Wanting to stand out in the workplace comes with the territory of being an online student interested in career advancement. In addition to submitting assignments and participating on discussion boards, many online students also work full-time in high-demanding jobs.

Proving yourself in the workplace could result in advancement in your company's hierarchy. Here are five ways you can make a positive impression in the workplace as a valuable employee with a bright future:

1. Earn a degree.

Before landing a promotion, your management team will think about how you would handle more responsibility. What better picture to paint than earning your degree while staying sharp at work? Online learning is a great way to accomplish this.

If you don't have a degree, think of the leverage you could establish with an associate or bachelor's degree. If you already have a bachelor's, a master's degree may put you ahead of other applicants for that desired position.

2. Continually focus on improving.

Being open to constructive criticism shows a willingness to improve in the workplace. When you receive feedback from managers or co-workers, view the situation from the organization's perspective and don't take it personally. This approach may help those who struggle with constructive criticism.

Putting this feedback into action is one way to produce tangible results for the organization. Don't be afraid to embrace it as part of your personal development.

3. Wear a couple of hats.

Employers value versatility in today's workplace. Contributing solid work in different areas of your department will make you a well-rounded employee. This could open you up to different opportunities down the road.

Of course, keep a keen focus on your area of expertise. But also keep an open mind that your opportunity to advance may be in a related (but different) area.

4. Present ideas (with a plan).

Ideas that maximize efficiency and could result in profit for the organization are suggestions that bosses want on their desks. Before eagerly storming into your boss' office, however, take a few moments to think about the process and start formulating a plan of action.

Ideas are great, but sometimes they are just that - ideas. People talk about them, but no one takes action and the idea falls flat.

The next time you think of an idea that has the potential to benefit your organization, construct an outline that details how it could be put into action. Management will take notice.

5. Go out of your way (to a point).

Being a helpful employee is a great way to prove yourself to the organization. Going out of your way to help a co-worker or manager will resonate with that person. Don't take it overboard, especially at the expense of finishing your work. But if you have the organization's best interests in mind, going above and beyond your responsibilities can pay off down the road.

Implementing these five action items into your work strategy could help you climb the ranks. Since all of these suggestions benefit the company (and not just you), it won't seem like you're simply looking to get ahead.

What are some other ways you can prove yourself as a valuable employee in the workplace? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.

Are you thinking about earning a degree as a way to climb the company ranks? To learn about the pros and cons of distance learning, check out our eBook - "Why Online Education" - by clicking the image below:
Why Online Education Ebook

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