Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The wow factor

Taking a break from the fashion today to hit up the working side of things. Recently my younger cousin was looking for job advice and talked to me, our older cousin, and older cousin's husband.  Younger cousin was frustrated with her job situation, wondering how she could get past the entry-level drivel that usually caused her to rethink her interest in the job.  Older cousin nudged her husband and prompted, "Honey, give your Wow factor speech."  But by then (2 a.m. ish) we'd lost him, but here is what I imagine it might have included.

Whatever your job, whatever your level, and whatever your aspirations, the Wow Factor can make you stand out and help you get noticed and get ahead.  The Wow Factor can cut down on your time in entry-level tasks and, if you aren't in a job that matches your career goals, can get you good recommendations that can get you where you really want to go.

Now, the exact formula to bring Wow to your workplace may vary by person, but I think the following should belong on that list:
  • Hard work. This seems like a no brainer, but you reap what you sow.  You have to put in the work before you can see the results.  When you think you're done, think about just one additional thing you can do to make it better before you call it a night.
  • Positivity.  Being positive doesn't mean you need to be constantly smiling or fake.  It is looking on the bright side, taking things in stride, being open to new ideas and hoping for (and then working toward) the best result.  Nobody likes a Debbie Downer (you'll stand out, for sure, but for the wrong reasons). 
  • Humility. No matter where you land on the ladder, be willing to help out where needed.  Treat those that help you well, especially when they're doing you a favor. 
  • Initiative. Is your job getting a bit boring or lackluster?  Think about what you like to do or are interested in...and how that could help your employer.  If you're bored or have a lot of free time, volunteer for extra projects.  If you see a need, come up with a solution.
  • Creativity.  Do you come up with new ideas during meetings or sit back and nod?  Whether your ideas are always accepted or not, don't be afraid to speak up and offer your point of view.
  • Personality. A drone is just that, a drone. Your experiences, your hobbies, your values, your humor...those are what make you you, and what will make you stand out.  
I am no expert, but I've made do.  I've learned a lot of these lessons the hard way.  I've been the college intern browsing the Internet when bored...had a heart to heart with my boss and he gave me more challenging projects that I still remember fondly today (note: most employers track computer and Internet usage to some extent; what they do with the information varies).  In our small department at work, I run campaigns, contests, a magazine...and the Xerox multifunction printer; someone's got to do it and the in-house printing and binding abilities it brings saves our organization (and our department) tons of money.  It is hard to muster up the effort some days, but the Wow Factor gives you momentum to make even the worst days better than they might have been.

What is your Wow formula, and how did you find it?

photo credit: bluebike


  1. i have kind of a seasonal job with dragon boating. so every year i try to do something to make it better. after it's better i try to make it easier / more efficient. i also try to gather as much feedback as i can, both asking during and after the project. and i keep a running list of everything people tell me so i don't forget (otherwise, what's the point?) even if i disagree.

  2. @step: That's a great idea. I do basically the same thing for the annual photo contest I run...I started a list of suggestions and ideas for 2011 a few months ago, and everyone makes fun of it, but I know they'll be grateful next year when we can avoid mistakes and make improvements.


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