In the workforce, we all have that one desire: to get to the next level. Whether it’s the job itself, nicer paychecks, more comfy seats, or a view from your new office window, we all want that next thing. In most cases, you work hard and apply yourself as best you can to each task you are given, all in the hope that we will get noticed for our efforts.

What many of us know and might have experienced in the workplace is this: Seniority doesn’t always win.  The hardest worker doesn’t always get the promotion. And sometimes, being the most qualified candidate doesn’t guarantee you the position.

So what are some things you can do to stand out and be recognized as a positive influence in the company? These tips can make the difference for you.

Be Professional
You are no longer on the playground. You are selling your skill, your mind, and your effort for money to your company. It’s a direct exchange. Understand that the person who represents the best value to the company gets noticed, gets promoted, gets more responsibility and gets thought of as valuable. Focus on completing your assignment. Look for additional work. Do more than is expected. Be enjoyable to be around. Have a great attitude about your work. Short breaks, occasional short conversations, and situations of that nature are great times for developing camaraderie. Remember, you have a job because you have a value to the company. Continually chatting or neglecting work is a quick way for people to begin labeling you as a slacker or lazy.

Accept Feedback Gracefully
We all know “that one person” in the office. You know, the guy (or gal) who instantly loses their minds anytime they are told they did something wrong. You are also familiar with the awkward tension in the air that seems to follow them after one of these outbursts. Avoid being that person in your office. When someone provides feedback on your performance, process the information fully before responding. Thank them for taking the time to give that feedback. Never fight back, verbally or mentally. If you don’t understand where the comment came from, ask gently for more information. Then when the moment has passed, take a moment to think through what was told to you. Was this information useful to you? Was the source reliable? Was there a message there that will make you more useful to the company? Then apply it, or not, and move on. BTW, if you are giving the feedback, always follow this adage: “Praise in Public, Correct in Private”. Embarrassing someone in public never leads to positive results.

Do Your Job, Do It Well
Whether your job is tedious and mundane, high-stress, tough, or easy, learn how to do your job and do it to the best of your abilities at all times. This is part of “being a professional”. In most organizations, promotions are based on your ability to do your job, your loyalty to the company, your aptitude, and your attitude. If you don’t know how to do something for your job, take some time to learn. The resources are readily available for you to learn more. If you can accomplish all your assignments and have time left over, then ask what else you can do to be more valuable or show others how to work more efficiently.

Build Strong Relationships
Each person in your organization is worth building a good relationship with. Treating your fellow employees with courtesy, respect, and kindness is a small thing you can do each day, but it can have a much larger impact on your image in the workforce and increase the likeliness of you getting to that next level. Ask for guidance: From your co-workers, from your boss, from others. Offer to help. People who allow others to help them, and those who are willing to help others, create strong bonds. People promote people they like. Be likeable.

Solve Problems
If you see something that isn’t working well, could be improved, or is inefficient, take the time to find a new solution. Be proactive and recommend ways that a process or procedure can be made more efficient. This is the perfect way for you to show your problem solving skills, your value, and your ability step outside the box.

One last thought. There is never a time, let me repeat that: There is never a time when the words, “That’s not my job” are an acceptable response to any workplace discussion. If you have ever said that in the past, Stop it. If you consider saying it, Don’t.  The surest way for you to be stuck in exactly the job you are in right now, forever, and to put yourself on the “available for layoff” list, is to say those 4 words. Your job is what your company needs you to do today. That may be something different tomorrow. If you choose to work at your company, then it’s always your job, regardless what is being asked of you.