Using Thought Leadership Instead of Your CV

Many people say my program is all about advanced techniques for senior executives only. That is not true. Entry-level candidates can do the same thing. I had one candidate who was working in the automotive business as a customer service engineer. He was in his early twenties and was in an entry-level position in the company. His salary was so low he could not live on it. He came and asked me for help, and I obliged. To protect his identity, let’s call him “John Smith.”

John told me he wanted to change industries and go into heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) sales. Since he was an engineer and HVAC sales is very technical, it was something he was naturally suited for. Unfortunately, he had no sales experience and no HVAC experience. His only experience was three years of automotive service. His CV was not even going to get him a meeting.

We went to work to create a thought-leadership piece for John. He started by doing some research and identified the top 25 HVAC companies in the UAE. He then dug deeper and identified the sales managers for the top three companies and interviewed them to discover what, in their expert opinion, the most important “dos and don’ts” of HVAC sales are. He then compiled their answers into a short, 1,500-word white paper entitled “The Three Dos and Don’ts of HVAC Sales.” Once that was done, he hired a graphic designer for $136 to lay it out and put his picture on the cover just as any famous author would.

John then emailed his white paper to the sales managers of the top 25 companies, and every single one responded. He got several job offers in less than 90 days, and in less than 24 months he increased his salary by 400%. This is a true story, and this process will work for anyone.

The bedrock of this process lies in your intellectual curiosity, and this includes reading the latest books about your profession, talking to the industry leaders, attending trade shows and events, and, of course, putting these strategies to work in your day-to-day work.

In addition to emailing your white paper to your intended audience (i.e. your potential boss), you absolutely must also post it on professionally acceptable social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and SlideShare to name just a few, or even on your own blog to magnify the level of visibility you bring to your skills and experiences. It is a fact that almost every client I have had in the past five years has Googled the finalist candidates for any senior job.

You need to have a robust, professional, digital footprint. Creating articles and white papers, or even videos, about the current state of your industry, its future, and the latest trends will not just serve you well, but, and I am sure of this, will soon be a mandatory part of career management.

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