Workplace stars tend to have one thing in common: They take initiative and make sure their contributions are noticed. Involving yourself in more high-profile work and highlighting your accomplishments can help you reach your goal, whether it's a raise, a new title, more recognition, or a stronger resume that leads to the next new job.
Take these steps to show you're a valuable member of the team:
Know what you want
Remaining focused on a specific career goal will help guide your actions and keep you motivated while you invest the necessary time and effort. Your objectives should be as concrete as possible.
If you want a raise, research realistic salary ranges for your position. Knowing your value on the job market can give you the confidence to ask for a salary bump and explain why you deserve it. If you want to update your skillset, think about what you'd like your next promotion or job to be, and review similar job listings to see what qualifications or expertise you'll need to acquire.
Keep a record of your accomplishments
Tracking what you've done can give you examples and evidence when it's time to ask for a raise or promotion or update your resume. Maintain a file where you record your important contributions. If you take on a new responsibility — even a temporary one — write a note about it with a quick description of the skills you demonstrated and specific results achieved. If your boss, co-workers or clients praise you for a job well done, make a note of that (or save that glowing email to your file).
Set a calendar reminder for once a month to assess what you've done lately. Make sure you've noted any big projects completed, or new responsibility or recognition you've received.
Improve on business as usual
Eye-catching projects may not fall into your lap — sometimes you have to find them. Think about your daily responsibilities and look for ways to improve within them. You might explore ways to cut your office supply budget, come up with a new system for tracking client preferences or research ways to solve persistent process logjams, for example.
Look out for apps and software that might help keep work better organized, or consider ways to retool your current systems. Make sure any changes you suggest provide real value. You might also volunteer to contribute to projects that look interesting, even if they're not part of your job description. Trying something new in one area can inspire innovation elsewhere.
Come to performance reviews prepared to discuss specific ways your work has benefitted the company. Outside of review time, keep your profile elevated by giving your boss quick updates on projects and problems solved. If you've found a smart solution that your co-workers could benefit from knowing about, spread the word — when they personally benefit from your knowledge or research, they'll remember your involvement.
Building a more satisfying work life is often a matter of reshaping your habits at the office — and always being mindful that you're aiming for a career, not just a job. It requires effort, but the payoff can be well worth it.
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