Promotions can be challenging to come by, but if you really want to take the next step in your career, there is one word you should consider… PERCEPTION!

How you are perceived by others can pave your way to bigger and better things within the company. Take a few minutes to read the following pitfalls and then evaluate how you are perceived at work.

1. Disorganized. Being a little (or a lot) messy may not seem like it is a big deal as long as you get all of your work done. Think again. If people perceive you as disorganized they may hesitate to give projects with quick deadlines, work that requires fine detail, or projects with many facets to them. Take the time to straighten your desk, spell check your reports and e-mails, and set reminders to help you stay on top of upcoming deadlines and events.

2. Unreliable. If your boss comes to you last minute and asks if you can get her an expense report by her 1:00pm meeting. You assure her it will be done, then your top client calls asking for you to review their account with them, and you don’t explain to your boss why the report is late it makes you look unreliable. When something unexpected comes along make sure to completely communicate with those around you. Good communication will show that you are on top of things, and able to prioritize when things get busy!

3. Bad Attitude. Speaking poorly of co-workers, complaining about clients, or whining about workload may feel like a way to blow off steam, but they can lower peoples’ opinions of you in a hurry. Expressing things in an optimistic manner will help turn their view around so they can see you as upbeat and confident!

4. Complacent. Why would you need to promote someone who is doing well and is satisfied with where they are in the company? Look for opportunities to take on additional projects, or take training classes, when they are offered. Managers often appreciate someone who shows initiative and doesn’t need to be managed closely.

5. Invisible. There are so many parts that go into making a company run smoothly; this often results in, not so visible roles, being overlooked as raises are being handed out. A close friend of mine waited five years for management to notice what a great job he was doing before they finally gave him a raise. Within reason, show and tell others what you have done. Have mini-celebrations in your department and invite the manager. Make sure that someone knows the work that is being done behind the scenes.