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3 steps to stay 'visible' and keep your career on track in a changed world of work

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Posted 5 months ago by Roddy Adair, Director, Hays

How ‘visible’ do you really feel at work right now, having potentially not seen your managers and colleagues in months, unless via virtual contact?

Whether you’ve continued to go into work or are now based remotely, the world of work has changed for us all and that’s posed challenges for many employees trying staying visible and noticed. Findings from over 16,000 respondents in the Hays Market Outlook report revealed that two in five (40%) say that communication is the aspect of their organisation that has undergone the most change since the coronavirus outbreak and, worryingly, over a third (34%) say the amount of contact they now have with their manager is less than before lockdown was enforced.

What should you do?

In an unrecognisable world of work and facing significant barriers to communication, what do you need to do to keep yourself ‘visible’ to your managers and colleagues – and therefore keep your career goals on track?

If you are now working remotely at least some of the time, you will need to actively keep in touch, even if at first it may feel like you are overcommunicating.

1. Start with your manager

As the person you directly report into, your manager is your starting point to getting noticed more at work. Although they will already likely have oversight of your tasks and responsibilities, putting the below in place will give you more opportunities to get noticed for your achievements and successes:

  • Make some diary changes. This might include a weekly phone call, a chat over Slack or Microsoft Teams, or an emailed detailed KPI report each fortnight. Whatever form it takes, commit to regular communication so you have more opportunities to discuss your work, achievements and career goals. It’s an easy fix to ensure your manager notices more than just your day-to-day tasks.
  • Seek advice and feedback. Whenever you and your manager are working together, ensure you ask for their feedback. This provides them with the opportunity to acknowledge your efforts and helps you maximise opportunities for growth.
  • Take ownership. When you have the capacity, express interest to your manager in owning projects or leading your team through a new piece of work. Even if you can’t immediately find opportunities to step up for, showing that you’re up for a challenge will make your manager more likely to consider you first when they do arise.
  • Be transparent about your schedule. You may already be aware of the benefits of routine for your productivity, but it’s also valuable in helping your manager keep track of what you’re up to at work. Being clear about when you are and aren’t available goes a long way to building credibility and trust, and will continue to be hugely important as we transition into different ways of working.
  • Share your success and thanks: In those moments when you’re feeling proud of your work, don’t be afraid to share this with your manager. It’s fine to send a casual instant message rather than an email, and perhaps frame your achievement by saying “thank you for your support with this” to acknowledge the role that they might have played in this success.

2. Raise your voice in your inner circle of colleagues

While you’ll certainly want recognition from your manager, it’s likely that there’ll also be other people who you want to notice you at work.

Opportune moments for this often happen in meetings, which for many of us may be held virtually. It can be challenging to find your voice over a disjointed video stream or patchy audio quality – especially if you’re often one of the quieter voices in the room, or consider yourself to be quite introverted. But getting noticed in these situations is less about how much you say and more about what you say – so here are some things to consider before you next attend a meeting, virtual or otherwise:

  • What is your value?
    Take a moment before the meeting starts to work out what its purpose is and what your value could be. Do you have insight or information which is pivotal to the topic of discussion? Making a note of this beforehand will help you better see opportunities to bring this up.
  • What do you want to learn?
    If you don’t feel your role in the meeting is critical, work out what you want to learn. This will help you stay engaged in the meeting and might lead you to asking questions or steering the discussion in a certain way which will help you get noticed.
  • Is what you’re saying relevant?
    Often people are more likely to listen if they feel heard, so if you are raising a new topic or asking a question, briefly reiterate what the person before you said. Not only does this help the flow of the meeting but gives your comment relevance.
  • Are you still on track?
    Even the best listeners might find their mind wandering in a meeting. If you find this happening to you, don’t be afraid to ask a question to help get your focus back. You could say: “I’m sorry, I slightly lost track. Please could we take a step back…”. This will probably help others on the call too.
  • Have you made use of the time?
    Finally, make time before and/or after the meeting to chat with those present. Whether it’s catching up about your weekend or digesting some of the nitty gritty of the meeting itself, chatting outside of the agenda of the meeting can help you build rapport with others and put your name out there.

3. Keep building your wider network

Finally, think about how you can get yourself noticed within your wider network. If you are working remotely even some of the time, you have to be deliberate and dedicated about connecting with your colleagues, as there will be fewer opportunities for informal conversations in the office kitchen or the chance to network at industry events.

But the opportunities are there if you create them, so there’s no need to stop connecting with wider circles and putting yourself out there. Here are some ideas of how to keep expanding your network virtually:

  • Virtual coffee mornings and lunch dates – perfect for catching up with colleagues, mentors, clients and customers who you have a good relationship with.
  • Webinars and virtual industry events – the place to learn from industry experts and connect with likeminded professionals in your field.
  • Social media – where you can follow leaders, interact with professionals in different groups and profile your own thoughts and work.
  • Volunteering – an opportunity to meet new people and potentially expand your network into new areas aligned with your passion.

Once you dip your toe in the water you may be surprised how many virtual opportunities there are around you.