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Standout in the remote workplace

5 Ways to Stand Out (And Move Up) in the Remote Workplace

When you work an in-person job, it is easy to overhear about leadership opportunities in passing or over lunch with colleagues. Those interactions could be inspiring, potentially leading you to pursue the next chapter in your career journey.

However, if you work from home, you may find yourself struggling to get to the next step at your company. Taking initiative and letting your fellow co-workers know what you are capable of in a remote environment is critical in securing an internal move.

Make connections early

Networking is key in getting anywhere professionally, but I recommend getting to know “who’s who” as early as onboarding. Several remote companies provide opportunities for new hires to connect with seasoned employees. For example, there are apps that will randomly pair people up to connect. In my experience at a remote company, I was paired with a Managing Director who soon became a mentor, helping me land a promotion a year after I started!

If your company does not offer a community-building feature like this, you can do the same yourself. As an employee, you have access to everyone’s Slack or email address, from entry-level to C-suite. Take advantage of that and reach out to introduce yourself. You never know what may come from it.

Get involved

Raising your hand to take on every volunteer opportunity and serve on every committee and task force can get old, especially when you also need to do the job you were hired for. However, becoming a thought partner is one of the best ways to show everyone what you can do, which will come in handy when an opening pops up.

Be intentional in what you choose to get involved in so that it is beneficial to you without being overwhelming. If you are working for a startup, positioning yourself as a valuable asset to driving the organization’s mission can be critical as roles and responsibilities continue to be fleshed out, making you the number one pick when it’s time to hire a new team lead.

Use pro devo funding (if available)

If your company offers professional development funding or perks such as free access to e-learning platforms such as LinkedIn Learning, don’t overlook them! Much like health insurance and 401k benefits, pro devo is part of your total compensation package, and you have no excuse not to use it.

For example, if you’re looking to move into a project management role but don’t have experience working with Agile or Waterfall methodologies, take an online PM course! Depending on how much funding you’re eligible for, you may even be able to complete an industry certification or get a degree in the area you want to learn more about. This can then be used as leverage when requesting a salary raise or applying for an internal role.

Apply to open roles at your company

Sometimes, the easiest approach to moving up is to apply for an open position. If your company is experiencing major growth and hiring new people every week, check the job board! You have an advantage over external candidates because you know the ins and outs of the business and can easily ask around to learn more about what the job really entails. It is much easier to have those kinds of conversations when you’re already an employee (you don’t have to spend half of the time asking about what the company does – you already know!)

Before my promotion, I applied for an internal role in a different department and spoke with both the hiring manager and VP of the department to express my interest. While I ended up not getting the position, going through that process helped me realize that I wasn’t as passionate about it as I thought I was.

Be patient

While the previous tips can be effective, let’s be real. You can volunteer for everything imaginable and have infinite coffee chats with coworkers and still feel like no movement is happening. That’s normal. Sometimes, companies have just had a major hiring wave and aren’t looking for new team members. Or maybe they’ve just laid off several employees and are trying to recover before re-opening the hiring pool. Whatever the case, don’t give up.

Having a mentor, taking initiative, providing high-quality work, and continuing to show up and do your job while setting your sights on the next step is a tried and true strategy that will impress leadership and keep you at the top of the list when it is time to expand.

Of course, you know yourself better than anyone else, and if you feel as though you’ve waited long enough and there’s nowhere else you can go with your company, it may be time to begin developing an exit strategy. Nothing is more important than your happiness, and if you are ready for the next challenge now, waiting around for your company to wise up may not be in your best interest.