Build A Visibility Campaign
From Career Tips, 2010 Volume 1, January 2010
The first step to getting noticed is to make yourself visible. This is a key to landing your next job, and to creating opportunities for yourself at your current employer.
For example, in 1992 I decided I had been an Assistant VP long enough, and sought out ways to better demonstrate my leadership capabilities, taking charge of my company's Officers Advisory Group and working hard to move forward some significant initiatives. At the end of the year, I was promoted to Vice President.
Let's focus in specifically on visibility for a job search. There truly are many leaders out there who understand that talent is worth investing in whenever they see it. I recall one former boss who was known for going to concerts in Central Park and bringing back new employees the next day.
This is why there is such an emphasis on networking, and why if you do it the right way it can be so successful.
The key is that these leaders need to know who you are, and why you are a real talent. This means that you have to be really clear on the talent you bring to the table, and present it consistently and well.
What would it do for your career search goals if every critical player in your target companies / target departments knew of you, in a positive way? Don't you think that would give you a much greater chance of being the first person they talk to when they seek to fill a relevant new position? So why not build a visibility campaign for yourself?
Here are 7 things you can do to build this visibility campaign...
- Write directly to people who could hire you.
Don't write applying for a specific job, just ask to meet with them. (One past client sent 9 letters, and landed 3 interviews, 3 offers to meet, and the job offer she wanted.)
- Attend professional association meetings, conferences and trade shows.
Some people complain that the cost is too high, but these are where you are going to get the largest concentration of employed people in your profession, so you need to consider the access you are getting for that investment.
If you get creative, you may be able to find ways to attend for free or very low cost - volunteering to help in some way, joining an organizational committee, finding a sponsor, agreeing to run a workshop or give a presentation, offering to manage a booth, or even throwing yourself on the mercy of the organizers and asking for a "scholarship".
- Create a professional website.
Make sure this is more interesting than just a recitation of your résumé. Give a demonstration of the results you have helped past employers / clients achieve, and the problems you are very good at solving. Include your portfolio (if one is appropriate to your profession.) Add other resources of interest. Here's mine: www.JHACareers.com
Then find ways to attract people to your website. Including a variety of professional resources is a great addition, and then you can work on getting the word out that this is a place to find them.
- Write articles.
This is very powerful, if you use the articles well.
Don't rely on just having written something bringing you lots of attention. Get a link to it or put it on your website, and then send that link to lots of friends and colleagues. Post it to various Yahoo or LinkedIn groups where it might inform a discussion. Find reasons to offer it to people.
- Build a Blog.
There isn't much cost to creating a blog, other than your time investment. You just have to be sure you are going to commit to making regular entries. This can be a great way to build your aura as an expert in an area, if you put some effort into getting the word out about it to attract traffic. Here's mine: https://jhacareers.com/blog/
For those not prepared to write their own material, commenting on what others have put together is a great way to go. There are a huge number of blogs out there, and the owners love to receive (intelligent) comments. This can raise your profile with readers of that blog, as well as start to build a relationship with the blogger. Choose someone who is respected in your field, and this can be a goldmine.
Also respond to postings to Yahoo or LinkedIn groups, answer questions on LinkedIn or Yahoo or other groups, or just make your own postings and raise your own questions. Here's an example: http://tinyurl.com/SampleLinkedInAnswer
Offer to speak at an association conference, business networking group, or other venue where you can showcase your knowledge and skills in your chosen area. Then work to make sure lots of people (beyond those who happen to show up) know that you are speaking. Offer copies of your slides or handouts to others who couldn't make it, or post them on your website.
(For my SPEAK template on how to make the most of speaking, see: http://www.JHACareers.com/ArticlesSpeaking.htm.)
Oh, and if you are worried whether you know enough about any topic to be an effective speaker, why not just organize a workshop where you are the moderator? Then you can ask everyone else questions, still come across as having expertise in the area, and learn a lot more about the issues in the process.
There are so many more things you can do to build this visibility campaign - I'll talk about six more ways in the February issue of Career Tips. (Drop me an email if you need a copy.)