10 Ways to Get Ahead at Work

January 3, 2014

get ahead at workMany of us are looking for ways to get ahead at work.

Whether it’s looking for a promotion, or whether you are looking to get a new job, or whether you just want better job satisfaction, there are things you can do to enhance your marketability.

If you want to advance further in your career – and in your life – here are some ways to get ahead at work:

1. Know what you’re good at and play to your strengths.

One of the best things you can do for your career is to understand your strengths and play to them. Know what you’re good at, and find ways to integrate your skills into your work.

When you can use your skills, you will be happier in work, and you will be more likely to excel in your job. Definitely consider this when you’re looking for a new job – look for one that best matches your skill set. Here are some interview tips that can help you highlight this in an interview.

2. Improve your skills.

Constant improvement can help you perform your job better, and get you more noticed at work. It can also result in a pay raise, or in the ability to change careers.

3. Develop new skills.

Find out what skills are desirable in a certain job or career field that you want, and make an effort to acquire those skills. You can go through a certification program, or work on a degree. Know what your employer, or what a potential employer, is looking for, and then do what you can to achieve the requisite skills.

4. Know your worth.

You should understand your worth. Find out what, generally, those doing similar work are paid, and what is reasonable to expect for someone with your skill set and experience level. There are a number of sites, including Payscale.com and Salary.com, that can help you figure out what is average for your location. Know what you’re worth, and don’t be afraid to ask for it. One good way to help demonstrate your value is to build a work portfolio. If you didn’t know this already, chances are your company thinks you’re overpaid.

5. Consider the worth of benefits.

Another thing you can do to get ahead at work is to consider how much your benefits are worth. In some cases, these can be more beneficial than a small raise in pay. Plus, if you are willing to be flexible about pay so that you can see an improvement in benefits, you can present yourself as a team player, and as someone who thinks outside the box.

6. Tend your network.

Who you know can be as important as what you know when it comes to your career. Make sure to keep your network current, and include contacts in your own company. You never know when a contact in another department can provide you with the inside track on transferring, or when you can get an in at a new company because of who you know. It never hurts to earn points by helping to refer a friend for a job either. Put effort into maintaining a network, and you could have access to more opportunities.

This comes in handy, not just when you’re looking to change or upgrade jobs. One of the best ways to prepare for a layoff is to build your network. If a pink slip shows up, one of first things to do is hit the phone and ask former co-workers if they know of any job openings.

7. Practice the Golden Rule.

We’ve all been told to treat others as we would like to be treated. Remembering the Golden Rule can help you get ahead at work as well. Help others when you can, and be willing to mentor others. Also, be willing to provide good advice, and help others as part of their networks. When you can build mutual respect, you will have more success in your job efforts.

8. Find useful things to do during downtime.

If you have downtime, find something useful to do at work. Whether it’s working on an idea to help improve efficiency, getting ahead on some other project, cleaning up your workspace or doing some extra preparation for a meeting, your commitment to being useful and industrious will be noticed – and that can help you get ahead at work. Surfing the net at work is probably not the sort of “useful” thing that will get you noticed in a good way.

9. Behave professionally.

This means that you don’t gossip about your co-workers, or badmouth your old boss in a job interview. Professionalism in your manner, as well as in how you dress and the speed and competency of your work, can go a long way toward helping you get ahead in your career.

Do your best to carry out your duties in a professional manner, and you will gain a reputation for being someone others want to work with. This also applies when you’re leaving a job. Avoid burning any bridges and be sure to give your two weeks notice.

10. Pay attention to your online profile.

Be aware of what you are posting online, and how it might affect your career. Your employers and coworkers may see what you are doing online, and it could hurt you at work. If you want to stay ahead, be careful about what you post on social media – especially if it is about work. It can also pay to be strategic about building your personal brand online so future employers like what they see when they Google your name.

What are some other ways you can get ahead at work? Leave a comment!

This article was originally published December 3rd, 2012.


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Miranda writes about personal finance almost every day. An experienced freelance writer, she's covered your money online and in print from every angle and is always looking for new ones.

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7 Responses to 10 Ways to Get Ahead at Work

  • @MoneyPerk

    These are very helpful tips in the job market. I really liked #3 on developing new skills and I can totally relate! I have never been a good salesman, I’ve always been on the shy side. Currently, I have a part time job at Under Armour as a sales associate. Even though I work 20 hrs. a week, it has helped me tremendously to speak to others about our products, and helping me become a better salesman.

    Loved this article btw. Keep up the good work!


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