How many times have you researched something and insisted on starting with the knowledge, wisdom, and expertise of a person, study, or group, for the answers?
What made these experts and insights special? Why did you trust this information?
The likely answer is: Because you knew what they were talking about. You knew the information you were seeking would be valid, knowledgeable, and validated.
But there’s another way to look at this: At one time, these experts, too, were unknown and if you would have done the same research years prior, you would probably have bypassed their names. At least at first.
They did not reach that level of recognition without hard work and dedication to their fields and you, too, are perfectly capable of becoming the expert that others seek for insights and information. There are many steps you can take to build your reputation and become recognized as an industry leader and expert.
Become an Advocate
Reach out to those in your field whose goals align with yours and whose curiosities give you a place to provide valuable steps towards their goals. It could be a small group or a large organization but if their areas of expertise are the same as yours and you have the insights that can help catapult them beyond their current stage, you gain footing as an up-and-coming expert in the field and someone to look for.
In addition to advocating for others, it’s important to advocate for yourself. This may seem counterintuitive for those in the field of helping others but great ideas – and great leaders – work hard to demonstrate to the world that they are someone worth listening to. Don’t be afraid to promote yourself.
Become a Social Media Expert
This should be the first step for anyone seeking to build their presence in any field of expertise. However, having a Facebook or LinkedIn account is not enough. Each social media platform has a different set of offerings to different demographics. LinkedIn, for example, is considered a portal for many professional-level experts to share their knowledge and insights among other professionals. However, Instagram is more in alignment with those who wish to share their creative sides, while YouTube gives you the opportunity to speak directly about the things you are passionate about. Each of these platforms provide a variety of ways to get your name out there and get you the recognition you are seeking by establishing you as an expert in your industry. You can also join different groups and discussion boards that specialize in reaching the people who share your passion. Be sure to learn as much as you can about the best things you can do (as well as mistakes to avoid) to elevate your online presence.
Develop Trustworthy Allies
We don’t mean to imply secret meetings and handshakes; Rather, build on existing relationships and create new ones with people who appreciate and honor your knowledge. Allies are friends who will encourage you to continue growing and sharing your expertise. They are also the ones who will point others in your direction as someone to seek more information.
Showcase What You Know
Many people are afraid that their breakthrough ideas or unique insights might be hijacked by someone with a more recognizable name, but once you’ve established yourself on all of the appropriate social media channels and among colleagues and friends, don’t be afraid of demonstrating your knowledge. Imagine how many talented singers and actors are out there, unrealized because they were intimidated. Unless these performers get lucky, the ones who never gave up and continued to showcase their talents ultimately ended up on the Red Carpet. The same goes for professional reputations: Never hide your ingenuity and innovation. Let everyone see that you are an invaluable source of information through writing, publishing or speaking on the materials that you know.
Keep on Top of New Industry Developments and Topics
An expert in their field never lets new things pass them by. Subscribe to newsletters; read research papers; join clubs and discussions; mingle with other experts in your field; sign up for email alerts. These are just a few ways to stay informed about industry trends and arm yourself with more information. It’s an easy thing to do when you’re passionate about your field and it also serves the purpose of keeping that passion alive.
Have an Opinion
Weighing in on topics relative to your area of expertise can sometimes seem counterintuitive. Nobody likes to have an unpopular opinion and putting an opinion “out there” poses the risk of striking the wrong chord in others. However, when you’re able to accurately back up your opinions with facts, research, and knowledge, chances are those who read it will be either challenged or rewarded. Either way, you establish yourself further as an expert with qualified opinions that matter. This also creates a level of trust among those who follow you because you’re staying true to the things you know best.
Participate in Active Discussions
Attend industry-specific events like symposiums, workshops, or conferences to take part in discussions. You can also reach out to upcoming event-coordinators to ask about speaking at these events where other experts in your field can hear what you have to say.
Augment your area of expertise with additional learning that further supports your existing wheelhouse. Stay hungry for the things that strengthen your positions and opinions and allow you to expound when presented with challenging scenarios.
Keep a Positive Attitude
Every successful professional has had setbacks, but we can take those setbacks and turn them into lessons, rather than allowing them to deflate our ambitions. This is particularly true when it comes to life science professionals whose careers are centered around making the world a better place for everyone. Staying flexible means taking a positive mindset and applying it to the things you explore and experience.
It can be tempting to hold your knowledge close to your vest until you have a “breakthrough moment” but the truth is, it’s more effective to start working now to establish yourself as the go-to person for the things you know. Don’t underestimate your knowledge or the things you have to offer in your field. Go out and grab your place in the arena and the next thing you know, your name will be on the top of the Google search page results.