I always believed that hard work will get rewarded all by itself, until I saw people who joined after me in the organization and with equal or less potential as that of mine getting forward in career. That is when; I realized that hard work is good but not good enough if it doesn’t get noticed. If you need to be recognized, you and your work needs to get noticed and if you need to get noticed, you need to differentiate yourself and market what you do at the right time to the right people at right place. You need to keep doing different things on a more regular basis to gain the visibility.
The biggest question is “how to get noticed?” One simple way to get noticed is to step out and do something different from the regular day to day routine work. I am not an expert, however one thing which worked for me is to generate an analysis report on a specific area of work and highlight how it can a make a difference in the way process is managed or to the customers or to the business on a regular basis(at least once a quarter). A report which would tell how more can be done with less. Reports which will help meet customer expectations or help business make more money. These kinds of reports will highlight that you think different from others.
Only catch is if you have to create remarkable reports and analyses then you need to be good at your job and have good support of colleagues. You need to be dedicated in what you do and keep thinking in the lines of process and business improvements. It need not always be a report, it could be some process improvement or an automation etc. The idea is to stand out of the crowd. Instead of getting involved in stupid office politics, gossips and other time wasters in the name of work, involving in the tasks at hand and improving the business acumen will help you leap forward and be one step ahead.
One caution: Don’t kill the essence of these analyses by doing it too often and also be sure that your analysis and solutions will yield substantial results. It should also create a ‘WOW’ factor that it gets your boss involved (if possible the senior management too).
Differentiate yourself and get noticed.