For many people, hard work in an office environment sometimes feels like it isn’t enough to get noticed by workplace superiors, despite the fact that we tend to think of a person’s work ethic as the chief facet of their advancement within an organization. The truth is that there are many reasons why employees are noticed within a work environment, and while a great work ethic goes a long way in most offices, a willingness to work hard sometimes isn’t enough to cut the mustard if we have a tendency of putting workplace socializing on the back burner. With a bit of practice, fortunately, there are ways to make a great mark in a professional environment in an authentic and meaningful way; here are just a few means to develop a sterling reputation within a business and get noticed by higher-ups in the bargain without losing your sense of self.

1. Offer to Take on Tough Jobs (Even If You’d Rather Not Do Them)

Sometimes in an office or similar work environment, there are jobs that no one wants to do. Whether they’re too challenging or too stressful to complete, it can be amazing just how much a willingness to put up with a difficult task can boost one’s reputation in a workplace in a genuine way. A readiness to help out the larger organization even if it means staying late or sacrificing a Saturday morning shows character, and it’s also a way to show higher-ups that you’re willing to do what it takes to help your colleagues succeed.

2. Understand the Value of Networking

The old adage that “it’s not what you know but who you know” has become something of a cliché of late, but there is an element of truth to the saying that most workers can attest to. Whether we like to admit it or not, managers and business owners often want to promote people who come with a good reference from a trusted advisor or who demonstrate that they have a good reputation with coworkers. Just as we might ask a trusted family physician for an opinion if we’re considering various eye doctors to choose from for scheduling an appointment about a needed treatment or surgery, managers and business owners often want to know how an employee is perceived by colleagues before they recommend them for advancement.

 

This is not to say that networking is always easy; indeed, for shy or even socially awkward people, the necessity of networking as a component of work life can come as something of a shock. For an introverted person, after all, the notion of spending extra time networking is about as welcome as an afternoon bungee jumping would be for someone who is afraid of heights. The good news, however, is that networking is actually far more effective when we act genuinely towards others. While television shows and movies would have us believe that a fake smile and Don Draper-esque cynicism will win over colleagues or clients, the truth is that good networking is a lot like good cooking: Trying to “fake it” usually results in a big mess. Being pleasant to people you don’t like at first may be difficult, but don’t force business relationships that don’t come naturally. Instead, let friendships with people you do like form from a sense of mutual respect. Networking from the heart is networking at its best!

3. Be Reliable, Even When It’s Difficult

Sometimes getting into work a bit early is the last thing you’d like to be doing on a drizzly Monday morning. Getting your coffee? Sounds nice. Spending an extra ten minutes at home checking Facebook? Why not. Being the first person to arrive at the office? Perhaps a rain check is in order.

 

However, if you’re seen as someone who can reliably show up ready for work day in and day out even when others would rather lounge at home, people are going to notice, especially when you’re the first person they see in the office when they get into work. If it would make things easier, try rewarding yourself for your reliability and initiative; make a deal with yourself that you’ll buy a favorite coffee drink at a cafe on your way to work in the morning if you leave the house 15 minutes early. Pretty soon you’ll find that putting in extra face time in the office becomes second nature!

 

For these reasons, getting noticed at work isn’t always easy, especially if you tend to be introverted around other people. Most people don’t want to toot their own horn, but the truth is that there are ways to get noticed at work while being totally genuine in the process. Show that you’re reliable, that you’re willing to take on hard tasks, and build genuine relationships with coworkers and clients, and you’ll find that your chances of promotion increase ten-fold. Remember, the right attitude and a genuine willingness to help others can go a long way, and being the best version of yourself counts!