If you’ve read many of my articles, you’d see that I suggest branding yourself as a subject matter expert and that employers hire subject matter experts, even for generalist jobs.
Once you’ve identified the subject matter expertise you want employers to focus on, you’ve got to find a way to demonstrate it, promote it, or in many cases you may have to create it.
Why would you need to create subject matter expertise? If you’re changing careers or if you want an employer to focus on a subject matter expertise that isn’t apparent from past jobs, you’ve got to create the expertise. For example, your past responsibilities as a marketing analyst included projects that would also fall under a financial analyst’s tasks. If the expertise isn’t apparent from your past jobs, you’ve got to create it.
So how can you create subject matter expertise?
One great way is to write or republish articles on the topic … blogging.
So this is today’s Dirty Rotten Job Search Trick – creating subject matter expertise with blogs.
Here’s 3 ways to create subject matter expertise with blogs:
- Write Articles: Write articles about issues in your area of expertise. If you’re an accountant, write articles about how to handle accounting or tax issues related to your industry or the specific problems that you’ve solved. So if you do international consolidations, write about how to identify and solve problems in that specific area. If you’re in Marketing, but want to change into Social Media Marketing, get some case studies or interview people who specialize in Social Media Marketing (and you might ask them for introductions or job search advice along the way).
- Republish (Curate) Articles: You don’t have to be a Nobel laureate to write a blog – as long as you have an area of expertise and grasp High School-level grammar, you’ve got what it takes to blog. However, not everyone likes writing or is decent in grammar. Strong written communication skills aren’t in everyone’s bag of tricks. Even if writing isn’t one of your strengths, you can still blog, by curating articles.
- Guest Post Or Comment: If the 15 minutes to set up your own blog is too much for you, or you just don’t want to have to deal with your own blog, guest posting or commenting can be a good alternative. While guest posting or commenting won’t generate the audience or findability that a blog can create, it can help you get started.
A common roadblock to beginning bloggers is deciding what to write about. Blogging about your hobby of collecting Superman comic books probably isn’t going to lead to a job opportunity, unless you’re looking for a job in the comic book industry. However, writing about an area of your business experience that’s not too broad (Finance), nor too narrow (an entire blog dedicated to solving a problem that only two employers face), can create your subject matter expertise … and best yet, help employers find you.
It’s easy to set up your first blog, because there are a number of no-cost blog platforms that do most of the technical work for you. Set up a no-cost account at WordPress.com or Blogger.com to start – you can always get fancy at a later point, after you’ve built an audience.
As long as there is other content on the web (other blogs) about your area of subject matter expertise, you can curate … or create a “best of” blog. As a curator, you search he web for the best articles you find on the topic, secure permission, and republish on your own blog. Many articles are licensed as Creative Commons (public) and are available for republishing without express permission. Even if Creative Commons, always give the author credit and a link back to the original article. Not only is the right thing to do in the world of blogger etiquette, giving author citation and links also protects you from legal issues … plus, it can help you build allies in other bloggers, since you’ve done them a favor by republishing.
- Guest Posting: Many blogs accept guest posters. Most of the blogs that do accept, will have an area on the site describing their article and submission process. Some blogs that don’t describe their submission process still might accept guest posts. Best bet is to send your article to the blogger, webmaster, or contact point with a short email pitch. Let them know you’ll give them a week to accept or decline, before offering to another blogger. If you write just one article each week this way, soon you’ll have your articles, ideas, advice and your name on a wide number of industry blogs. Make sure the blog links back to your own blog/personal website or if you don’t have either, to your Linkedin profile.
- Commenting: Commenting is easy and instantaneous. Pick a handful if industry leading blogs in your area of subject matter expertise, scroll to the bottom of a few articles that interest you, and there’s almost always a comment box. Add your experience or advice, even disagree with the points made in the article – bloggers tend to like opposite opinions because controversy brings readers. You can start with the blogs you’re already reading.
Make sure to include your name, email and blog/website (or Linkedin profile link) in a signature block at the end of your article. Some blogs allow Google to search comments, others direct Google to exclude comments from Google search results – to the naked eye, it’s impossible to tell which blogs allow Google to index comments, other than digging into code or asking the blogger.
Blogging helps job seekers create subject matter expertise because articles are searchable by Google, are easily distributed, get passed around, even become viral if you’re lucky. Best yet, blogs generate readers, who sign up for your blog so it’s delivered to their email daily.
So you’re creating a list of people interested in your advice about your area of subject matter expertise … Can you think of how this list your blog creates could help your job search efforts?
Most importantly, Google is today’s first stop in due diligence before asking questions of others. Before hiring managers ask for advice from peers, team or outside advisers, they first check Google, to learn terminology, what questions to ask, and what subject matter experts have to say. By blogging, you become one of those subject matter experts.
By blogging, managers with a hiring budget, who have problems that you’re a subject matter expert in solving, are looking answers. Isn’t that a place you want to hang out to be found?-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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