How to get noticed at work

Posted October 13, 2011, by Helen Isbister

'The adage out of sight, out of mind certainly holds true in the workplace.'

Climbing the career ladder can be a downright unfair pursuit. Some people have a knack for picking up promotions and pay rises simply by breathing, while others seem to miss out despite slaving away for hours.

Staying back late, keeping your nose to the grindstone and doing a good job doesn't necessarily mean you are going to fast track it to the top. You might have incredible skills, but if they're teamed with a lack of talent for self-promotion you could be invisible when it comes to promotion season. Dedicate some of the working week to distinguishing yourself from the pack, so the boss will not only learn your name but will know how important you are for the company.

Plan your moves wisely to make sure you get noticed for the right reasons. The only thing you are going to become is unpopular if you swan around the office brazenly talking yourself up, park a red Ferrari in the lobby, suck up shamelessly to senior management and take credit for other people's work.

Do quality work

The first step to getting credit for your work is making sure it’s worth noticing in the first place. It doesn’t matter how much you wave around your latest project if it’s as impressive as a lump of sand. If your work is poor, then you have two options – pick up your game or fly under the radar and hope no-one catches onto your incompetence. Otherwise you’ll be shown the door – and not the one that leads to a private office with water views.

Be indispensible

Nothing earns recognition like being the office superhero who flies in and saves the day when corporate disaster looms. Coming to the rescue will keep you in the good books with your colleagues, the boss and the promotion fairy. Doing your own job is expected, but if you can go beyond the call of duty in other areas you won't be confined either by the four walls of your department or a glass ceiling. Going to industry classes will develop your skills, keep you on top of the latest developments and give you an edge that will catch the boss's eye.

Speak up

If your nose is always to the grindstone, the coup you pulled off, the money you made the company or your exceptional accounting finesse might slink by the boss's attention and find itself a home in the wallpaper. Keep the boss up to date with the projects you are working on, and don't be afraid to suggest new ideas. Meetings are a great chance to get noticed by the people at the top of the food chain, so speak up and show that you are valuable and enthusiastic.

Put your hand up

Volunteering to do extra work is a good way to register on your boss's radar. Stay alert for opportunities that will allow you to show off your talents and show that you are able to go beyond the call of duty. If it's a challenging task that others are afraid to take on, then so much the better. Don't take on more than you can handle, but if you feel you can have a decent crack at it then you will be well respected in the boss's eyes.


Get to know people in other departments, make the effort to go to Friday night drinks, chat to people in the kitchenette and before you know it people will know who you are. If you get your name out there, you are more likely to be considered when opportunities arise. Participating in professional organisations that are valued by your employer can enhance your chances of getting noticed and make you a more well rounded employee. Include your boss in your networking regimen. Not only will it put your name into their vocabulary, but you will also be able to do some reconnaissance on what they value in an employee.

Icing on the cake

Polish up any rough edges so your performance really shines. Arriving early and leaving late will impress the boss and show you are keen. Also dress for the role you want to be – if you look the part you are more likely to get the part. Doing nice little things around the office is always going to win friends, influence people and get yourself noticed. Remember people's birthdays and bring in a cake to celebrate the occasion. Brighten up the office with flowers, greet everyone you come across with a smile and organise after-work drinks.

Helen Isbister

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