As a young person, landing a job in your industry and in a workplace you are excited about is the ultimate goal.
You’re learning the ropes, getting to know your coworkers, and becoming used to the processes and systems that come with the job. And while it’s perfectly okay to take the time to become confident in your work, it’s also very important to set your sights on growing, challenging yourself and proving your value to your employer early in the game so you can move up the ladder.
According to a recent millennial leadership survey from The Hartford, 80% of millennials see themselves as leaders, but only 12% of them held management roles in 2013.
But with the right attitude, hard work and a bit of risk-taking, standing out from the crowd doesn’t have to be a feat.
We gathered 6 helpful tips to help you shine in your workplace and get you the promotion and raise you want.
1. Pay your dues
It’s no secret that someone at the beginning of their career is going to have to try harder to shine than someone with over 20 years of experience. When you’re just starting out at a workplace, first impressions are everything. Your employer is going to be paying attention to your work ethic, your attitude and your willingness to learn and stand out.
Are you a team player who’s easy to work with? Do you show enthusiasm and passion? Are you willing to go the extra mile when it comes to projects? These are all factors that matter not only to prove yourself in your current position, but also in laying the groundwork for a future promotion.
2. Don’t be afraid to speak up
The way you present yourself when collaborating during the first six months at a new workplace will be very indicative of the kind of employee you are. Young professionals may not speak up and share their ideas during meetings because they’re afraid of a bad reaction from senior staff — worried that their ideas will be seen as uneducated, or they’re not allowed to have a say.
But more often than not, your colleagues will be much more impressed by your eagerness to contribute than they will be if you decide to stay silent. As a new employee, you’re not expected to know the company inside out, but you are expected to make the effort and take initiative.
3. Be a self-starter
Setting your own goals, timelines and being able to hold yourself accountable are all very attractive traits in a new employee. Managers don’t want, nor have time, to babysit you — so pay attention to general project deadlines and adjust your own processes accordingly. It can be as simple as creating a spreadsheet with your own deadlines and goals, or calendar reminders of when tasks should be complete to make sure you’re not slowing anyone else down. Being self-sufficient will not only impress your boss, but you’ll start to develop a sense of autonomy in your role that will empower and motivate you.
4. Keep a record of all your victories
While your managers are taking notice of your performance, they’re busy people with many other responsibilities — and they aren’t paying attention to every victory you have in your role.
It’s incredibly important to track your own progress and keep good notes of big and small wins. When it comes time to negotiate a raise or a promotion, you’ll have a tangible record of the value you’ve brought to the company. Being able to show off all your hard work and why you deserve a promotion will be much more convincing than simply saying, “I think I’ve done great work.”
5. Pay attention to traits of valuable coworkers
When you’re new, building relationships with higher-up employees in the company is extremely important to your professional development. See them as mentors rather than intimidating people who are above you. Get to know them, seek advice and ask them how they got to their position. This will show your colleagues that you’re serious about the job, that you admire their work and want to follow in their footsteps of success. Plus, if you have a good rapport with your coworkers, you’ll be considered more trustworthy to the decision-maker who’s going to give you a promotion or a raise.
6. Make a reasonable request
Unless your employer approaches you about a promotion or a raise, you’ll have to work up the courage to ask for it yourself. If you truly believe you deserve it, an acceptable timeframe in requesting a promotion or a raise is after one year. But be sure your request is reasonable.
Don’t sell yourself short, but don’t go into negotiating with the expectation that your salary is going to double or that your title is going to be on par with someone in the company for 10+ years. Remember, you’re likely a little lower on the totem pole right now, and the more modest you are in your request, the more likely you are to receive it.
Next Up: Why Millennials are your company’s saviour.