those who indulged in feeling angry before a pre-arranged confrontation showed better psychological health than the subjects who were supposed to remain happy before a pre-arranged “joyful” event.

So, if you’re feeling left out and not recognized for all of the work you’re putting in, consider articulating your frustration by arranging a time to speak your mind with your boss. Don’t just put on a happy face and let it slide.

Find a Mentor

Find a Mentor

According to a recent Center for Work-Life Policy report published by Harvard Business Review, finding a mentor is a form of “relationship capital” that is too often dismissed by women seeking advancement. “Among the paths to power, sponsorship is undervalued — and thus underutilized — by both men and women,” wrote the study authors. However, men, they add, still get benefits from the “old-boy networks” so women should embrace just how “who you know” can help get them noticed in their careers.

The study’s authors couldn’t have said it better: “Seizing it is, in part, a matter of women learning how to ask for more dedicated support — because with that support, they will definitely ask for more stretch assignments, greater recognition, more pay and more leadership opportunities.”

Harnessing the power of sponsorship, however, is also a matter of women doing what women do best: establishing lasting bonds and negotiating win-win outcomes. So make time for coffee with your superiors or grab a drink with a seasoned colleague. Cultivating those one-on-one connections could get you front-of-mind for the next promotion.

Mind Your Body Language

Mind Your Body Language

Thanks to mom, you know that “sitting up straight” improves your physical presence. But joint research from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and Stanford University now offers some scientific results to further evidence this claim.

It appears that taking on a posture that makes you look like you’re actually taking up more space in a room makes you seem powerful, regardless of your actual rank in the company. Dubbed “posture expansiveness” by the authors, “opening up your body” so you stand with your legs slightly apart, for example, gets you noticed in a good way. Plus, these subtle body changes don’t just influence how you’re perceived, they also affect your mindset. Subjects even felt more confident taking up more room.

Schedule Shorter Standing Meetings

Schedule Shorter Standing Meetings

Think your presentations lull colleagues to complacency? Want to get noticed for your bold ideas? Then arrange for shorter meetings that make people literally stand up to listen to what you have to say.

According to a recent Olin Business School at Washington University study, non-sedentary meetings inspire groups to get more excited about projects, making ideas more memorable. By testing the physiological responses of participants as they were gathered around a whiteboard while brainstorming, study authors learned that participants got more jazzed when they were on their feet, not in a chair.

Don’t Relax

Don’t Relax

Got a nerve-wracking big presentation coming up or a critical meeting with a boss? To “kill it” and get on your boss’s mind, Harvard Business School research has the secret. Rather than telling yourself to “relax” or “calm down” before your big event, getting really amped up can actually improve your performance. Study author Alison Wood Brooks puts it simply: “When people feel anxious and try to calm down, they are thinking about all the things that could go badly. When they are excited, they are thinking about how things could go well.”

So go on, rev yourself up!

Have a Hobby

Have a Hobby

Think coming in on weekends will get you more recognition on the job? Not exactly, say San Francisco State University psychologists. After interviewing 350 subjects on how they spent their free time out of the office and compared it to their performance rankings by their bosses, they found that those who devoted themselves often to weekend pursuits scored up to 30 percent higher on job reports.

While the study’s authors couldn’t determine if these rankings had to do with actual job performance or perception of their work habits, the conclusion was clear: out of work interests can garner you more points on the job. Consider enrolling in that painting class or joining that running club you always wanted to try. It just may translate into grabbing your boss’s attention on Monday.

You Might Also Like:
6 Ways to Stand Out at Work
How to Survive a Toxic Workplace
Are You Sending the Right Signals at Work?

Join the Discussion