How quiet confidence can get you noticed at work 

Cathy McGlynn

It’s been thirteen years since I started my journey here at Robert Walters and Resource Solutions. I came in as a Financial Accountant and didn’t expect my career to grow and turn out the way it has now as the Global Finance Director for Resource Solutions.

In an industry like recruitment that seems filled with extroverts, I see how some people can struggle to step into the spotlight. There are alternative ways of being noticed for the right reasons. At first blush, I’m often perceived as reserved, quiet and relatively soft-spoken, so my share of success has manifested in different ways. 

So for aspiring leaders – both those who like the limelight and those who might not – here are four ways to make your mark at work without being the loudest person in the room: 

  • Take every opportunity given to you
    Hard work pays off. I genuinely believe that if you put your hand up as much as possible (without it disrupting your work-life balance), it’ll make small ripples that will grow as you continue putting your hand up. One small piece of work could go straight up the chain and suddenly you’re sitting with the CEO. Volunteer your time when you can, and take opportunities that’ll broaden your experience – it’ll get your profile recognised within the organisation. 

  • Build your network of peers and superiors
    Having a support system is integral to your career success. From celebrating milestones to asking for help, it’s vital to have peers both immediate and in the periphery that you can be honest with. Maybe it’s a mentor you can troubleshoot your issues with.  Or a colleague you asked for help with your presentation skills. Always take nuggets of advice from those who can offer you help, and learn how you can apply them to yourself. 

  • Let your work be your voice
    If you’re doing great work and you’re always stepping up, your colleagues and leaders will start to recognise it. Even though you might be the quiet one in the meeting of twenty people, your work will still speak for itself. If your team needs somebody to go to a different office to cover someone else’s leave, or require extra help on a project, be the person who’s willing to stand out from your peers and volunteer yourself. It’ll show your superiors that you’re adaptable and looking for the next step in your career. Allow your work and your ideas to be your voice. 

  • Take evidence
    Be confident about your ability. Be proud of what you’ve achieved, and what you’re going to achieve. If your manager isn’t recognising your work or listening then start taking evidence. You can’t just say, ‘this is what I’m good at’; instead you need to be the person who says, ‘this is what I’m good at… because I’ve accomplished a, b and c and here is the evidence to support my claim.’ You want the next promotion, so say why you deserve it, and have the evidence at hand for when you’re making your case.

When I started my career I made a decision to step up and take the opportunities that came my way. Little did I know that one of the challenges I volunteered my time for more than a decade ago would turn out to be a then small account called Resource Solutions. If I hadn’t put my hand up on that day, I wouldn’t be where I am today.