Many professionals fear May because it is college commencement month. There is a slew of newly minted degreed professionals who will work for less money. Don’t view this as a bad thing. View yourself as an expert and the marketplace always pays experts more than beginners. Take May and turn this month on its ears by positioning yourself as an expert.
Conduct a skills inventory
This is a skills assessment. This is the first step of the process. Before you position yourself as an expert, you must know what you can do. Write down what you can do not what you are good at (yet). Just scribble down what you can do at work. Also include your hobbies. If you are the head of your Girl Scouts troop then write down that you possess leadership and child development skills. Make this an exhaustive list because you don’t know what you are good at. Too often we restrict our talents and skills to our job. Here list everything.
Determine what you are good at
Now whittle down that exhaustive list into three categories: low medium and high. These categories are for how well you perform each skill. If you are not very good at it, rate it as low. If you are good at it but not an expert, rate it as medium. However, if you can do it in your sleep, rate this as high. When you’re done, you’ve categorized all of the skills on your list.
Focus on the Skills on Your High List
This list contains the skills that you will use towards becoming an expert. These are the skills that separate you from everyone else. This list serves as the foundation to build your competitive advantage. Your competitive advantage is the one thing that you can do better than anyone else. This advantage is how you position yourself in the market. It is also how you overcome the dredge of new college graduates entering the market. They don’t have your skills, wisdom and experience.
Furthermore, your competitive advantage separates you from your contemporaries too. Those professionals whom have your skills, education, and years of experience don’t have the same comparative advantage. I think that many older professionals only view the new graduates as competition but the person next to you is your competitor. Yet, he probably does not have your competitive advantage because there is something that you can do better than he can do.
Communicate Your Comparative Advantage
This is the final but critical step towards becoming an expert. People must know what you can do. There are plenty of highly skilled people whom don’t promote themselves in the marketplace. No one will know if you don’t communicate this to them. You can communicate this through speaking and giving presentations. I know that more people fear public speaking than death. Let me put a spin on this : when you speak, you are communicating your proficiency. Don’t fear transmitting your expertise to people. Embrace it because someone needs and if you are really good, will pay for it. You can also write and mentor other people. These are two other communication methods. Regardless of the means that you use, get your message out there so that someone will notice. Communicating your comparative advantage sends a signal out to the marketplace that you have overcome fear of public speaking and the unknown to emerge as an expert.
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