You can’t read an article these days about job search, branding, or work that doesn’t advise you to become an expert in something. Even the self-help folks have joined the chorus, “Figure out what you’re good at and market that.” Standing out from the crowd takes motivation, focus and effort to make it count.
In the “olden” days, we went to work, did what was asked, got our checks, went home, watched the tube, and got up the next day to do it all over again. Rinse and repeat for the next 50 years till someone gave us a gold watch to go away. We stayed below the radar, stayed out of trouble, and kept our noses to the grindstone. OUCH!
Fast forward to the 21st century – The job market is tight, everyone is cooler than us and we wonder when, not if, we’ll get that dreaded layoff notice. Here’s a newsflash – your place in the unemployment line is guaranteed if you’re just doing your job without doing anything to make a difference or add value.
So how do you stand out? Get noticed in a good way? Get on management’s radar? You become an expert….or at least very, very good at what you do, and maybe even at what your co-workers do, too. After all, if you don’t have anything to offer, why are you there? Filling a spot just to get a paycheck doesn’t serve anyone.
Being an expert at something means you solve a problem, and you do it better than anyone else. It means you want to know more, do more, be more. Propose an initiative outside your job description. Volunteer for the stinkiest project no one else is willing to do. Take a class, join a trade association, connect with others in your industry on LinkedIn. If you do it right, you’ll be the “go-to person” and wear the guru title with pride. Career-wise, being indispensable is an ideal place to be. The more recognition and praise you can earn, the better your chances of staying off the layoff list.
Beware of the bland, become an expert and give all you can.
So, do your co-workers see you as Marvin Milquetoast or Edward the Expert? Tell me what you do to make work better.