Are you projecting the image of a hard worker? You'd think it would be simple: work hard. However, it's possible to work very hard at your job without anyone noticing.

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Are you projecting the image of a hard worker? You’d think it would be simple: work hard. However, it’s possible to work very hard at your job without anyone noticing.

In fact, you can even work more while looking as if you’re working less. Say your workplace offers flexible hours. You choose to come in at 7 a.m. and work until 5 p.m.; maybe it suits your work/life balance, or you get a lot done during those early hours. But if your boss and co-workers show up at 10 a.m. and stay till 8 p.m., you are going to look like a slacker for leaving at 5.

See what I mean? Simply working hard isn’t enough. People, especially managers, need to know you’re working hard.

It’s all about perception. Not faking it — this isn’t a list of ways to look as if you’re working hard when you really aren’t. Rather, it’s tips for ensuring that the impression you make matches the reality. (You’ll laugh when you see how easy it is.)

  • Speak up frequently at meetings.
  • Offer to be a mentor or to train new employees.
  • Make regular progress reports.
  • Sit up straight, smile, walk tall — demonstrate energy.
  • Volunteer for leadership opportunities.
  • Take part in team-building activities.
  • Come up with ways to save the company money.
  • Take on projects no one else wants to tackle.
  • Talk to your manager about your career goals and ways to meet them.
  • Take advantage of any training or continuing education your company offers.

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Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use. Email her at wg@karenburnsworkinggirl.com.