Odds are, you’ll be changing jobs – maybe even companies or careers – in the next few years. With increased turnover and less time to prove yourself to higher-ups, how can you make yourself indispensable? That’s one of the topics I’ll be discussing later today with Alexandra Levit, author of Blind Spots: 10 Business Myths You Can’t Afford to Believe on Your New Path to Success, at a summit about the future of talent at Deloitte University, the professional development campus of consulting and audit giant Deloitte. In advance of the event, I interviewed Levit, who shared three tips for getting ahead in today’s fast-moving business environment.
- Demonstrate measurable results. “You’re only going to be as valuable as your last project,” says Levit. Resumes are quickly becoming irrelevant, she says – it’s not about titles or official responsibilities. (After all, even poor performers can sometimes hide behind an illustrious pedigree.) Instead, it’s about results. “You have to be able to explain your projects in a way that shows how you added value to the bottom line,” she says.
- Sell yourself. Squeamish about tooting your own horn? Levit says to get over it. “You have to be very good at your job,” she says. “But you also have to make sure the right people know about your results, and subtly tout your accomplishments.” Without building a cadre of supporters in your organization, your career may be in imminent jeopardy if your boss or mentor departs. When it comes to job security, says Levit, “If higher-ups don’t know the value you add, your contributions don’t matter.”
- Forget authenticity. In the Internet era, we’ve heard plenty about the need to “be yourself” and “express the real you.” Levit isn’t convinced. “You need to be the most professional version of yourself,” she argues. That doesn’t mean inventing a new personality or pretending to be someone else. But it does mean filtering anything that would embarrass you at work. “I believe in self-censorship,” she says. “Even online, regardless of privacy settings, there’s no forum where you can say absolutely anything you want.”
Embracing these success principles is important, says Levit, because “in 20 years, half the American workforce will be contingent or freelance laborers – they’ll work for a variety of organizations.” And that means you won’t be able to settle into one company and assume your record or your reputation will protect you. Savvy employees – even those who aren’t planning to leave their job anytime soon – can get a jump on the future by quantifying their results, making strong connections with higher-ups, and being their most professional self, online and off.
What are you doing to make yourself indispensable at work?
This post originally appeared on the Forbes website on June 11, 2012.
Dorie Clark is CEO of Clark Strategic Communications and the author of Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013). She is a strategy consultant who has worked with clients including Google, Yale University, and the Ford Foundation. Listen to her podcasts or follow her on Twitter.