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10 tips for increasing your professional visibility and exposure


Being recognized in your field can make you more valuable in your current job and more marketable if you decide to change jobs. The tips below can help you gain that visibility and exposure. The first four are aimed primarily at the employee of a company, while the rest apply either to the employee or to the independent consultant.

Note: This information is also available as a PDF download.

#1: Develop your elevator talk

The elevator talk is the 15- to 30-second talk you would give to a senior executive while both of you are in an elevator. It's your chance to impress that person, so make the most of it. Important parts of the elevator talk include:

  • Who you are
  • What project you're working on
  • A significant accomplishment you've made

#2: Talk to bosses during office social events

During an office social event (for example, the holiday or Christmas party), it's generally easier to approach your boss and his or her boss to say hello. At those times, it's important to have your elevator talk prepared. Business talk is good, as long as you stay away from salary, benefits, and other personnel questions. Try to make your approach, if you can, out of the sight and earshot of your peers, so they don't think that you're being fawning toward your bosses.

#3: Introduce yourself when in another location of your company

Your job may take you to another part of the country, where you might be working with another part of your company -- for example, with a different branch office. In that case, make an effort to introduce yourself to the head of that office. You really don't need a formal appointment. Simply introduce yourself to that person's assistant and find out whether you can just "stick your head in the door" to say hello. Tell that person who you are and what you're doing for that person's office or staff.

#4: Volunteer for company events

United Way drive... company picnic...holiday party. All of these events need company employees to run them. They take time, but helping with them can bring you recognition, especially if you're working side by side with upper-level people who one day could be your boss.

#5: Speak to outside groups

Speaking to groups can give you credibility and increase your professional contacts. It also builds your own knowledge of your topic, because in researching and creating your talk, you inevitably will learn more about it.

Look for a topic you're familiar with and which would interest an audience. Focus on how your information can benefit audience members.Avoid simply repeating facts. Share any analysis you have done, offering insights for the audience. When looking for groups can speak to, consider industry and professional associations, local chambers of commerce, and service organizations, such as Rotary. Your initial talks probably will need to be given free of charge. However, as your reputation expands, you might be able to charge a fee for them.

One variant of speaking is to teach, perhaps at a local community college. Be aware, however, that such an obligation can involve significant preparation time and little pay.

6. Write for professional publications

Nothing beats seeing one's name in print, with a byline following the title. The same approach applies to writing as with speaking to groups: Pick a topic you know well and which would appeal to the readers of a publication. That means, of course, that you have to know the types of readers a publication has. Most publications will ask for a query letter or e-mail first. In it, you outline your proposed article and possibly submit samples of your previous work. On the other hand, I have gotten articles published simply by sending them in.

The publication Writer's Market has been tremendously helpful to me in this regard.

#7: Serve as a source for news media

Reporters like to quote authorities when writing a story. If they quote you in print or on the air, your reputation is enhanced. Once you identify a reporter, introduce yourself by phone or e-mail. If you call, and the person answers, ask first whether the person is on deadline. If he or she is, offer to call back. Such a question indicates that you're sensitive to the reporter's time. If you're sending e-mail, include a biographical statement or resume if possible and stress why your knowledge is important to the reporter's readers, viewers, or listeners. If you work for a company, be careful about mentioning the company by name. Your employer might be upset if you appear to be speaking for the company rather than yourself.

#8: Mentor or advise a student group or club

I've never done it, but advising a student group, such as a student chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP), is another way of gaining exposure and contacts.

#9: Moderate a panel discussion

Even if you aren't able to give a presentation at a conference, you still might be able to participate by moderating a panel discussion. The responsibilities will vary depending on the conference and the conference organizer. However, most moderators are responsible for making sure the discussion starts and ends on time and that all participants have a chance to speak. You might want to have some questions prepared beforehand that you can ask the panel to answer.

When taking questions from the audience, always repeat the question so that the entire room (panelists and audience) can hear it.

#10: Serve as board member or officer of a professional association

It's pretty easy to serve in either of these capacities because generally, no one wants to do it. If you're the treasurer, you'll be responsible for keeping track of money for the association, such as registration fees received for any conferences, and expenses incurred for speakers, facilities, and other reasons. The other officer and board positions generally are concerned with maintaining and increasing membership, for planning and finding speakers for meetings, and various administrative tasks. If you're willing to put in the time, having such an accomplishment would look good on a resume.

About

Calvin Sun is an attorney who writes about technology and legal issues for TechRepublic.

7 comments
obonyoforence
obonyoforence

really good .gets one busy and reduces introvertion

mbalagere
mbalagere

I really agree with wat caanlberich says...u can never disturb ur boss when he is at a social gatherin talkin bout matters jus because they interest you...also the press participation is ery dangerous without the company's approval.

trichur.padmanabhan
trichur.padmanabhan

Professional attributes of Values, Expertise in the relevant area and a general understanding and participation in resolution of the World issues are a must. The values,ethics cannot be tainted; The color, fabric and character of a professional should be plain and simple. A compromise will mean that it rusts. Professional should be a man of Gold; If you cannot beat it Join it is a phrase coined by some for their own advantage and what has happened is a total deteioration in values and ethics. When you cannot change, fight and quit should be the motto, this way you will be recognised. Yes, there are great organisations that uphold virtues for they know, that Men may come and Go, but companies will remain forever. Expertise, not just preaching but the capability to get your hands dirty is what is equally important. The other aspect is with globalisation, there are no boundaries, every action in any corner of the world might have an effect elsewhere. It is important to know and participate in resolution where it is possible, the least you could do is voice your opinion; It is very important. It is One World and every major event in the world requires a conscious understanding. Professionals are blessed with the fortune of education and blended with values,they need to be part of change. Internet is a wonderful medium and they should reflect their thoughts.... Integrity and Value:

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Even if you are out on your own and a couple-hundred miles from corporate or your nearest corporate associates, some of these tips can be helpful. In fact the following tips may be the only options available: #5: Speak to outside groups. You don't need to address complex issues or large groups. For example, one talk almost all PC support pros are capable of (with a little preparation and practice) is the "why it's important to use security software" speech. Keep it simple (everyday language), have examples, describe possibilities (identity theft, etc.) and make comparisons ("You wouldn't walk away from an unlocked house, would you?"). The group you speak to is up to you; join your local ToastMasters! #6. Write for professional publications. This, you can do from anywhere. Depending on the publication, be prepared for an exhausting professional review. (Or, you could write for TR! ;\ :p ) #7: Serve as a source for news media. It helps if you don't live in the sticks. Reporters, just like everybody else, have their prejudices. One of these prejudices is usually that anybody who doesn't live in a (their) city is a hick. #8: Mentor or advise a student group or club. Believe it or not, this can be fun. Besides the AITP (which may not have a student chapter in your area), consider also Skills USA (http://www.skillsusa.org/), the FIRST Robotics program (http://www.usfirst.org/), or other student group. Check with your local high school career center for available choices. #9: Moderate a panel discussion. May not be possible out in the boony-weeds, but if you can wangle it, why not? One option I didn't see was to contribute to the corporate knowledge base. If you have the knowledge and it's not available on-line, write up a procedure, article, or troubleshooting guide and submit it. At worst, you will have spent some time creating something useful. Or your work could become THE source for information on that topic.

drowningnotwaving
drowningnotwaving

In general the points are good. And the intent is good as well. A couple of details are dangerous. At a company picnic, giving the boss the elevator pitch indicates IMHO an incredible lack of sensitivity to the situation or place. If the event is a relaxing event, then the boss is there to unwind an relax. Giving the "pitch" in this environment ?? Become a source for the press? Without authority this is a sackable offence in many companies. Even being the "anonymous" source is a dangerous sport for the uninitiated - most anonymous sources can't wait to tell someone that they are the source, and this has a habit of getting back to the people that matter. On a positive note, here is a couple more: * Make sure you can relate your projects to business objectives and measurable benefits. It's amazing how many people are involved in projects where they fully understand what they are doing, but cannot actually relate the end goal of the project or task back to the goals of the company. In my experience, speaking to the boss about improving company objectives gets their full attention. Speaking about improvements in systems gets their yawn. * One simple question to ask a boss that (almost) works every time: "If you were in my position, what would you be doing to make sure you were setting yourself up for maximum success inside ABC Inc?". Or my personal fave variant: "When you were at my stage in your career, what did you do to put yourself in a position for the success you now have?" Then sit back, shut up and nod sagely at points in time.

Bearded_Wonder
Bearded_Wonder

I would add blogging to this list. Even if no one reads your blog, it forces you to think and write. The ideas you have crafted for your blog will find their way into your conversations- as (hopefully) complete and coherent thoughts. Blog posts can also be good starting points for presentations.

BigBlueMarble
BigBlueMarble

I'd say I agree 50/50. What's good is great, but some of this stuff - the brown-nosing stuff - is just poor business etiquette. Wanna be remembered in 30 seconds? Have a funny one-liner locked and loaded - not an advertisement about your skills and accomplishments. Cream rises to the top, as they say. I like to stick with staying positive with everyone I work with. Today's Jr. Exec is tomorrow's Sr. VP. LOVE the suggestion of opening communications all around the company - especially if it's global. That really does go a long way! Save the brown-nosing for someone who isn't sharp enough to know it for what it is. That is NOT an upper exec, for sure. Great piece, though. Very thought-provoking.