How to Demonstrate Your Worth in the Workplace

Raising hand in meeting

Have you ever felt undervalued in your organization? It might seem like no matter what you do, your manager is giving you projects that aren’t utilizing all of your skills, education and training. Recently, BioSpace conducted a survey to determine how happy life science professionals are. Some respondents who were unhappy indicated that they aren’t valued in their current job. One person specifically mentioned that they “have a Ph.D. but are treated like a technician.” That example is an indication that the particular employee potentially hasn’t demonstrated their worth to their manager.

Attaining degrees at various levels helps to show others that you have successfully learned information. Ph.D. recipients have shown that they’ve performed high-level research in addition to analyzing and synthesizing details regarding a specific subject matter. Unfortunately, simply having a degree doesn’t always translate to respect and trust within an organization. Companies are comprised of employees with different backgrounds, experiences and opinions. In many situations, you might have to display your value in various ways, despite having an advanced degree. Here are four ways to demonstrate your worth in the workplace!

Listen and make insightful comments

The majority of people do more talking than listening. Many professionals also fall into a trap of trying to constantly prove themselves in conversation, which can come across as overcompensating in situations. This can be counterproductive at work, because it is a natural human desire to want to be heard. Your colleagues and manager could be turned off if you don’t spend enough time listening to others. After truly listening during conversations, make insightful comments that reinforce what the other person said and include additional information. Being perceptive exhibits to others that you can be trusted to take on more duties because you are keeping up with what is going on.

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Speak up strategically in meetings

Many extroverts are very vocal in meetings. However, if they aren’t saying much of value, their comments can be easily forgotten or dismissed. On the other hand, the majority of introverts find it challenging to speak up in meetings, because they don’t want to interrupt others or haven’t fully formulated their thoughts. The key is to use your voice strategically in meetings, especially in front of your boss or manager. What can you say that will address a point or concern that no one has brought up? Can you provide another angle that hasn’t been considered? Initiating those types of discussions will help you be remembered for your intellect and critical thinking.

Think two to three steps ahead

When it comes to a job, many people show up and mindlessly do their work on autopilot. They don’t ask impactful questions or proactively address points of concern. If you think two to three steps ahead and inform your manager of possible challenges, it generally leads to others developing a higher level of respect for you. You start to be viewed as a team member who is vital to the organization’s success. It is important to make sure that your delivery of suggestions and concerns isn’t condescending or rude.

Continue learning and developing outside of the organization

Top performers usually continue learning and growing over the course of their career. This is what helps them excel and do their job better. Taking it upon yourself to join professional associations, participate in supplemental training and attain certifications demonstrates to your organization that you are serious about your role. Finding the right time and context to mention this to your manager is also a good idea. What are some additional development opportunities that you could pursue to reinforce your worth?

If you are feeling undervalued at work, it’s productive to think about how you’ve demonstrated your value internally. Have you done anything above and beyond your job description? Listening and making thoughtful comments during conversations can let others know that you have important information to share. Being vocal in meetings with strategic insight can be a time where others, including your manager, can take notice. Thinking two to three steps ahead and continuing to learn and develop outside of your company are extremely beneficial ways to highlight your contribution and capabilities. How do you plan to demonstrate your worth in the workplace?

Porschia Parker is a Certified Coach, Professional Resume Writer, and Founder of Fly High Coaching. ( She empowers ambitious professionals and motivated executives to add $10K on average to their salaries.

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