Promotions, opportunities, and big raises generally go to the employees who manage to stand out from their peers. To become one of those people -- an employee who is clearly a leader among equals -- there are a handful of things you can do.
It's not about promoting yourself or saying how great you are. Instead, it's a question of putting in the work to make it clear that you are something special. That's not easy, but it's certainly possible if you are willing to do whatever it takes.
1. Come early, leave late
Don't be the kind of employee who watches the clock. Your official hours may be 9-5, but standing out requires that you go above and beyond. Get to work before everyone else, and be one of the last to leave.
That's not to say you should just make a show of working more hours. Instead, use the extra time you spend at work to do more. Be productive while you are at work and people will notice (and appreciate) the extra time you put in.
2. Never say no
When your boss asks for volunteers for a project, be the first person who puts a hand up. When a coworker needs help with something, do the same. Build a reputation as someone who is willing to do whatever is needed -- not just for management, but also for any person on the team who needs your help.
3. Be a good teammate
Standing out isn't just about getting management to notice you. It's also important to have your peers recognize that you are something special. That means you should be willing to help people out whenever they need it. You will also need to be generous in sharing credit and making it clear that you are part of a team.
4. Learn new things
If a new project or an opportunity to gain a new skill comes up, take it on. Even if this means training at night or on the weekends, be open to the idea. Doing this will not only show your willingness to be a team player, it also will help you gain new skills that make you more valuable.
Hard work gets noticed. Be the person your employer and your coworkers can count on. Be reliable and open-minded. Stand out because you put in the kind of time and effort that makes it clear to everyone around you that you are something special.
Keep a good attitude. Don't just be a self-promoter. Be a team player who advances the goals of the entire organization through hard work. If you do these things then you will stand out, and will likely be a clear choice when it comes time to hand out raise and promotions.