HOME::Career & Employment
Top 7 Ways to Distinguish Yourself at Work
By Gretchen Neels
[ Print |
Email This |
The economy is tightening and it’s an employer’s market. Want to know what kinds of things will make you stand out, both during an interview and at work once you get the job?
In both instances, it’s pretty easy these days to separate yourself from the pack. Younger professionals who take the time to dress better than their cohorts will do better. Forget peer pressure - it’s time for those serious about making a living to cast aside the adolescent antics of high school and college and get a grip. Below are seven keys to acing the interview and impressing your manager once you’re employed:
- Be on time.
Managing time is an important skill, and it starts with making appointments and keeping them. Be 10 – 15 minutes early for your interview. Once you start working, you will want to be consistently early for meetings and conference calls (bring work or something to read with you while you wait for others).
- Dress for the job you want.
If you are interviewing for an entry-level position, don’t dress the part during the interview or on the job. The number one complaint from managers is that young professionals dress too casually. Don’t do this! You will stand head and shoulder above the competition if you get the fact that looks matter! No flip-flops, denim, T-shirts, exposed bra straps, cleavage, etc. Save all that for after hours if you must.
- Follow up.
After your job interview, send thank-you notes (snail mail preferred) to all of those who took the time to meet with you. This is the time to emphasize why you are their ideal candidate. Once you’ve got the job, following up on assignments is key to your success. Be sure to let you manager know where you are in the course of an assignment, and always let them know when you’ve completed a project.
- Ask questions.
During an interview, your job is to determine if working at XYZ Company is a good fit for you. Do some digging and find out about your potential employer’s history, stock price, number of employees, management profiles and mission statement. These can be the basis for some great questions, such as “I see your stock price has doubled in the past 6 months – to what do you attribute the amazing growth?” Once you’re on board, continue to ask your manager questions about how you can help and add value to your team.
- Be enthusiastic.
Many managers know they can teach skills, but they can’t teach enthusiasm. If you can show high energy and a level of passion about the position you are interviewing for, you are way ahead of the pack. Enthusiasm continues to be a valuable trait when it comes to working with teams and being able to go the distance on projects that inevitably have their low points. Being able to stay positive and enthusiastic is what managers are looking for when it comes time to promote from within.
- Continue to network.
Networking is an on-going process for professionals of all levels. If networking got you to the interview – good for you! Stay in touch with classmates and those in your professional circle. Join associations and organization that will enhance your career and keep you in the loop in your industry.
- Be grateful.
Even if you don’t get the job you interviewed for, you will be closer to “yes” with the next. Be gracious when you hear that you didn’t get the job and thank your contact in the HR department. Often they look back at past interviewees when new positions come up. If you accept their bad news in a positive and professional manner, they will be impressed. If you have a job, be thankful for it. Telling a manager you are happy and grateful for your position will be music to their ears! Think of all the whining and complaining they hear. A grateful and appreciative attitude will not go unnoticed.
Gretchen Neels is President of Neels & Company, Strategic Business Communication, the largest provider of soft skills training to professional services organizations, covering all areas of business communication. http://www.neelscompany.com
Article Submitted On: May 26, 2008