How to stand out in the corporate world

In today’s times, standing out in the corporate world is not just a good idea, it is essential. But how can you stay one step ahead, and be noticed? Read on…

A woman looking up to dream, corporate world
Image via Shutterstock

Leverage your strengths and weaknesses

Take the time and investment to know yourself. To stand out in the corporate world, you must be savvy enough to be different and personable at the same time.

This will involve identifying and understanding your areas of strengths and weaknesses. What is unique about you? What do you have to offer that others don’t? What skills do you find easy, compared to your colleagues? What problems do you like solving? Your strengths are your gifts, unique to you, designed for you to flourish, excel and solve problems.Too often people are consumed with focusing on areas of weaknesses and comparing themselves to others. To stand out, you must be able to identify and leverage your strengths.

A good tool to use is the 80:20 rule (or Pareto Principle), to explore your strengths and weaknesses. In your current role or job function, list all the tasks and functions you are required to do (if you have a job description, this may help ensure you do not miss out any areas). Then try matching each function on your list to one of your strengths or weaknesses. Doing this exercise will help you identify the areas where you can add value by offering to lead on projects in your organisation. The areas which highlight your weaknesses should be seen as opportunities for growth and development.

Dedicate time to self-development and training

We live in an information age, where stimuli is passed to and fro at an astounding rate. Trends become redundant quickly, so it’s important to update your skills regularly. This means setting a self- development plan and sticking to it. Gone are the days where it is the company’s responsibility to give you a training plan. And whilst some organisations do invest in their talent, you will stand out if you are already evolving.

What are the latest trends in your field? What companies / start-ups should the company you are working for look out for? What external drivers could affect your company’s position in the market place? Being knowledgeable will help you to stand out, and there are a number of online training platforms such as www.udemy, that offer short courses which you can study at your own pace.

Develop emotional intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is a major factor in standing out in the corporate world. It is about having self-awareness; being able to recognise and understand your emotionsand how they impact others around you. At the same time, an emotionally intelligent person has a balanced perception of others and is able to empathise and connect with other people’s feelings.

Taking an interest in others is important for getting noticed in the corporate world because it is about managing relationships effectively. People with high emotional intelligence are usually sought after in the workplace, others want them on their teams, they are well liked and well-spoken of. Take particular interest in the people around you, by actively listening and understanding their needs and interests.

Practice saying hello and conversing with colleagues, showing an interest in their personal lives. That person you see from another department by the coffee machine may well be responsible for your next promotion. Be friendly and develop a reputation for being a people person. It will put you head and shoulders above others.

Be authentic

Authenticity is about being real, genuine, congruent and true to yourself. These are attractive and rare qualities in the corporate world. When you are anything other than yourself, it becomes an arduous task to keep up the façade, constantly looking over your shoulder which over time can diminish your confidence.

It is important to always ensure that the decisions you make are aligned to your values and the person you want to be. This is certainly not an easy road to take, and requires that you are able to take responsibility for your wrongs and not look to pass the buck. Whilst it may be difficult to do, you will be admired and respected as someone who has integrity.

Develop your individual style

In the corporate world, image matters. However your style should be a reflection of your personality, and it should communicate something about you. You are your very own personal brand. If you are the outgoing type, you can reflect this by wearing dashes of colour. This could be in the form of a bright scarf on a neutral coloured suit, or by opting for unusual cuts and textures that bring an air of distinction.

Invest in good quality clothing and if you are unsure, hire an image consultant to advice you on how to develop your own personal style.

Produce excellent results

Ultimately, one of the best ways to be noticed in the corporate world is to deliver. Be good at your job, and always aim to over-deliver. Self-care and having a work-life balance are contributory factors to producing excellent result. When you over-work, with no rest or leisure, it will hinder your ability to work smart and effectively. However, recognise that there may be times when you need to put in the extra hours, going above and beyond to get the job done. Treat your job as you would your own business and you will definitely reap the rewards.

About the author

Oby Bamidele is an Authenticity Coach and registered Counsellor. She helps professional women achieve emotional and mental resilience so that they can be confident and thrive in their career and relationships.

You can reach her at

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