As a knowledge worker, it can be hard to demonstrate your expertise to anyone besides your boss. But the ease with which anyone can publish content on the Internet has given us a profound opportunity. Just as a graphic designer has a portfolio to display his best logos and brochures, you should be creating intellectual property (blog posts, podcasts, videocasts – even a savvy and professional Twitter feed can count) that demonstrates your expertise. If you’ve changed careers or you’re trying to move up the ladder at your company, others may still think of the old you. Creating solid content reminds people of your new skills and knowledge and enables people to judge you based on the quality of the material you produce, not your history or credentials.
Leverage social proofPsychologists love to use the term “social proof ”. It means that people look to others around them to judge the value of something. (If a book has 1 000 five-star reviews on Amazon. com, it must be good.) So how can you leverage this heuristic to help your career? If you’re going to bother getting involved with a professional organisation, you should make a point of taking a leadership role, because the social proof of being seen as a leader will have exponential benefits. Alan Weiss, a consultant who was the president of the New England chapter of the National Speakers Association in the mid-Nineties, thought his business would decline during those years because of the extra time commitment the position required. “But to my surprise,” he told me, “I did about $250 000 more business. The visibility naturally accrues to you, and even though you don’t seek it out, people come to you for interviews and advice. Your visibility grows and your brand grows.”