At the beginning of your career, you practically have to beg for an opportunity to show what you can do. Because you have no experience, no contacts, and no juice. No one looks for a specialist with no experience. A person with no experience and no skills is the easiest thing to find. Which is why no one would watch a show called America’s Got No Talent.
When I first began my career I asked for informational interviews, because there were no job openings for advertising copywriters with no experience. But as I developed my skills and gained knowledge and experience everything changed. I became an increasingly valuable resource to my employers, coworkers, and clients. Suddenly, my time and my attention were in serious demand.
Eventually, my clients encouraged me to start my own business. So I opened the advertising and idea agency The Weaponry. Today, clients, employees, interns, and partners seek us out. Because we add real value to all of those groups.
As you grow and develop, ask yourself if you are becoming sought after. (The FBI’s Most Wanted posters don’t count. But a ‘Yes’ to any of the following questions does.)
Questions To Ask Yourself.
- Do people seek you out?
- Is your time in demand?
- Do people want to get your phone number, email, or social contact info? (Even if it is because you are a hottie with a karate body.)
- Are people trying to hire you?
- Are you approached about consulting or coaching?
- Do you get requests to pick your brain? (I wrote about my dislike for brain-picking here.)
- Does the media ask your perspective?
- Are people willing to pay a premium to work with you?
- Do you have a non-ironic fan club that you didn’t start yourself?
Who is Seeking You Out?
If you are being sought after, ask yourself the next critical question: Who is seeking you out? Do people seek you out who have no other options? Or are they people with means and resources? The more options the people who seek you out have, the more it says about you, your value, and your skills.
Commit to a career of continuous self-improvement. Develop your skills until people come looking for you. Then keep developing your skills until everyone is looking for you. That is the surest sign that you have developed rare and valuable skills. Which gives you maximum control over your career.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.