Whether your office is large or small, you will always notice that there is one person (or sometime a few people) who seem to be “the one”. They are the one who are great friends to everyone, they are the one who gets invited to lunches with the management, they are the one who seems to have their finger on the pulse and the one who achieves more than everyone else and gets to the top quicker. Somehow they manage all of this without stepping on toes and while maintaining their image as a fantastic hardworking and talented person that the whole office loves. Do you hate that person, or do you want to be them?
It might seem like an impossible dream, but when you start a new role in a new accountancy office, it is the best time to take the steps to become that one person. You can create your image from the start and have true vision about where you want to be in one year’s time. Maybe you don’t have that innate talent or the people skills of those you wish to emulate - but everything can be learned and you are more than capable of learning a few tricks to get there.
Don’t be scared to shout from the rooftops
During the interview process we are usually encouraged to clearly show our skills and achievements both on our CV and during the interviews. It is our opportunity to show off and there is no shame at all in proving that you really are the best person for the job.
But then you start in the role and suddenly, we clam up about what we have done to date and how well we did in our previous roles or during our study. Bragging in the office is seen as a no no. Nobody likes a show-off and you can get a bad reputation for narcissism if you keep going on about how you acheived an extra 50% turnover in your last firm. But there are some very good ways that you can get yourself noticed in a positive way for your achievements and you will keep the respect of your colleagues at the same time.
Show your skills by example rather than just talking about them. In other words do things that get you noticed, don’t just say you can.
Make sure your work is up to scratch and worth boasting about. People can’t deny that you have have reason to be praised if the evidence is there.
Make sure your skills are not just work based. Talk about your outside work hobbies and try to make sure they are relevant and make you seem interesting. Give anecdotes about what you do outside work, rather than listing them.
Prepare your “So, what do you do?” speech. When asked this question you should have a 15 second response ready that explains you in the best possible way. Have a longer version ready for when time allows.
Take note of the proof of your achievements. People love results-driven people. So rather than talking about your part in the improvement, you can simply talk about the stats and numbers - giving it credibility.
Give people the time of day. Revel in their achievements without using them as a chance to mention your own. Be a good listener.
See your appraisal as an opportunity
The one time in the year when you are legitimately allowed to talk about your achievements is during your appraisal with your manager. You need to take the time to prepare for this by listing everything you have done that sets you apart from your peers. Keeping track of these things during the year is a great idea so you have a ready made list all set to go. Don’t forget to have ideas about your future and that of the company. Good ideas can be expressed during this appraisal as it is your chance to speak to the right person on a one to one basis.
Sometimes the direct approach is needed
The above rules are a great starting point and will certainly get you noticed by your colleagues and even your direct management. But what about the directors and partners? Sometimes those at the very top of a firm live in a bubble and they take very little notice of those working at lower levels. This can make it very hard to be noticed by those who truly have the influence you need to achieve your goals. But there are ways to make sure that upper management notice you:
Take notice of who they are, what they do in their spare time and the other people in the office they interact with. Be aware of them and study them.
Upper management care about the bottom line so go to them directly with ideas you have for improvements or cost saving ideas. Make sure you have worked it out carefully and that your idea is a good one.
Ask for a mentor. Most large firms will now offer this and it can be a great way to improve your standing amongst the directors and partners.
Always look the part. Dress like you are already a partner and always ensure your behaviour around the office is impeccable. Get noticed from afar for your punctuality, attention to detail and general good behaviour.
It is never too late to start being the employee that you really want to be. Get yourself noticed for the right reasons and your ability to reach the top of your field will be improved immeasurably.