“I’ll tell you how great I am”: Time to start blowing your own career trumpet
OK, it is unlikely that you wrestled with an alligator or tussled with a whale, as Mohammad Ali famously claimed ahead of his clash with George Foreman. However, there will come a point in your career when a little trumpet blowing is needed in order to take the next step up.
But how can you boast of your professional accomplishments without coming across as arrogant or confrontational?
In today’s ultra-competitive legal sector, self-promotion is not a luxury any of us can afford to keep hidden. Here are 5 ways that will enable you to raise your professional profile without raising the temperature of your peers.
- Boost your personal profile by becoming a thought leader:
It’s a phrase that is banded around far too liberally, yet the premise behind it is one that could dramatically boost your chances of job success. True thought leaders are people who understand their area of expertise better than most, recognise the challenges and nuances faced and can offer insights and opinion that add real value.
Look at some of the networking events and conferences you have attended recently – did they have guest speakers and if so, could you speak confidently to a group of attendees about an issue within your field (some of who could be potential clients)?
- Publish or perish:
That’s the mantra used by the scientific research community – it’s a tad on the dramatic side of course but the point is that if you have a ‘voice’, your personal brand as a candidate-of-choice is significantly raised.
Self-publishing platforms are a great opportunity to share your thoughts. Consider contributing a series of blog posts to your firm’s website, and take a look at LinkedIn’s ‘Pulse’ – a great and very easy way to share your content with all of your connections. If others could benefit from hearing about your experiences, share them. In doing so, you raise your profile and demonstrate your expertise within that area.
- PR yourself:
In addition to the self-publishing opportunities mentioned above, think about the media too. Your local newspaper will always be on the lookout for new contributors for their business pages, especially those who can provide insight into a topical story.
For example, if you specialise in employment law, could you offer advice or an opinion on the latest figures that predict a significant growth of the ‘gig economy’ over the next five years and the implications this will have on local employers?
- Keep your social media profiles updated:
Whether you have been a legal practitioner for 10 months or 10 years, there is no excuse for neglecting your social media profiles – especially LinkedIn. LinkedIn is one of the primary tools that legal recruiters and employers use to search and find the best talent – if your profile is not up to date, you could be missing out on the career opportunity you really want.
- Talk to people doing the job you want:
People love talking about themselves and what they do, so approach colleagues in your firm who are already performing the role you want to do next. Tap them for their insights and knowledge to gain a better understanding of what to expect and what will be expected of you once you are in that role yourself.
This has two distinct advantages for you: Firstly, your expectations of the position are managed and secondly, you demonstrate that you are keen to progress in your career without being blazon about it. You may even find that the person you speak to could put in a good word for you when the next round of promotions comes.
Putting yourself ‘out there’ isn’t actually about you, it’s about how you can bring something different to the table for the benefit of the greater good. Sharing best practice can go a long way in raising your profile and can lead to more career opportunities than you may have thought possible. Now that can only be a good thing, right?