Career Management: How to Become a Thought Leader in Your Industry

Why is it important for you to care about creating mini-celebrity status and becoming a thought leader when it comes to your career? Simply because self-marketing in your area of expertise can have multiple career benefits for you including:

  1. Potential exposure to future “dream” positions – they contact YOU!
  2. More quality opportunities, better pay and quicker promotions.
  3. Establishment as an expert in your industry.
  4. Wider networks.
  5. Greater ability to garner positive references and testimonials.
  6. More control over who you work with and how you work.

Different benefits will stand out as meaningful to different people. The real point is, managing your career gives you options… options you may not have had otherwise.

So where do you start? Here are three quick and easy tips:

Tip #1: Get a Platform

The best platforms to establish thought leadership include associations, trade journals, and conferences. One of the most powerful online platforms is LinkedIn. When using LinkedIn, you can start by posting activity broadcasts, either directing readers to an article you wrote, a blog post you wrote for LinkedIn, or citing an article you like via major media. To detail, have you read an insightful industry article in Forbes that you agree with? Did you recently attend—or even better—speak at an industry conference? Attend or help lead a community event? Why not share that as an update? Remember to keep it all business! This is an excellent way to solidify your brand and thought leadership within your network.

Here is another way to get started: Why not get involved in your industries association and ask them if you can volunteer to write short articles for their blogs and/or newsletters on topics you are knowledgeable and passionate about (i.e. that you want to be KNOWN for)? Associations are ALWAYS looking for content for their newsletters/ezines and blogs. You can position yourself as a thought leader in your industry quickly this way! Years ago, I began writing short articles for Career Directors International on job search cold calling, and those articles led to my being published in The Business Journal, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and MSN.

Tip #2: Rub Shoulders with High Performers in Your Industry

Get involved in a corporate volunteer group or industry association. These are two wonderful portals filled with people that care deeply about industries and issues – just like you! Not only will this broaden your networking circle, but it will keep you growing in your career!

And remember, if you attend an industry luncheon to listen to a great speaker, introduce yourself to him or her after their presentation. Give them your business card as well – and gulp – ask for theirs! It’s the little things you do as you “put yourself out there” to be open to new opportunities, friendships and possibilities that will pay off in the long run.

Tip #3: Grow Your Knowledge Base

What was the last certification you received? How about ongoing training? I recommend making sure that each year you commit to 2-3 actions that result in your learning a new tool for your trade. To make sure you will be motivated to do this, make it that one training, certification or learning experience that has been in the back of your mind to master – you know the one I’m talking about! Check with your employer’s ongoing education benefits to find out if your training might be a covered expense.

Establishing mini celebrity status doesn’t mean you have a gigantic ego. It’s simply a wise business move that opens doors of possibility for you. You will be amazed how putting these simple tips into action will quickly change up your career status!

A Saratoga Institute survey of more than 1,000 U.S. workers asked employees to identify factors that would make them more likely to remain with their current employers. The top three responses were:

  • Training and mentoring
  • Earnings potential
  • Positive work relations

If you love your job and your company but there are management issues that bring you down, consider sending your human resources or operations director a complimentary copy of the “manageBetter Insider.” This little newsletter is packed with positive tips and tactics that the best companies in the U.S use to keep their employees happy. I personally love it and would recommend it to any company. Check out and sign up.

Mary Elizabeth Bradford is the Founder and Executive Director of and and a past executive recruiter. A thought leader in the career services industry for over 20 years, she holds 5 distinct advanced certifications for senior-level resume writing, online branding and executive-level job search coaching (CERM, CMRW, CARW, MCD, NCOPE). She has been seen and heard in major media including Forbes, Time, WSJ, Newsweek and NBC affiliate stations. She holds 2 CDI TORI awards and is a top tier judge for the elite CDI TORI awards for four consecutive years. Mary Elizabeth Bradford’s elite team of award-winning, certified, top executive resume writers, former top executive recruiters, and global HR executives help many of the world’s premier C-suite, board members and thought leaders secure the transitions and compensation packages they want. She works with clients all over the globe.

If you are a Director, VP, CxO, or Board Member interested in an executive resume package or working directly with Mary Elizabeth, click to schedule a complimentary 15-minute call.