Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Demonstrate Your Work Interests And Abilities Every Day

When It’s Time To Use More Of Your Talents and Knowledge

There may come a time in your career when you will want to make a work assignment change or you will want to be considered for a promotion or to be given a special project. Perhaps you will hope to transition to another work area because your team is being downsized. Maybe you will simply want people to know that you are a valuable resource.

Prepare for those times, today.

I have always been astounded at the number of employees who tell me they want a promotion, assignment change or special project, but who have never done anything to demonstrate their interest or abilities. When they are not chosen they often blame internal politics or some other reason outside of themselves. I will sometimes bluntly ask, “What did you do in the weeks, months and years before now, to make yourself an obvious choice?” The answer is usually, “Nothing.” (With a lot of reasons why they couldn’t do anything until now.)

That is not completely the fault of the employee, in that many employees do not know how to best develop their careers–and there is little advice given about it.  The more fortunate employees have mentors, advisors, friends or family who acquaint them with the realities of work life and encourage them to show what they know in appropriate ways, all the time.

  1. Get to know the people in work assignments that interest you. Be open about your interests and potential abilities, even if you are not looking for a change at this point.
  2. Gain knowledge and skills that can help you now and in the future. This doesn’t require massive education, just reading, researching or observation that can be beneficial and that will show your continuing interest in a variety of work.
  3. Maintain a good work reputation. Word gets out an employee’s work habits, personal traits and ability to get along. No matter how skillful you are, no one will want to take on a problem.
  4. Be supportive. Be supportive of everyone who is behaving and performing effectively in your organization–especially be supportive of the groups with whom you might want to work someday. Often current employees are allowed to comment on potential changes. If you have been difficult to work with or are completely unknown, you may not be supported when you need it.
  5. Make every day an interview. You’ve heard me talk about this concept before, but it always is worth repeating. Every day is a chance to demonstrate your work interests, your abilities, your positive traits and your potential for success. Be the kind of employee and the kind of person who could be considered a top choice for many work assignments.

December 30th, 2008 Posted by | Personal and Professional Development | 4 comments


  1. Happy New Year, Tina! This was a great post to start my new year with because I hope to get promoted this year. This gave me some ideas that I need to work on to put myself in a good position for it. Wish me luck! P.

    Comment by P.A.H. | January 1, 2009

  2. Happy 2009! Mike is reading this so I’m not talking behind his back. Yesterday someone came in to talk to him about what they need to do to come across good on the interview in Feb. for the positions we’re filling. He sounded so wise and smart…except he had your post printed out in front of him and was reading most of it! LOL LOL!!! I laughed so hard I had to leave the room!! You should charge him for your help!

    Comment by denisek | January 1, 2009

  3. Tina says:
    P.A.H.: You’ll do well, I’m sure of it. I’ll be in touch.

    denisek: Don’t make fun of Mike, he needs more help than most people. 🙂 But, thanks for sharing that very funny story. Actually, I’m glad something I write can be useful! Now, get back to work.

    Comment by TLR | January 1, 2009

  4. The ideas in your post are very important in companies that are doing staff reductions. Almost every week someone who is trying to hang on asks me why they got passed over for a transfer in favor of someone else. But, until the job was announced the person who got passed over never darkened the door of the section involved. People don’t seem to get it, that most managers won’t pick an unknown quantity if they’ve got the choice to pick someone who they already think is going to be a loyal, hard-working employee. And you’re so right about other employees getting a say.

    I’m sending this post by email to several people who I know will be looking for transfers this year. Thanks!

    Comment by An HR Manager | January 6, 2009

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