Do's and Don'ts: How to Prove Your Worth at Work

With today’s economic situation, the job market is as competitive now as it ever has been. Sometimes just doing a good job at work isn’t good enough. You may have to go to extra lengths to prove your worth at work. Whether you are an Auburn graduate or a student working part-time on campus, it is important to be able to prove your worth at work. Otherwise, you may be the next person who is “let go”. But, how do you prove your worth? Consider these tips from

1. Perform, perform, perform and look like you're working hard, because perception is a part of performance reviews, too. "Companies don't tend to let their top people go," said Steve Werner, a management professor at the University of Houston. "You should be a good employee. In some industries that means being a team player. In some industries that doesn't matter; it means getting all the sales you can."

2. Make you and your boss look good by regularly drawing attention to your achievements. “People assume that other people are aware of the contributions they're making, but your manager may have other things on his mind, especially right now," Dixson said. "It's not about bragging or being a suck-up. It's becoming comfortable with making others aware of your contribution. Couch it in terms of making your boss look good."

Be careful to ensure your self-promotion is matched by performance; otherwise, it will fall on deaf ears.

"It's hard to get people to change their mind once they've made a decision about you," Werner said.

3. Don't whine about an increased workload. Take your planned vacation time, but don't complain if you're asked to occasionally come in early or stay late and take on more responsibilities in a slimmed-down workplace. "This is not a good time to be thinking of work-life balance," Kennedy said. "This is all hands on deck; let's bail the boat."

4. Document what you do and how successful you are at it, for your current employer and any potential future ones.

5. Network internally and externally, but do it carefully. Discretion is key.

Don't put your résumé on job-board web sites because you never know who might run across it — your supervisor, for example. Don't use your blog or Facebook page to trash your company, but do use social media to promote yourself and raise your visibility by discussing what you're working on.

If you didn't attend a holiday event sponsored by your professional organization, go to the next monthly meeting. It's a good chance to see what opportunities may be opening up at other companies.

"The worst time to start and cultivate your network is when you're out of a job," Dixson said. "Do it double-time now."

6. Be prepared for the what-ifs. Update your résumé, but don't use the company computer because if a layoff occurs, you may not have a chance to retrieve it.

Thinking about changing jobs? Think hard before you make a move; low seniority and performance are the two most common reasons people are laid off.

"What does that mean for you? You need to realize that if you change jobs now, if that company has a layoff, you may be the first to go," Werner said.

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