This post is written for job seekers and business owners alike.
I love watching amazing things happen, and over the last few weeks I’ve been watching an expert redefine his expertise.
We can learn a lot from this.
My Texas friend Thom Singer is an author and speaker, and has finally gone independent. He was doing this stuff while he wasn’t working, but once he cut ties with his employer he was able to focus completely on the business he had started to build.
His first book was on networking, and the rest of his books were on… networking! He’s a networking expert/guru.
As a professional speaker, I think he realized he needed to figure out what he LOVES to do, and what differentiates him so he could be branded differently than all the other supposed networking experts. Writing a series of books was helpful, I’m sure. But how is he different than Keith Ferrazzi, Harvey Mackay, and the other networking thought-leaders?
One day Thom realized something he loves to do, and is really good at, at conferences. He is the conference networking catalyst. Thom speaks at the conference and then stays during the conference and helps others network. He helps create a networking culture at the event.
How does he help conference organizers (the people who would hire him) know of this passion and expertise?
He wrote a number of posts that talked about being a conference catalyst (like this one). He even bought the domain ConferenceCatalyst, and created a nice marketing site to show his expertise.
Those are good moves for “search engine optimization.” The idea is, if someone is looking for him on Google, they hopefully will find him based on the keywords they search for and the pages/posts/sites he has.
Pretty common stuff.
But he did something else – something brilliant.
Thom created content for people who put on trade shows and conferences… something unique and valuable. He wasn’t screaming HIRE ME HIRE ME HIRE ME, he was simply adding high-value content to his target audience.
How did he do it?
He wrote a series of blog posts called The ABC’s of Trade Shows and Conferences. He took time to wrote one post for every letter of the alphabet, and just finished yesterday. Here are some post titles:
A is for Advance – talking about not winging it, and doing a lot of preparation in advance.
D is for Drinking – talking about the etiquette of drinks at a conference. A must read.
K is for Keynote – talking about the value of a keynote to attendees, sponsors and vendors, etc.
Q is for Questions – how to ask them, what to ask, what if no one asks, etc.
V is for Vendors – including seven things to remember if you are a vendor at a conference.
You can check out all of these posts here.
Isn’t this brilliant?
If I were putting on a conference, or exhibiting at a conference, or attending a conference, I would learn something from this. Conference organizers should print this out (or get his pending book) and distribute it to their team. They can distribute it to vendors, and even give access to attendees.
In the end, though, one person remains THE EXPERT on this stuff, and that’s the guy who put all the content together.
Thom isn’t the only person in the world who think about this stuff. There might be others who have way more expertise than he does. But with this series of posts, and the book that should come out of it, who do you think is going to get speaking and catalyst jobs as THE EXPERT?
That’s right. Thom Singer. He defined his expertise. He has become different from Keith Ferrazzi and Harvey Mackay and all the other networking experts out there. He is differentiated.
YOU CAN DO THE SAME THING.
6 thoughts on “How To Become An Expert In Your Job Search”
Sometimes the best solution is to slow down and think…rather than dive headfirst, eyes closed into the same pool as everyone else.
But then again, isn’t that how JibberJobber was born?
@Steve, what do you mean? Are you suggesting Thom slow down and think (about what?)? Or saying that we need to think about how we brand ourselves?
Actually, I think Thom did a lot of the “thinking” that Steve refers to while he had an income stream other than his speaking gigs, and then subsequently the income from book sales. So when the decision was made (either by himself or by his employer), he was ready to “take the plunge”.
Jason- Wow, this blog post was a surprise. Thanks for the kind words. YES, there was 12 years of thinking about the industry of speaking before it became a full-time career. I thought about it all the time. You are correct in the intention to find part of what I do where I was unique. The “Conference Catalyst” is a pure product of my passion for the power of business relationships and the opportunity that a conference provides (an opportunity that many attendees and sponsors fail to take advantage).
Great post, Jason!
I love posts like these because I can see them applying so clearly to the job search process as well.
Just imagine a job seeker looking to change fields who wants to demonstrate their passion and interest in a profession where they have minimal – or no – work experience. A proactive approach like this, by branding oneself as an expert not just by owning the domain name, but by producing useful content that provides value, would impress any hiring manager.
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