What might one do to replace or otherwise act as a surrogate to a formal education?
I think his hands-on experience is fantastic. But to demonstrate subject matter expertise, here are a few things that I can think of.
- Use social media listening to find blogs and podcasts and slide decks on the topic/career; consume a lot.
- Skip the radio on the AM commute, and listen to these podcasts. Bonus: use the 1.5x play feature to get through content faster (ergo, more) while still understanding it.
- Move .pdfs of slide decks or blog posts to your Kindle or Kindle-friendly device and read at the gym (skip the trashy magazines).
- Find interesting people to follow on Twitter who talk about this and look for links and start a conversation (in the latter link, I used ‘golf’ as an example; change it out to whatever you want).
- Use a site like boardreader to troll discussion boards to learn a lot. In time, contribute back. Establish yourself as an expert.
- If you’re looking squarely in the B2B world, then LinkedIn Answers is a better bet – this is because your LinkedIn profile (and all that goes with it) is attached to each answer you add.
Now that you know your content (even better than before), share it. Start creating.
- Create a free SlideShare account. This can hold not only slides, but also .pdfs and videos. You can also add a talk track to slides and create a webinar-on-demand.
- Create a YouTube channel. Use this for short clips of you showcasing your talent – it could be live (whatever it is that you do), an interview with someone in the field, or anything else visually compelling.
- Camera shy? Consider using CinchCast or Soundcloud to embed audio files. Same idea, different medium.
- Start a blog. This is your content hub. The beauty of both SlideShare and YouTube is that you can host content in those places, then grab an embed code and place it into a blog post. Now, write a few sentences around your content to set it up, give it context, and some SEO juice, and then let the rich media do the talking.
- Actually write on your blog. This is akin to submitting a writing sample for university/college. You needed to demonstrate that you have a brain, can wave together thoughts, and can articulate a point. In that case, a handful of admissions folks could read it. In this case, the world can read it.
- Got a good chunk of stuff to write? Make an ebook. Then host it on SlideShare.
- Go network face-to-face. Use sites like eventful or Eventbrite to search for events on a topic and meet people.
This isn’t necessarily fast or easy. Then again, completely changing careers isn’t often easy. But it directly addresses the “I don’t know where to start” question that plagues some people. In this day and age, where anyone can publish, find, and get found, you just need to rise above the rest. And you can start by demonstrating your expertise.
image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/danimal0416/3309264154/
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