I didn’t know these would up-level my career. But they did. You see, a few years ago, my career was in the doldrums. I even went through a season where I probably met the clinical definition for depression. No doctor formally diagnosed me, but based on my educational background, I knew what was happening. I did get counseling that helped.
Almost three years after, I can honestly say I am enjoying where I am in my career and expect to continue to grow even with so much turmoil going on around us. I don’t say this to brag. On the contrary, I am grateful for how these three simple steps taken over time have paved an opportunity-laden path for me. This can happen to you as well even if you only master two out of these three things.
I started a freelance writing business in 2017. When I was laid off from my postdoc in 2018, I ran this business full-time alongside my role as a stay-at-home mother. During this time, I learned how to:
- manage projects
- meet client deadlines
- sell my services
- manage my business finances
- rank client websites on page 1 of Google.
I also had a YouTube channel I posted to weekly. The skills I gathered from running a writing business and YouTube channel helped me land my first full-time role outside academia as a marketing medical writer.
Building a personal brand on LinkedIn
In 2018, someone suggested that I look at LinkedIn to build my personal brand. I am so glad I listened! The way I have done this is to create content on the platform. I started small. I post at least five times a week. The goal was for people to know me for something. And it has paid off in more ways than I can describe. According to this article, only about 1% of LinkedIn’s If you would like a step-by-step guide on using LinkedIn to build a personal brand, check out this course I created.
Building a network
Networking never has to be sleazy. You don’t have to talk with anyone you don’t want to or exchange business cards awkwardly with a stranger. In my case, an interesting side effect of creating content on LinkedIn is that my network has grown organically. People I genuinely like and respect have referred to me opportunities and I have done the same. Remember to:
- Keep it genuine. Be truly interested in others and you will find others being interested in you.
- Don’t start reaching out to people just because you need help. People can smell opportunists from a mile away. Start cultivating meaningful relationships before you need them.
- Start with the people around you. Everybody around you now is a starting place for you to build your network. Graduate students in your cohort, people you meet at conferences, people you meet on LinkedIn. Opportunities abound. Start there.