It is very critical that you stand out and succeed in your current job before you start searching for other jobs. Marketing and personal branding guru Seth Godin talks about being indispensable, but how do you do that exactly?
Succeed in your job by differentiating
There are solid reasons why differentiating with competitors is one of the foundational business strategies. It makes sense. Whether you differentiate by price, value, or product, your chances of survival are better. If you find that one particular differentiation is getting you noticed, you need to work hard to improve and keep that edge. Given that you complete all your charged duties, some ways to differentiate yourself from others are:
Work excessively hard to gain and improve the skills that others lack, especially the skills that are unexpected of your role. For example, if you are a computer programmer, giving excellent presentations will differentiate you from rest of the programmers. Find “complementary” skills and rather than taking naturally progressive roles, start developing skills required for such advanced positions in your current role.
Do not mind only your business. Venture out and find out what problems others outside of your team/department are facing. Identify key projects that overlap with your areas of interest as well as your broad job duties. For example, although you are a technical manager, you meet with HR and develop a training program for managers.
Although you have to be careful of not throwing half-thought ideas in front of others, you should make this a daily exercise. Think about the problems that bother you, that bother your colleagues, and that bother your leadership. Come up with multiple ideas to tackle those problems and then pick one or two big ones. Create simpler action plans, discuss them with your trusted allies, and then pitch them.
Finalize and create your products and ship them. Whether they are instructional videos or simple “how-tos” documents, complete them and ship them to key management members. Stay away from doing this often, but do ship 3-4 critical and value-added products every year.
Develop key skills that are always valued high; don’t be a commodity. For example, be known for providing excellent insight into problems. Develop key faculties, such as sharp analytical thinking, well-thought decision making, and ability to forecast trends.
Lead and take on projects that nobody wants, better yet nobody thought of. It is critically important to take on projects that create value and harder to complete, but not necessarily those that take inordinate amount of time.
What has worked for you in the past? Let me know your thoughts in comments.