Simply stated, professional recognition occurs when a colleague, co-worker or employer acknowledges your professionalism, i.e. accomplishments or behaviors that enhance your credibility and give you an edge for hiring, promotion, or career advancement. Much advice has been published on “how to” obtain professional recognition (see ICPM’s free ebook). However, you should also be aware of bad advice that can keep you from achieving your full potential.

Grade point average (GPA) matters

While a stellar GPA still gets attention from employers and recruiters, today’s hiring managers are demanding more.  In addition to a college degree, experiential learning is king as evidenced by internships, apprenticeships, assessment-based certificates, and certifications.  Education, in combination with professional experience, is essential to get recognized in a tough job market and to differentiate yourself from the multitude of job seekers.

Pay your dues

This phrase asserts that employees new to a job or profession must acquire a prerequisite amount of experience before they can contribute, create, or innovate!  But why wait?   The sooner you step out of your comfort zone and share your ideas and observations, the sooner you will begin to obtain recognition.  This does not mean that you should advocate change before acquiring an understanding of your organization, but it does open the door for you to speak up or volunteer to take the lead on an assignment . . . from day one!

Update your resume periodically

Periodic updates to your resume are not good enough.  Instead, you should continuously revise your resume so that it is up-to-date should an unanticipated job opportunity arise.  Every time you acquire a new skill, publish a paper, achieve a milestone, or receive an award, it should be added to your resume. A resume with no recent accomplishments is a red flag that you lack a commitment to excel in your chosen profession.

Stick with your chosen career path

While it is fine to choose a career path, you should remain open to related opportunities or you will limit your future potential.  Jobs are changing rapidly, and new jobs are constantly being created.  Flexibility allows you to change course to take advantage of the latest job trend or demand.  Additionally, don’t become complacent with your skillset.  Seek opportunities to stretch your skills by volunteering to lead a project, coordinate an event, facilitate training, or participate on a conference panel.  These new experiences will help you to learn about yourself and discover careers that are a “best fit” for you.

Remain humble and don’t brag

It is difficult to be professionally recognized for your accomplishments if your network is not aware of what you have done.  Without being boastful, you can passively share your achievements with others via award announcements, press coverage, or professional appointments.  By getting your name in the public domain, you will maintain visibility and be considered when opportunities arise.