Graduates, Here’s How To Stand Out
You’re graduating with a strong GPA, you did well in all those extra technical courses in your major, and you were very involved in professional clubs and activities. Sounds like you will start out strong and move up fast in your new job. What else could you possibly do to stand out once you start your job?
After talking with many employers in a variety of job fields over the years, the areas that they bring up most when identifying which employees stand out to them are those with strong proficiencies in communications, interpersonal behaviors, and professional skills. If you’re not sure how solid you are in these three areas, then it’s time to solicit feedback from a mentor or previous colleague on how you fare on these competencies. Ask someone who will tell you the truth and then listen once they do!
On the communications side this includes writing skills, listening skills, and oral communications in small and larger groups. It’s not just whether you can create the detailed analyses to a problem, but can you explain what you have done so that others can follow what you are saying. Can you translate the analyses and interpret the results for someone else? As one manager recently noted to me,” there are plenty of sharp new employees with strong technical skills; I want someone who can explain what is going on in the data to my team so we understand them”.
Let’s assume you had some valuable experiences or internships where you learned how to interpret data and explain your results to someone else, whether through an executive summary you have written or in person in a group session. That’s great and that will certainly help you to stand out from others at work. Amazingly, many new employees just don’t have strong communication skills so you will differentiate yourself if you do have solid communication expertise.
Let’s also assume that you have carefully listened to others at work when they asked you questions, and that you tried to hear what they were really saying. That’s even better – listening skills are often not a strength of many people in the workplace. Just ask any employer and they will tell you that they wished they had employees who took the time to listen to their clients to understand their needs or more thoroughly listened to their colleagues to avoid misinterpretations and conflicts.
To know how effective your communication skills are, you could candidly ask someone. Then, if you got feedback that you are great at talking but really poor at listening, you could work on a plan to improve those skills. It’s that important – especially if you hope to move up some day. There are also plenty of programs that can help you improve communications skills. Make the investment. It will be worth it.
While communications skills are critical for all employees, especially new people trying to differentiate themselves, perhaps an even more valuable way to stand out in your new job would be through your interpersonal skills. Let’s just start with skills around being polite and showing common curtesy. This is so rare today that it definitely is noticeable. For example, if someone does something to help you, do you write them a note to thank them for their kindness? An actual hand-written note? Again, this is so unusual that when someone does it it truly stands out. It may seem trivial but in a world with increasingly more incivility, the nice gestures that people make to thank each other, say please, or offer to help each other, go a long way in creating a nicer culture and in making you be the kind of person people want to work with.
Your attitude is also important at work. Do you show initiative and proactively look for work to do or do you stand around and wait to be told what’s next? Having a positive, enthusiastic attitude may be so rare at work that it is visible to others and enables you to stand out. Offer to train a newer employee, volunteer to stay late or come in early, and thank people for the help they give you.
And then there’s professional skills. Professionalism involves showing good etiquette whether in person, on the phone, via email or text, or online. Dressing appropriately for the job, especially if you are meeting with clients or in the office. Following the firm’s dress code as it relates to clothes to wear, personal hygiene, grooming, etc. makes a difference. Few people will call you out when your hair is not combed, or you smell bad because you haven’t taken a shower or you’re wearing dirty clothes. It doesn’t mean they don’t notice it. Just like when you send an email or text that has a lot of misspellings in it or is rude. People will notice. They just may avoid saying anything because they are reluctant to give you direct feedback. People avoid addressing these issues, but they still evaluate you because of how you show up at work. They will dock you for it when thinking about who they want to promote. Why? Because they want to put someone in front of their clients or higher-level employees who act like professionals.
Of course, this doesn’t mean everyone has to look the same or that you should lose your individuality at work. It does mean, however, that you need to be clean and neat, and address people (via phone, email, text, etc.) in a professional manner. Professionalism is not, however just about dress code. Rather, it means conducting yourself with integrity, accountability, and high standards. It means showing up for work on time or coming back from breaks on time to demonstrate respect for the firm and its rules. It means taking responsibility for your work products so that they meet or exceed the standards. Treating others in a respectful manner sends a message about your level of professionalism.
Remember, having outstanding technical skills helps to get you your first job in a firm. Having compelling communication, interpersonal and professional skills will enable you to stand out from everyone else to move up in the firm. And, more importantly, it will enable you to contribute to a much better work culture for everyone.
For more updates check below links and stay updated with News AKMI.
Education News || Tech News || Automotive News || Science News || Lifetime Fitness || Sports News || Giant Bikes