In everybody’s life it can happen that one find themselves in a dead end from where they can’t seem to advance to other positions. This can have many reasons to be honest.
It could be because your line manager is allergic to giving away too much power to others or being afraid he or she could be replaced. It could be that you maneuvered yourself into a position that later showed up to have no natural path up from where you are. It could be for many other reasons on top of that really – may it be your lack of planning or the result of external factors.
The reason for being in such a position is however not essential right now. We are looking for alternative ways to traditional promotions to advance your career in a way that really anybody and everybody can do. In a way that does not cost you a dime but your time and in a way familiar to you – with social media.
In my example we will accompany a person who is employed as a sales clerk for a consumer electronic retail store. The gender and age are irrelevant for the approach. That person likes the job, the environment, the customer interaction and could build up a rare substantial knowledge of the merchandise and is able to identify trends as well as communicate a personal opinion in a constructive way.
So after a couple of years doing a good job that person feels stuck. Requests for promotions and additional responsibilities have been rejected and the psychological contract has been broken. There is no more perspective as they say. You think that’s small time? No you’re awesome and you know the show best. Shout it into the world.
Creating New Perspective
So what can one do in such a position? What usually happens is that this person, even though it’s an A performer, will either quit and pursue other challenges or will try to keep their work and eventually lose the passion for the job somewhere on the way into the future.
Now what could social media do to help? Well, this is not a magical solution and it certainly requires your time and energy to work out but it can be done. Whether you invest five minutes a day or hours, the key is to keep doing what you do and increase the quality on the way. You just got to start somewhere.
What to do?
Let’s have a look at Twitter for example. If you already have an account you don’t need to necessarily create a new one just for professional purposes but that is up to you. You don’t have to cease personal activities but you should be a little bit more mindful on what you do there.
Amend your description about yourself (also known as “bio”) a little bit to reflect both the field you work in and your interests. This is necessary to define your “niche” and the sphere that you want to be known to be a specialist for. Your handle does not have to be your real name and the profile image does not have to be a photo of you – however it can potentially help you with your goals and is recommended.
Of course you can carry this out on other social media platforms as well. But Twitter might be the best to start with.
So what do you do on social media now to aid your career? Here are some actionable points. Do all of these frequently:
- Post industry and niche related news
- Share your thoughts and opinions
- Drop your insight on products and services
- Search for people in your niche and engage with them
- Give feedback to companies on social media
If you feel like you have no time for doing something like this frequently I can reassure you that it is not all that bad. You can use the lunch and smoking breaks do quickly check your social networks via app on your smartphone and yes, even if you don’t smoke it’s okay to have a 5 minute break here and there. You know your working environment better than I do so, I’m sure you find an acceptable way without stealing time from your day job. Are you commuting with public transportation? Many people do and many people spend more than two hours every day on their way to and back from work.
All this is time to use on your social networking apps. Beyond that you can invest any time you have and want to invest of your spare time. At a certain point in time you will have created relationships and will have conversations that you enjoy as well there. So it can quickly become a “fun thing to do” and feels less and less like work.
If you carry this out you will be soon known as industry influencer in your niche. Maybe you get invited to events first in the virtual world and later in the real world because people are interested in your opinion and so are any organisations in the same sphere. Next thing you can build a blog to promote your complex and valuable thoughts on a platform that allows you more than 140 characters to express yourself. This is highly optional but it doesn’t hurt.
So how can all this be possibly leading to you advance your career? It can be that you will receive job offers that are in the realm of marketing within your industry – it can even be that your own company that you are employed with, suggests you to transfer into such positions. You might think that these are thin chances for all the effort but actually there is a good chance for progress. The more people you talk to and the more experiences you share with your industry, the higher are the chances on the invested effort to yield great results. I need to also re-emphasize that this is potentially applicable for all industries and all positions. This is not limited to technology related jobs but for pretty much everything out there.
The Happy End
So what happened to our example? Our candidate downloaded Twitter and made a quick profile and started posting a tweet here and there related to new products that arrived for sales in the consumer electronic retail store. Over time the profile was improved, the quality of tweets increased, other users where engaged and own content was also engaged with and shared. Whenever there was a cool new product, photos where tweeted and the manufacturer was mentioned and they recognized the contribution and thanked for the promotion.
A little later he was in contact with the marketing department of his own company asking him to align his contributions with their own social media marketing strategy and that was a good thing so there is a learning experience on how to get more out of the invested effort personally for him and holistically for the marketing of the retailer.
About a year later a position was created in the consumer electronic retailer’s social media marketing department and our candidate accepted the offering. Shortly after even became the team lead and a new perspective has spawned on the way to the Chief Marketing Officer of this organisation or maybe another in the future.
6 Things I Wish I’d Known About Twitter Before I Started Tweeting (Diana Adams on Twitter)
Are You a Social Media Jack of All Trades, but Master of None? (Jason Eng on Twitter)
The Key Is in the Journey: The ROI on Social Media (Ann Tran on Twitter)