Ok, so you have started the new year: walked into your office with ideas of how you’re going to work more efficiently; your mind is bustling with ideas and strategies; eagerness and anticipation of how 2017 is going to go has set in; you’ve set the goals you want to achieve this year, and all is good. BUT, how do you set out to be different to your peers? What steps can you take to ACTUALLY make you the person in line for that promotion, or the person who will get that much-desired project? Standing out in a workplace is not easy – it is not easy finding the ways that will separate you from others in the same position. But it can be done. Here are 8 steps you can take to differentiate yourself from your colleagues, and be noticed.

1. Set clear, manageable career goals
Setting career goals provides you with a clear vision as to where you want to go with your career. These goals will show you the areas you need to develop and the path you need to take to get there. Without setting career goals and making your future ambitions clear, it is easy to lose track of where you’re going in your career, potentially leading to years of working in a job you hate. It is important, then, to take the time and decide what it is you want from your career, and make sure you are always taking the right steps to achieve what that is. This clarity of vision will help you stand out, as it shows your superiors that you know where you want to go, that you understand what you want, and that you will be driven to achieve it.

2. Focus on your strengths
If you’re not good at something, don’t waste time trying to figure it out by yourself. This will only make you look incompetent. Outsource the tasks you are weak in and rather, focus on the things you do well, and do these excellently! This will make you stand out to your superiors, and set you up for the promotion you are wanting to achieve.

3. Make an effort to help others
Not many people in the workplace offer to help others for the fear that it can lead to additional work and no one wants to do extra work. Don’t make life too hard for yourself, but make the effort to offer a helping hand where you can. If you become known for helping people you will find you are trusted with more responsibilities. This will show that you are willing to work hard as well as allowing you the opportunity to expand your CV.

4. Seek out opportunities to up-skill
Seeking opportunities to expand your knowledge of the industry you are working in will help you be an invaluable asset to your company. Directors love people with ideas. Someone that takes the time to read blogs, visit seminars and do short courses are far more likely to have ideas. All it takes is one good idea to catapult your career and take you from the bottom of the pack, right to the top.

5. Voice your ideas when you feel you have something good
It’s one thing to have ideas, but it’s another to gather the courage to verbalise those ideas, especially in an environment where ideas are normally not discussed. It will take courage to step out of your comfort zone, but it will be worth it. How will your boss know you have an ability to think outside the box if you never say anything? Ease yourself in by giving yourself a target to suggest ideas to contribute at your next staff meeting.

6. Become part of the company

Get to know your company’s values, expectations and future goals and become a part of their future. Every member of staff comes to work and carries out their daily job routine but if you go that extra mile and take an interest in the company itself (not just your sector) and really immerse yourself in the company, it won’t go unnoticed!

7. Be Enthusiastic
Being enthusiastic about your job is a great attribute. Enthusiasm can be the drive you need to get through certain tough days or large projects. An enthusiastic employee will stand out from more subdued staff and it shows your superiors you want to be there and get the job done.

8. Be known for something specific
A great way to differentiate yourself from others is to be recognised for a specific reason. This could be anything from being the girl who always brings the tasty treats to staff meetings or being the one who is always first to arrive and last to leave. Find something which will allow people to put a name to your face.

Make 2017 YOUR year by achieving your goals and differentiating yourself from your colleagues, and making a difference in your workplace.