Brad Pitt. It’s a name you’ll know, but what you mightn’t be aware of is that this actor (currently worth a cool US$240 million) began his career as the “Partygoer/Preppie Guy at Fight” in the 1987 film Less Than Zero – which just goes to show how far a good first impression on the job can take you. Collective Hub advisory board member Paul Schulte also knows a thing (or six) about getting attention, having begun his career pulling pints at a pub that, a mere month later, he would be managing, before becoming a partner in its parent company.
In the third instalment of our series of chats with Paul, who’s now co-helming his own top hospitality brand and concept creator SITE, we gleaned these tips on how to get yourself noticed – and thriving – in the workplace.
As Oscar Wilde so wisely said, “Everyone else is already taken.” And while it’s a cliché as old as time, flaunting your authentic self is, according to Paul, a sure-fire way to make a mark. “I think this world we live in is so driven by, ‘This is what you should and shouldn’t be doing.’ And I think the more you step out of that, the more you get noticed.” Aussie author Kathy Lette made this point crystal clear in a corgi-print frock on meeting the Queen, outshining the likes of Hugh Jackman and Elle MacPherson.
Solve a problem
No business is perfect, so stop complaining and get busy with some DIY. “You need to grab a category of what you may see is missing in that company, and you need to say ‘Let me look after that,’ and make a difference in that area,” says Paul. Not a natural problem-solver? It can be taught. According to Richard Branson, “A great problem-solver is usually open to new ideas, innately curious and good at working with others… [and] above all, terrific listening skills are essential.” So put an ear to the ground (and your colleagues) and get creative.
Think outside the nine-to-five
“I’m not saying you’ve got to work 24/7, but if the creative juices get going at night, because of something you’ve seen or believe in, put it all down.” Paul’s ticker gets going at five in the morning and, as a recent study found, 72 per cent of us get our best ideas in the shower. “Present those ideas,” says Paul, “and if it’s done well and there’s been a lot of thought process, if the manager or owner doesn’t respect that, then you’re in the wrong company.”
Having a strong voice in the workplace is way to command respect, especially if you big-up your accompanying body language with razor-sharp eye contact and your head held high. “A lot of people go into their shell and don’t tell people what they truly think. And I think it’s really important you do,” says Paul. “You can obviously gauge whether the company wants to hear you more or less, but it’s important from day one that you figure that out.” After all, getting noticed is as much about being heard as being seen.
Look the part
Statistics have told us that on first sight, 55 per cent of the impact we make comes from the way we dress, act and make an entrance. So the upkeep of your professional wardrobe, Paul emphasises, is crucial to your personal brand. “Even If you’ve got your own business and you sit in your own home, by yourself, I still think it’s important that you dress appropriately,” he says. “You need to put yourself into the mindset of who you are and what you do.”
Learn from it all
So you might not yet have landed the job you plan to shine in – don’t let this stop you from making a splash. As Paul says, “Everything you do, you learn from, which is a very easy thing to say and hear, and a lot of people can nod their head, but at the end of the day you actually do. The sh*t jobs you learn from, the good jobs you learn from – you need to just keep learning and evolving yourself on the back of lessons. Everything’s a journey, whether good or bad, there’s ups and downs. And life’s too short to get miserable about it, you’ve just got to keep chipping away.”