How to Stand Out in an Entry-Level Role

by Megan Van Groll

If you find yourself at the bottom of the food chain at work, there may not seem to be a clear path for moving up. You’re new and learning the ropes, so the responsibility you have reflects that. The work you do at the entry level may not be that visible to those in power — yet earning recognition and respect from them is critical to moving up. It’s not enough to simply do a great job at what you were hired to do. If you want to move up, you’ll have to get on the radar of your company’s leadership. Here’s how to stand out and impress.

Be an intrapreneur.
Intrapreneurs are those who think like entrepreneurs, but work within a larger organization. They think creatively and strategically, and aren’t afraid to voice their opinions or push new ideas forward. They also take ownership of their careers. Intrapreneurs are more likely to be seen as leaders. If you want to move up, adopt this mindset at the beginning of your career and you’ll likely go further, faster. Read also: Why You Should Be an Intrapreneur at Work.

Present yourself with confidence.
Work on your body language to ensure you come across as a calm, collected, and confident person. Read How to Be Confident and Reduce Stress in 2 Minutes Per Day by James Clear.

Avoid using language or vocal patterns that may undermine your efforts to be seen as a leader. These range from adding unnecessary qualifiers, saying “um” or “like” too much, or turning statements into questions. Read How To Instantly Sound More Confident The Next Time You Make A Phone Call from Lifehack for more advice on sounding confident.

Ask for advice.
Studies show that seeking advice is a great way to endear yourself to the person being consulted. Your request has to be sincere for this to work, so rather than employ this as a strategy by itself, let this be encouragement to you. If you have questions or need someone’s advice, don’t be afraid to reach out for feedback. You might even end up with an ally.

Learn the delicate art of self promotion.
It’s not enough to simply perform well. You have to make sure you get credit for that work! If your manager doesn’t already request regular written status updates of what you’re working on, make a point of sending them details. Otherwise, they may not know all the work you’re doing. These can be emails with a list of all the projects you have going on for the week. And when you receive a nice email with praise for your work, don’t be afraid to send it on to your manager with a simple “FYI.” They’ll appreciate knowing that others are happy with your work.

If you created an internal document, judge whether it would be inappropriate for you to subtly add your name to the footer of each page. Doing so will ensure no one else can take credit for what you’ve done. And if you learned something new, whether from attending a conference or reading a book on your industry, find a way to share this knowledge with your peers and superiors. You could write up a quick one page POV or give a brief presentation on what this means for your specific company. Either way, you’re helping your company while presenting yourself as an active contributor and thought leader. Since you’re serving your company by doing this, you’re not being overly self-promotional. And you still shine because you’re the one that brought these ideas forward.

Paying your dues is a necessary step in the process of building your career, but it doesn’t have to be grudge work done in silence in the background. Position yourself for the role you aspire to, act and speak with confidence, and find subtle ways to get the credit you deserve. You’ll be well on your way to moving up the ladder.