This post was written by an external contributor. Rene Germain talks us through how to stand out as an intern or new graduate in a professional environment.
Standing out in the workplace as an intern or recently hired graduate can be tough – whether in a small company or large multinational business, ensuring you make an impact is hard graft. Follow these ten tips and trust us, you’ll be top of the pile in no time:
Dress for success
People that dress well for work carry themselves with a certain confidence, and they bring that same energy to their work. Dressing well doesn’t mean buying expensive and flash clothes; dress appropriately (according to your workplace guidelines) and wear things that make you feel good.
When you look good, you feel good, and you do good! In addition to this, how you dress creates a perception of you, and a lot of the time that’s all people have. Start on the right note by dressing for success.
Become an SME
Become a ‘subject matter expert’ with regards to your role and the area you work within. When you become a mini-expert in something, you become the go to person, which reflects that you are trusted and have a reputation for knowing your stuff.
It’s also a great thing for you in terms of developing a deep understanding and being able to communicate that information to others. Becoming a subject matter expert takes time, but here are some tips:
- Ask lots of questions, especially to the people who did your role before you. Take advantage of online training modules if your company has them.
- Network with other people within your area but outside your team. This can be really good in terms of offering a different perspective.
- Once you’re confident, share your knowledge with the team. Present to them, train up some of your colleagues on your area of expertise, and if you can, create a beginner’s guide to make it easier it easier for the next person.
Be known for something specific
This is closely linked to the above but this time, more skill specific. Are you really good at fancy PowerPoint presentations, or are you an Excel pro? Are you a good communicator and can present well? Whatever it is, make sure people know! This becomes really useful, especially when trying to get projects outside of your day to day work.
Not every day is going to be fun or exciting. Some days will be long and stressful, but your ability to remain positive and upbeat will really standout, and help increase the team morale.
Diversity networks / company initiatives
In the same way that universities have societies, most companies have networks. Some are sports related, others more diversity orientated, e.g. Women’s network, Black professionals, Asian professionals, LGBT, Disability networks and more.
Some of these networks may be firm wide, or organised according to regions or divisions. Try and get involved with some of these networks and advocate for them in your team. Get involved in networks you are genuinely passionate about, not just because you want to look good.
Demonstrating that you are fully aware of what is happening in your industry and how it may affect your company shows that you’re a broad thinker and have a genuine interest. You can demonstrate this by sharing the links to relevant articles with your team and briefly talk about new industry developments in team meetings.
Create your own projects
If you identify something that could be done better or that your team currently doesn’t do, but you think they should, make it into a project for yourself. It will show that you think outside of the box, take initiative and you’re proactive.
Offer to help
If your colleagues appear super busy and stretched, offer to help them, even if you have no idea what to do. It’s so much easier sometimes to do the work you’re set, but helping out in other areas shows you’re a real team player and, actually, the work is usually way more interesting.
Bring your authentic self to work
Just because you’re entering the corporate environment, it doesn’t mean that you must now leave your true self at home. One of the few ways you can truly differentiate yourself is by being you, because the workplace is full of a diverse range of people from all different backgrounds, with different interests.
Be excellent and work hard
Be excellent at what you do. Deliver everything to the best of your abilities and to a high standard. Don’t be afraid to get stuck into issues which are unfamiliar to you, as this is where you’ll learn the most.
So there you have it – follow these tips and sashay your way to success.