7 Unexpected Habits That Make You Stand Out At Work

by Carina Wolff

Excelling at a job requires more than just showing up and doing what you're told. If you're looking to take your career to the next level — whether you're trying to get a raise or just impress your team — you'll want to be mindful of how to stand out at work. It's obvious that you should show up on time, be polite, and get your tasks done efficiently, but there are a number of more unexpected habits that can really help you shine.

"Standing out at work, albeit in a positive manner, is how your career gets traction," career coach Carlota Zimmerman tells Bustle. "If you’re ambitious, even if you’re not a 100 percent sure where your ambition is taking you, you still want management to be keeping an eye on you, in the best possible way. You want management to be hearing stories about your drive, your hustle, the way you come in early and stay late, your teamwork and, in general, how you add value to the company."

While you may already be exhibiting all of these qualities, getting them noticed by your boss is half the battle. Here are seven habits to engage in that can help you stand out at work.


Communicate In Person

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Although there are circumstances where sending an email is more efficient, there is something valuable about face-to-face conversations. "Have a question? Want advice? Want to schedule a meeting? Instead of sending 10 emails to schedule a 10-minute meeting, try stopping by someone’s desk," career coach Deena Baikowitz tells Bustle. "It’s much more efficient and gives you a chance to get to know each other."


Make Good Connections Outside Of Your Team

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Instead of eating lunch at your desk or hanging out with the same team members, go talk to someone at the company you don’t know. "Invite someone to sit with your team," says Baikowitz. "Get to know what they do and who they are, and build friendships and strategic relationships. You’ll be seen as someone who takes initiative, cares about others, and who has leadership and management potential."


Anticipate People's Needs

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Make a few educated guesses: Figure out how you can help other people in different aspects of their job — and then do it. "If you see a coworker struggling with a certain technology, schedule a session to train them," says Baikowitz. This is particularly a good idea if you have a body of knowledge that someone else may not. They'll be grateful you went out of your way to help them.



You should not only volunteer for projects, roles, holiday party planning, and pro bono activity available at your office, but you should volunteer outside of work as well. "Serve on committees, and take on leadership roles," says Baikowitz. "The best way to standout is to see, be seen, build relationships, and contribute. The more chances you create to show off your skills and personality, the more chances you’ll have for promotions, exciting new clients, and other fabulous career opportunities."


Dress In Something That Makes You Feel Good

While you should always dress the way you feel most comfortable, it never hurts to put on what makes you feel your best on when going to work. While it's not necessary to spend tons of money on certain clothes or makeup, dressing in a way that makes you feel confident and ready to take on the day reflects how you represent your company, says Zimmerman. So let that pride you feel for your job be exuded from the outside.


Keep Your Phone Away

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

It's tempting to scroll through Facebook or Instagram on your downtime, but keep your phone put away when you're not answering calls or emails. "A great deal of success at work is creating and nurturing, relationships," says Zimmerman. "You can't do that if you’re constantly on the phone or online. Make it clear to friends, family, spouses and partners, and crucially, yourself, that when you’re at work, you’re there to work. Turn off the phone, so that you can turn your ambition on."


Have A Sense Of Humor

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At the end of the day, you don’t have to take yourself so seriously. "Having a sense of humor goes a long way in establishing easygoing relationships with your colleagues," career counselor Roy Cohen tells Bustle. "It also motivates them to want to see you succeed. Colleagues support peers they like and who they enjoy working with. This is not to be confused with being a practical joker or a comedian which usually happens at the expense and embarrassment of others."

By showing you can work hard, make authentic connections, and really go above and beyond when it comes to caring about your job, you will stand out at work like you haven't before.