In honor of Career Month at BBL, important advice from a man who knows a little bit about competitive advantage: Reid Hoffman, the co-founder and chairman of LinkedIn.
Even if you are not looking for a job, follow these invaluable tips, from his book The Start-Up of You, as they will help you adapt to the future, invest in yourself and transform your career.
- Update your profile on LinkedIn so that your summary statement articulates your competitive advantages. You should be able to fill in this sentence: “Because of my [skill/experience/strength], I can do [type of professional work] better than [specific types of other professionals in my industry].”
- How would other professionals you work with fill in the above sentence (i.e., describe your competitive advantage)? If there’s a gap, you either have a self-judgment problem, or a marketing problem.
- Identify three people who are striving toward aspirations similar to your own. Use them as benchmarks. Bookmark their LinkedIn profiles, subscribe to their blogs and tweets.
- Go on LinkedIn or Twitter, search for your employer and other companies you’re interested in, and “follow” each of them. This will make it easier to track the emergence of new opportunities and risks.
- Write down some of your key assets in the context of a market reality. BAD: I excel at public speaking. GOOD: I excel at public speaking on engineering topics, relative to how good most engineers are at public speaking.
- Review your calendar, journals, and old emails and get a sense for how you spent your last six Saturdays. How you spend your free time may reveal your true interests and aspirations; compare them to what you say your aspirations are.
- Think about how you’re currently adding value at work. Think about the things people frequently compliment you on – those may be your strengths.
- Create a soft-asset plan that emphasizes learning about growth markets and growth opportunities.
- Meet with three trusted connections and ask them what they see as your greatest strengths. If they had to come to you for help or advice on one topic, what would it be?
So, Go To It! Follow the above tips to develop a competitive edge in the job market.