You might be doing great at work; however, there lies a big difference between being a successful professional and establishing yourself as a successful professional…
When being successful isn’t enough
When being successful isn’t enough
by Ankita Poddar 14/12/2018
You might be doing great at work; however, from my many years in the industry I have come to learn that there lies a big difference between being a successful professional and establishing yourself as a successful professional. The Venn diagram on these does not necessarily intersect. Hence, while you may be successful, I am going to share a few tips on how to get good at establishing it. Also, because while there are a million articles available on how to have a successful career and be a successful professional, very few emphasize on what it takes to let the world know that you are successful. Believe me, I’ve looked.
You have worked hard over the years and already spent considerable effort on becoming a successful professional. Why must you invest the extra effort that comes with pursuing the ‘establishing’? Shouldn’t that be an automatic side effect of becoming a successful professional? Well, in another day and age – absolutely. In a world ruled by the internet and social media, it is far from enough. In fact, it is a disservice to your profession to not tell everyone that you know the profession well. How else would people know whom to reach out to? Also, wouldn’t it be great to get to a stage where jobs seek you out and not the other way round? To be in a position where everyone who matters knows your name? If your answer to those questions is NO, you can stop reading now. If you want to continue to survive in today’s rat race, I recommend you continue reading.
Like most good things in life, establishing yourself takes time and effort. While there isn’t a shortcut, what I can do is share steps and actions from the little I’ve learnt.
1. Find your voice: Everyone’s talking. You need to figure what makes you worth listening to. It doesn’t have to be something unique, something that no one else has but it needs to be something that one can associate with you. It is important to identify what’s going to make you different and build your brand (your name) around it. You can decide to brand yourself as a self-assured, humorous, divergent thinker. You can decide to be the professional who is an ace at research. Find the qualities or the niche that makes you different. If you have both, even better. Do not dilute the brand. It might be tempting to focus on multiple things but for strong brand recall, it is necessary that you have a laser focus on a set number of attributes. Do not skimp on this step. Every other step that follows makes no sense if you do not get this right. Find something that you can stick. Something that defines you.
2. Tweet: Now that you’ve zeroed in on your unique voice, it’s time to start talking. The best platform to begin with is Twitter. Create an account, use the brief description to re-emphasize your attributes and start tweeting. It doesn’t have to be original content. You can start by following all other thought leaders in the space, replying to them and retweeting what resonates with your brand. You can share articles that you love, videos and quotes that inspire you. Participate in tweet chats. If you are terrible at tweeting, set reminders. Tweet a minimum of twice a day and when you begin to connect with people on Twitter, tag them on posts that you think they may enjoy reading. You will soon find yourself gaining strong followers. Do not go by numbers but the quality of the connections you build. Don’t get impatient. It takes years to build up a strong Twitter network but this is as good a time to start as any.
3. Write: I’d like to say this is optional but almost everyone is writing these days. It has become the new essential skill in town so even if you aren’t absolutely great at it, it’s always good to practice. The aim is to start creating original content and have a space where you can host it all. You don’t have to go on to WordPress or Medium. You can start by posting on LinkedIn. Their new algorithm makes it easier for you to share your message. Start connecting with websites who share content and explore opportunities to collaborate. Write for them. Keep writing until you find your style and then make it better. Over time, you may even decide to have your own blog. If you do, invest a little and buy the domain. It makes for a stronger brand.
4. Turn up: Scan your locality for conferences, interest groups, events associated with your profession. If necessary, travel to attend these. They are great avenues to meet those you have previously interacted with over social media, reinforce those connections and make new ones. Stay for the after parties. Talk, sing and laugh with people. I can already see the introverts shudder at this thought. I am a classic introvert but I know this is important and always collect my energy reserves to be present. If you keep at it, soon you will find yourself invited to these gatherings and who knows, over time you’ll be the one up on stage everyone is travelling to listen to.
5. Tell a good story: This is the other hot new skill in town. The best people tell the best stories. All leading brands have their own story. Fill your basket with conversation starters and practice storytelling. There is no quicker way to create brand recall than to narrate a story worth repeating. Not all stories need to be original nor does the narration. The skill lies in narrating the right story at the right time and narrating it in style. As you practice creating original content, you will learn to string together original stories that will make you a star. Like with all the above and wine, it gets better with time.
6. Always have an updated resume & LinkedIn profile: I learnt this the hard way. Life has a tendency of getting in your way at the most inopportune moments. There are countless occasions where I’ve updated my resume in less than an hour and sent it across only to kick myself for having missed something important. Resumes need to be worked on for days. When you’ve done all of the above right, it makes little sense to miss an opportunity because you didn’t have a ready resume when a lucrative offer knocked at your door. Always keep your LinkedIn profile and resume updated even if you aren’t looking for change. You never know when the opportunity of a lifetime knocks you over your feet. Learn from my mistakes.
There are a few other things that help stay at the top. These include certifications, winning awards and taking great professional looking pictures. The common thread that runs through all of them is the importance of networking and connect. Like every successful brand, you need to find reasons to connect with the audience on a regular basis. These six tips when followed religiously will not only make you a successful professional but also open doors that you would never have imagined. So go ahead. I can’t wait to hear people shout out your name. And when they do, give me a shout out. ☺
Ankita Poddar is HR professional based out of India. Identified as one of the emerging HR leaders in India in 2016, Ankita's experience as an HR Business Partner gives her the opportunity to work closely with business leaders, innovate and execute on the behalf of customers especially in areas of people analytics, employee engagement, rewards and recognition and performance management. Ankita blogs about all things HR at https://thehrbpstory.com/. Follow her on Twitter @ankitapoddar.Ankita Poddar
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