If you feel like you’re ready to get ahead at your job but aren’t sure where to start, this post is for you.
We all want to look good in the eyes of our employer. It sets us up for promotions and raises, and helps us feel better about our work.
As you work toward advancement, there are several ways in which you can position yourself for success and stand out in the crowd, and we’ve compiled a few tips below.
Depending on the type of work you do, these suggestions may take different forms, but they should be a good starting point toward making yourself a more attractive employee.
1. Update your skills
In nearly every field, there are constant developments and changes to best practices. This makes it important for you to continuously update your skillset.
It could be something as simple as taking a computer course, brushing up on customer service, or taking a professional-development class. Some companies have their own in-house training programs. Take advantage.
Also, you can look at job descriptions for similar positions to your own (or those a step or two higher) and see what kinds of skills those businesses want in their employees. It could give you a sense of what talents you want to cultivate.
2. Study your industry
It’s easy to get myopic when it comes to your job. You get caught up in the day-to-day routine and rarely stop to look outside your work and your company.
Studying your industry is a good way to stay on top of things and potentially bring new ideas to your job.
“Most industries have trade magazines or websites that have the latest news in that industry. It’s important to read these so that you are well informed and can discuss recent industry events and changes with your coworkers, supervisors and management,” Andy Teach, author of “From Graduation to Corporation: The Practical Guide to Climbing the Corporate Ladder One Rung at a Time,” told Forbes. “Information is power.”
Find blogs about your field, check social media websites for groups about your business and take a look at what you’re competitors are doing.
Finding additional resources and ideas for your job will make you more valuable as an employee and help you think outside the box.
3. Accept challenges and new roles
“If all you do is what is listed in your job description, it’s impossible to get ahead,” says Dan Schawbel, a career author, in a post on Fast Company.
One great way to make yourself a more attractive employee is by taking on roles and responsibilities that may be outside your normal purview. In doing so, you’ll learn about different aspects of the business and perhaps gain a broader perspective of the company as a whole.
Taking on challenges and other duties also shows your employer that you’re willing to do the extra things to make the business thrive.
Being able to take on various jobs at your workplace makes you a more valuable employee and could help position you as a candidate for future job openings.
4. Learn who you are
This suggestion is a bit more nuanced than the others, but it’s important nonetheless.
Knowing who you are — your strengths and weaknesses, how you are perceived and how you interact with others — can go a long way toward improving your relationships in the workplace.
Being aware of your coworkers’ personalities and how they mesh with your own can help you communicate better and sidestep potential issues.
Companies are spending big bucks on personality testing—it’s a $500 million a year business, according to the Wall Street Journal. While you might not have the opportunity to take such a test, just putting more thought into your business relationships can go a long way toward improving your interactions at work.
5. Get a better education
Getting a better education likely offers the clearest path toward becoming a more attractive employee.
Obtaining a degree or certificate can make you more of an expert in your profession or put you in line for advancement. A decision to go back to school will depend on your field, current level of employment, career goals and other factors. But it’s nearly universally accepted: the higher the degree, the better the job.
Take a look at your options and aspirations, as well as how your employer would view a new degree, then do some research and make your decision.
6. Find a mentor
When it comes down to it, being an attractive employee is about being better at your job and proving yourself invaluable to the company.
With this in mind, you might be able to find someone who can guide you in your quest to become a more attractive employee: a mentor.
Mentors can offer experience and insight, and answer questions about a job you may be aspiring to. They can also identify skills you need to develop and help you make connections with industry leaders and professional groups or associations.
Receiving constructive feedback and tips from a mentor is a good way to learn more about your job and how to excel.
Also note that it doesn’t have to be a formal arrangement. A mentor could just be a higher-up with whom you’ve opened the lines of communication and feel comfortable talking to.
Hopefully these suggestions have given you some ideas on how to be a more attractive employee. If you have tips for us, please leave them in the comment section below.