Make the Most of Every Job You Have and Boost Your Resume
Maybe you’ve just landed a job, or you’ve been in an established position for a while – either way, it’s important not to lose sight of the big picture - growth. Whether you plan on staying with your current employer or you’re considering a change, it’s always a good idea to maximize your time by learning everything you can and honing your skills to the best of your ability. Here are some tips to make the most of your job:
Have an idea? Consider sending it to respected colleagues for feedback. Tell your boss or bring it up at a meeting. It could be as simple as a procedural change such as changing the order in which tasks are completed so that they are done faster. If a process is expensive, doing some research and finding cheaper ways to do the same task is immensely valuable.
Also, don’t be afraid to proof and correct mistakes. Just because someone else approved a draft or strategy, etc., doesn’t mean there can’t be improvements made to it. Change and adaptation are essential to success.
There’s no shame in asking questions - “there are no dumb questions, except the ones you don’t ask.” If you don’t know what you want to know, then seek out some experienced advice. A mentor can warn you about things you may never have considered and keep you from being blindsided by unforeseen events or costs.
Listen More Than You Speak
Sometimes your peers and superiors will provide you with constructive and in some cases, unconstructive criticism without being prompted. It’s important to keep your response to this positive. You may be the best at what you do, but there could be a different process. Listening illustrates that you care about giving the best possible work to your company. As difficult as it may be, admit to yourself that you don’t know everything.
Quantify Other Accomplishments That Describe Your Speed, Efficiency, Engagement - When Possible
Document your speed and efficiency in a quantifiable way. Did you manage a project that was completed early? How big was the task? How many tasks did you complete?
- Products (“produced 140 widgets per hour”
- People (“Managed staff of 75 …”)
- Built a new website in 1 month.
- Time (“Turned a two-hour procedure into a 20-minute task”)
- Marketing (increased conversion rate)
One of the most important ways you can quantify the work that you do is through financials. This is especially true when you can bring up financials that are greater than your current salary. This can give a prospective employer a calculation of your return on their investment. If your role was more indirect in the ROI, be creative. There usually is some way to make the connection to your real dollar worth.
- “Responsible for the security of over $20,000 worth of video production equipment.”
- Dollars (“… with sales topping $35,000 per month”)
Show Off a Little
When it is time for an evaluation, show your list of accomplishments to your superiors. You can really help yourself by making sure that managers and supervisors in your organization understand the effort you put into your job and the results you produce. Your work might not always speak for itself, so you must speak for yourself. Make sure that managers understand the effort you put into your job and the results you produce. A bit of modest self-praise can help to demonstrate your effectiveness and help in getting a promotion. Provide the right amount of information about yourself and don’t beat your accomplishments to death. Too many trips to the boss’s office may work against you.
If you go through your work days just trying to avoid being fired, then you are probably headed for trouble. Instead, focus on how you add value to your company and how you can increase that value. Perpetuate positivity and an optimistic attitude to those on your team. Work smarter than your competition and you can get ahead every time.