How to stand out in the work place

You could be one of ten or one of 1,000, but garnering attention for the right reasons can set you apart from your peers 
by Bethan Rees

Your first job after graduating can be daunting. So can your second, third and fourth. But don’t let this get in the way of showing your employer exactly why they were right to hire you.

Here are some simple rules to follow to ensure you stand out amongst your colleagues.
More than wordsMany of us have been taught to never ‘judge a book by its cover’. However, according to psychologist Leslie Zebrowitz’s research article, First Impressions from Faces, people are unable to inhibit judging someone by their facial expressions. The research shows that this can lead to inaccurate impressions of someone, and the average person makes up their mind about you within seconds. 

Body language is just as important as the words you’re saying, and there are some quick fixes to make yourself seem confident, open and approachable. 

Stand up straight and keep your shoulders back – a slouchy posture can be read as insecure. When talking to your boss or manager, look them in the eye. But there is such a thing as too much eye contact. Research published by Royal Society Open Science explains how Nicola Binetti, a researcher at UCL, and his colleagues recruited 500 visitors at the London Science Museum for a project that involved monitoring pupil dilation in response to eye contact. Participants were most comfortable with eye contact that lasted just over three seconds. Most preferred a duration of between two and five seconds, but no one enjoyed eye contact for less than a second or longer than nine.
Play to your strengths No one is good at everything, despite our best efforts. So pinpoint three key skills or talents you have that set you apart from others. These could be anything from public speaking to being an expert writer on pensions. Use these talents to your advantage. For example, if you’re a strong public speaker, make sure your team, manager and employer know that you’re happy to help with presentations and pitches, even if this isn’t in your job description. Also, identifying yourself as an expert to others on something, such as financial planning, will come in handy. They will call upon you when this comes up, and for that moment, you’ll be the most important person in the room. 
Manage your timeTime management can be one of the more difficult things to conquer in your work life, but it can make the difference between a good worker and an excellent worker. It is a skill that needs to be learnt, and there are several methods that might help – different systems work for different people.

The ABC analysis is a technique that works on categorising your work load by priority. A indicates that the task is urgent and important, B points to important, but not urgent, and C is tasks that are unimportant. As simple as this might sound, this can help boost productivity because the B and C tasks will take a back seat until A tasks are complete.

Consider using a time tracking system (such as Toggl) that synchronises and collates information added in by the user to report on how time is spent and analyse productivity.

Eliminating procrastination, working efficiently and meeting every deadline is a sure-fire way to stand out from a crowd at work. Being a productive employee frees up time for you to develop more skills, and support your co-workers – which is a good way to earn brownie points. Managers are always on the lookout for workers who can be counted on to deliver, so time management is a hugely important skill to have.

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Published: 16 Mar 2018
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