Using Social and Digital Media to Find a New Career

by Alan Belniak on April 26, 2012 · 4 comments

in business, General, passion

career changes (as seen on http://www.SubjectivelySpeaking.net)
I was talking with a friend recently.  He’s looking to potentially shift careers.  He likes what he does, but there is another career that’s much more interesting for him, but he doesn’t have the schooling to back it up (more on that in a future post).  He does, however, have some practical, hands-on experience… and a lot of it.

 
 
 

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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  • davidmeermanscott

    Alan – these are all great ideas! 

    This technique would work well for big transitions such as from university to the work world or from stay-at-home parent back to full-time work or from work to semi-retirement. 

  • abelniak

    Thanks, David.  There is so much information out there today, and myriad ways to create and publish content.  The biggest two ingredients are probably passion and desire.

  • Stacey

    Great suggestions Alan. It is as though you read my mind. My husband and I had this conversation the other day in regards to his new career. I was providing him some SM suggestions and said you know what Alan could probably give us a bunch of tips. So big thanks!

  • abelniak

    Thanks for the note, Stacey. Twenty years ago, this would have been much harder. But as a career changer myself (twice, actually), I can vouch for the ‘system’.

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