When the word “expert” hits your ears, what images come to mind? A wizened man with salt-and-pepper hair in a tweed jacket? A scholarly woman sporting a bun and librarian glasses? How about a guy in a cheap sweater, Lucky jeans, and low-top suede Wallabees? If you didn’t imagine the last person, I don’t blame; I wouldn’t have envisioned him either—and that guy is me.
Recently, I decided to do my yearly LinkedIn profile update. It’s an annual task that I adopted after reading Jill Duffy’s “Get Organized: 5 Tips for Getting the Most from LinkedIn.” The helpful suggestions helped me tighten and strengthen my LinkedIn page, but there was one tip that I didn’t use until very recently that proved very valuable: think in keywords. Long story short, I tweaked my professional title into one that’s more SEO-friendly, so that it would catch the eye of people searching LinkedIn for, say, “tech editor.” And it’s worked!
High-profile news publications, freelance writers, college kids writing theses, and podcast hosts have asked me to drop knowledge in the last few weeks. It’s been an empowering experience. Although I’ve written about technology for a decade, I saw myself as an editor with valuable thoughts and analysis, but not necessarily an “expert.” That is until someone on the other end of the phone actually referred to me as such.
It legitimately surprised me. No false humbleness, here. It later dawned on me that by having so many friends and acquaintances working in the technology and/or video game fields, I’ve lost touch with the fact that not everyone knows—or cares to know—the PlayStation’s role in elevating video games a mainstream, billion dollar industry. Or the best Web hosting services for companies on a budget. That realization played an important role in how I view myself in terms of career goals. That realization also helped me identify the required steps that are needed to walk toward expertise.
- You must have a high level of knowledge in a particular area
- You must have a few years under your belt; people seek veterans for knowledge
- You must have the ability to explain a topic in everything language to someone who’s unfamiliar with it
And that’s about it. I think. There’s a very good chance that I may have overlooked an essential tip, but I never claimed to be an expert about experts.
Image courtesy of ReliableSoft.