The little-discussed fifth step to career success
Having a resume that lands interviews is only step one in your quest for career success. Step two is nailing the interview. Step three is getting the offer. Step four is starting your new job. But it’s only step five – being a remarkable employee – that guarantees the fabulous career you’ve likely imagined for yourself.
Over the last ten years of resume writing in Tampa Bay I’ve worked with hundreds of candidates. Some really stand out in their attitude and approach to work (and life in general), and those are the folks I know are going to do well. They do, and often I see them again for a resume update when they’re ready to pursue the next opportunity.
What are the intangible aspects that make these people stand out? It’s not their reliability or dependability; anyone who wants to keep their job has these. It’s not that they’re proactive, diligent, or leaders either, because these traits are expected of every employee. What makes these people the best candidates and the people who “get ahead” is their remarkableness – the fact that they apply the effort to be remarkable employees.
So how do they do it? Is it some special talent you’re either born with or not? Nope. Like anything worthwhile, it involves hard work and dedication, as outlined in the following attributes that anyone can master.
They ignore job descriptions
You know the person at the customer service counter who looks completely bored and can’t help you because it’s not their job? Those are not remarkable employees.
Remarkable employees are the opposite of these folks. They recognize problems that negatively affect the business or customer projects, and step in to help without being asked – even if it’s not technically their job. They get that everything is their job, because if things go pear shaped and the business folds, there goes their job.
They’re different – but they also know when to tone it down
Remarkable employees are a bit weird, but in a good way. They’re often quirky and proud to be different, and for good reason: They see things differently and therefore bring fresh perspectives to their work. And because they’re slightly unusual they tend to make the work environment fun, delight clients with their unique ideas, and give their team flair and food for thought.
But what separates the remarkable employees from the simply strange is that remarkable employees know when to subjugate their uniqueness for the good of their company. They know when it’s appropriate to be silly and when being more serious is the best course of action. It can be a hard line to toe, but keeping the most unique parts of themselves hidden until they fully know their company’s culture and how they fit into it is a good start.
They’re free with their praise and rarely complain
People like to feel good, and when it comes to work not much feels better than being praised publicly. Remarkable employees know this, and recognize the contributions of others to boost morale, support coworkers, and generally make the office a nicer place to be.
People don’t like to feel bad, and having to work with someone who complains a lot makes you feel pretty bad. So remarkable employees keep it to themselves for the most part, unless the problem is dangerous or critical. But even then they don’t just vent; they handle it in private whenever possible by going to a coworker or boss with the issue, rather than waiting for a group meeting to drop a bomb.
They speak up when others won’t
It’s been said that if one person has a question then it’s certain that others do too. Remarkable employees understand this and often speak up with a question or comment they know others have, but are afraid to verbalize. They have an intuitive feel for what those around them are concerned with and step up to help make sure issues are resolved before they become giant problems.
They’re always tinkering
Remarkable employees are the people that are never satisfied – but in a good way. Sometimes the adage “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” is applicable, but remarkable employees often don’t heed this advice and work on building better solutions just because they can.
Great employees follow processes; remarkable employees adjust them to improve productivity. Great employees meet timelines; remarkable employees beat them with small incremental improvements. Great employees get recognized for following protocol. But remarkable employees get promoted for besting it.