PR 101: Getting Credit for Your Work
After spending many hours researching providers, you finally selected a firm to handle your company’s off-site backup needs. The transition to the new service goes smoothly, and you’re proud your hard work paid off. However, a few weeks later you learn your supervisor mistakenly told the chief information officer that one of your co-workers managed the project. What should you do? The best approach is a tactful one that concentrates on highlighting your contributions in the future.
You may want to say something to your boss in a private conversation if the misunderstanding could affect your chances for receiving a promotion or other important recognition. The key is to be very diplomatic when clarifying your role, making sure you focus on your contributions rather than the fact that you may be upset about the misplaced credit. Otherwise, you’ll be remembered for how you handled the situation instead of for your accomplishments.
With the range of initiatives under way in most IT departments, it’s easy for managers to get confused about who is leading which project. It’s up to you to provide subtle reminders that can help you get appropriate credit.
Put It in Writing
One of the most useful ways to stay on the radar is through weekly project status reports. Even if you already provide these to your supervisor, re-evaluate your approach. Are you keeping them brief and straightforward, so your manager actually has time to review all of your accomplishments? Does the wording describe your efforts effectively? For instance, if you note that you “trained employees on how to use the new Oracle database system,” your supervisor may not realize that you gave presentations and hands-on instruction to two departments.
Increase your visibility by sharing your ideas and insights in meetings. When providing project updates, give credit to those employees who helped you with your assignments. You’ll increase the likelihood they’ll do the same for you.
If you work in a large company where you may be an anonymous “IT guy or girl,” always let end users know your name so they know who assisted them. Share your direct extension in case they should have any follow-up questions or issues in the future. You’ll make it easier for people to recall who provided them with helpful advice or troubleshooting.
Raise Your Visibility
One of the best ways to make a positive impression is to take on additional responsibilities. If someone requests help with the launch of a new corporate Web site and it interests you, volunteer your time. Even if you have no previous experience with a particular project, your assistance can be valuable to colleagues. At the same time, you may develop new skills that increase your value to the company. Just be sure the tasks don’t interfere with your other assignments.
Go the Extra Mile
Always strive to exceed expectations. For instance, if you are asked to research and recommend a software application, don’t just investigate the top-selling products––take the time to look at a wide range of possibilities. Your thoroughness may not only save the business money and uncover a better option, but it also can earn you a reputation as a hard worker.
Despite all of your proactive efforts to highlight your value and contributions to your employer, other staff members may be inadvertently credited for your accomplishments. Try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt in these situations. While it may seem that people should know you worked on a particular project, mistakes do happen.
To continue advancing in your IT career, you need to be sure people are aware of your contributions. Strive to be an active participant on company projects and let your supervisor know the extent of your involvement in key activities. You’ll help ensure that you get the credit you deserve for your work.
Katherine Spencer Lee is executive director of Robert Half Technology (www.roberthalftechnology.com), a leading provider of IT professionals for various initiatives, with more than 100 locations in North America and Europe.