One of the questions I get asked most by employees, coaching clients and blog subscribers is ...
"What tools do you use to advance your career?"
I get asked this question so often that I decided to build a page dedicated just to my favorite tools. These are products and sites and resources that I use on a daily basis to help me build my professional brand, demonstrate my expertise, and expand my knowledge and experience.
Most of us are way too passive when it comes to developing our careers. The most successful people I know are constantly looking for ways to develop and grow and demonstrate their professional expertise. And when I think back to how I went from Junior Associate to Senior Vice President ... many of these techniques and tools played a critical role.
Full transparency - some of the links below are affiliate links which means I get a couple bucks if you click on them and buy the product or service - but it doesn't cost you anything extra and in many cases it will get you a better discount from using my link. You should know, I would never promote a product that I don't actually use or believe in. These are the actual products I use and depend on every day.
Here are some of the techniques that helped me go from Junior Associate to Senior Vice President:
Start a Professional Blog
I can't overstate the importance of starting a professional blog no matter what it is you do. Its 2017, and the value of expertise and personal brand is higher than its ever been. A big reason I've gotten my last two jobs was that my prospective employers visited my blog and could see I was a true expert in my field. This can mean the difference between landing your dream job and not. Even if you're at the beginning stages of your career, trust me ... start blogging about it. You'll be shocked at how quickly you can get a following and start building up a strong professional brand. I try to write one new blog a week but even if you only have time to write one blog a month, I promise it will pay off for you in the long run. A blog is a public demonstration of your expertise and will set you apart in your profession.
I love Blue Host for blog hosting. They have the best service in the industry with some of the friendliest people you're ever going to meet. They've got all the features you need, the product is extremely easy to use and the price is less than $6.00 a month. Investing $6.00 a month to build your professional brand is a tiny price to pay for the return you're going to see.
Its important to me that my blog looks professional. For me that means I need it to look like its professionally designed. Banners, logos, emails. But I'm not a designer. I also don't have a ton of cash sitting around to invest in high cost graphic design services or marketing agencies. I need great designs from time to time but I need it to be easy and affordable.
I love 99 Designs because its fast and professional and affordable. You tell them what you want designed and you instantly start getting design concepts sent to you. You'll be shocked at how easy and how good the quality is.
Build a Social Media Presence
One of the first things I do these days when i'm interviewing prospective candidates is to check them out on social media. Most people don't have much of a presence. Even managers and senior executives generally lack a professional brand on social media. This is a mistake. One of the best things I ever did for my career was to invest a tiny bit of money and time to build out a strong brand on social. I don't have a ton of time to spend on it but that's where my favorite tools come in handy.
I use Social Quant to build up my twitter following. One of the most frustrating things about starting with Twitter is how long it seems to take to get enough followers to actually have it make a difference. Its also a challenge to get the right king of followers - people in your industry, people who are interested in your profession, influencers and thought leaders who can help your career. With Social Quant, you will turbo charge the acquisition of followers -- good followers - not fake bots or spammy followers - i'm talking about legitimate followers interested in what you have to say. I turned on Social Quant and got 200 new followers in the first 10 days and it kept going from there. It takes zero effort from you. I've gone from 300 twitter followers to 6000 in less than a year. I highly recommend using Social Quant to build up a strong social media brand in a fraction of the time you think its going to take.
Become a Recognized Expert
I encourage all my employees and coaching clients to find opportunities to learn and teach. I blog all the time about the value in developing a personal learning program. If you're not constantly learning you're getting outpaced by your competitors. There are only a fixed number of promotions offered every year. Job searches are more competitive than ever. Demonstrating that you're committed to learning can make the difference between winning and losing for you. I can tell you from personal experience, it can make all the difference in the world for your career.
I love Udemy for professional learning. I sign up for courses in the disciplines I care about so I can stay current with the latest methods and perspectives. I also sign up for courses in the areas I'm a little bit weak in so I can develop as an expert in more subjects and professional disciplines. Udemy is as good as it gets. They make it super easy to sign up for courses and they are all top quality. Almost all of my coaching clients use Udemy for their personal learning programs