“JT & Dale Talk Jobs” is the largest nationally syndicated career advice column in the country and can be found at JTandDale.com.
Dear J.T. & Dale: I just started a new job and feel invisible. I know folks are busy and I’m just an entry-level person, but I want to grow my career. However, nobody will give me the time of day. — Mimi
Dale: Thank you for that question, Mimi. Too many entry-level people are your opposite — they’re yearning to be invisible.
J.T.: Still, it’s not your co-workers’ job to make you stand out. It’s your career, so you need to find ways to get people’s attention. There’s a great new book out by Emily Bennington and Skip Lineberg, Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job. In it, I found a great section called “Thirteen Ways to Raise Your Profile.” My personal favorite is called “Don’t Be Meat in the Seat,” and highlights how you need to build relationships with co-workers in order to get noticed.
Dale: I agree it’s not your co-workers’ job to help you stand out, but should you get yourself a great boss, he or she will encourage you to find a specialty and develop it. However, the average boss is… well, average. So, odds are, you’ll probably have to do it yourself. Early in my career in corporate market research, I followed my interests and began studying advertising testing. I developed some new standards for testing commercials. (This sounds technical, but it wasn’t — I was just the first to pull together a history of the company’s ad test scores and create a kind of “record book.”) Meanwhile, I found a consultant who made predictions of what would happen to sales based on various marketing scenarios. I ended up meeting with executives far above my level because I was the company expert on those two topics. The point: It’s NOT just the old “who you know” that matters; the “what you know” creates introductions to those “whos” that make all the difference.
Jeanine “J.T.” Tanner O’Donnell is a professional development specialist and the founder of the consulting firm, JTODonnell.com, and of the job search blog, CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten resolves employment and other business disputes as a mediator with AgreementHouse.com.
Please visit them at JTandDale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.
© 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
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