I was going to title this post “Where is Your Body of Work? – A Lesson From the Book Linchpin”, but I figured the title I went with would get more clicks in this click-bait-type world we live in nowadays.
This post has zero against the older generation or “experienced professionals”. It is actually a tip of the hat to them for putting themselves out there.
The post is focused on the lack younger professionals creating content and sharing ideas. (That being said, if you are not putting yourself out there as an older more experienced professional then this post is for you too!)
I have been thinking about this idea for the last few weeks and it has bugged me enough to sit down and write about it at 9:43 PM on a Saturday. A driving factor of why this idea has been on my mind was a couple paragraphs I recently read in the book Linchpin by Seth Godin.
Getting the Chance at Linchpin Opportunities
On page 78 of Linchpin, Godin wrote two paragraphs that really resonated with me:
“If you want a job where you are treated as indispensable, given massive amounts of responsibility and freedom, expected to expend emotional labor, and rewarded for being a human, not a cog in a machine, then please don’t work hard to fit into the square-peg job you found on Craigslist.
If you need to conceal your true nature to get into the door, understand that you’ll probably have to conceal your true nature to keep that job. This is the one and only decision you get to make. You get to choose. You can work for a company that wants indispensable people, or you can work for a company that works to avoid them.”
To get one of these awesome opportunities Godin talks about, you need more than just a degree, certifications, or a killer resume. You need a body of work that shows your mindset, expertise, experience, interests, etc. and you must create it BEFORE you actually need to rely on it.
When you start building a body of work you begin to attract people and opportunities into your life that would have never had occurred if you did not take the initiative to put yourself out there. You will also be scaring away some opportunities that you do not want. It is a win/win for you and the prospective employer when that happens.
Since I started my website www.safetytalkideas.com two years ago I have had the chance to meet and form relationships with many people that I have never would have if I did not start the site.
I have even had multiple job offers from just the fact that I had created a platform. One such opportunity was pretty far outside what I currently do for work, but since I had a body of work (my site/ posts on LinkedIn) they reached out to me.
I had a discussion with them regarding the opportunity and found that I had many similar thought processes and interests as the individual who reached out to me. The discussion went well and as I was leaving I asked “Do you want a copy of my resume?” and the individual said “Yeah I guess, the CEO and shareholders may want to review it”.
That is the goal- a body of work that gets your past mundane 47-page online job application and the robot that screens and rejects your resume based on a few keywords.
Start Building Your Body of Work
I am not saying all of this to toot my own horn, I just want to reinforce the idea of why you need your own body of work! I know I am not the smartest person in health and safety (not even close- I have so much to learn), or the best writer, or even close to the greatest of bloggers, but I put myself out there anyways. And you should too.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself to get a starting point to begin to build your body of work:
- What do I know more about than someone who is just starting out?
- What questions do I have answers to, but not much content is out there right now about it?
- What am I interested in and want to share with others?
- What medium am I most interested in using to share ideas? (writing, making videos, podcasting, graphic design, etc.)
- Where does my audience hangout?
- What do I want a hiring manager to find when they Google my name?
Once you figure out the answers to some of these questions begin to create! It does not have to be perfect. And it won’t be, but that is okay.
To Wrap it Up
Putting yourself out there is scary. Especially if you are younger or less experienced than others in your field who are creating content. It takes courage, but it will pay off. Start small, build over time.
Below is a screenshot I took of a message Canva gave me when I was creating the image for this post. Fitting isn’t it?