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Demonstrate Your Value

January 6, 2010

One of my favorite pieces of advice to job seekers is to explore ways to gain experience while job searching. Of course there are the options of internships and volunteering but if you are already working a full-time job while attempting to gain new experiences, those options might not be feasible. This is the perfect opportunity to consider what you can do while on the job to stretch your skills and experiences further.

Don’t have anything to do at work? Don’t look at that as your opportunity to kick back, slack off or become lazy. Find something to do. Ask your boss what you can do to be helpful. What can you take off his or her plate? Better yet, make up your own project and share your idea with your supervisor. Show your value by demonstrating your creativity, independence, and willingness to help. No one is irreplaceable but you can sure try to ensure colleagues view you as a hard working, team player.

When talking with your supervisor about new projects, be tactful because you certainly don’t want to appear bored. Check in with your boss to see how the day is going. He or she will most likely say “Whew… this day has been so hectic!” Enter – YOU; the hero there to take on a task that your boss doesn’t have time to handle today or this week. You just cleared up some time for your boss to work on a different project all while affording yourself the opportunity to develop some additional skills.

Once you have your new assignment, ask enough questions to ensure you can own this project and be confident in your work. Find out the deadline or time frame in which this project should be completed and then get to it. This shows your ability to be an independent thinker while also being self-motivated.

Let’s say you currently work in retail but you want to break into marketing; consider some projects at your current job that will demonstrate your knowledge in marketing. Or maybe you are working in office administration but would like to break into the technology industry. Almost any office has a project or two on the back burner of this nature that you could spearhead.

When it comes time for your employer to conduct reviews, your hard work and willingness to go the extra mile will pay off. If the extra project was fairly simple, your willingness to be a team player is demonstrated. If the new experience was huge and a bit out of your comfort zone, your ambition and ability to learn on the fly is showcased. Either way, as you continually demonstrate your value, higher-ups will take notice of your eagerness to learn and lead.

Feel free to email me at and check out Herzing University Online at

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