How to raise your external profile

Career development
Sarah Hobbs
By Sarah Hobbs | 10th April 2019

Nothing impresses a manager or department head more than an individual who has a good knowledge of the organisation's external environment. It might be that you have a sound understanding of who the competitors are and their key offerings or that you know what other companies and professional bodies think and are doing in your area of work. Either way, it will make them see you as a high-quality individual.

So, whether you've been given the task of building an external profile outside of the company, or you want to take the initiative in raising your profile both within and outside of your organisation, here's ten steps you can take to build an enviable external profile.

  1. Spend time on it: people don't build these profiles because they say they don't have time. Overcome this challenge by scheduling time into your diary to work on your external profile. If you don't, the chances are you'll never start.
  2. Setup a Google alert: on your company, competitors and keywords in your area of expertise.
  3. Search LinkedIn: for groups to join and then participate in them.
  4. Join your professional body: if there is an active body in your area of work, they make this really easy for you - so enlist! These groups are also a great source of contacts.
  5. Read trade journals and magazines for your industry: many people receive these, but just don't take the time to read them. If you're short on time, do triage. Read through the journal and prioritise the three main articles you want to read. Cut them out or scan them. Seeing less paper will mean you are more likely to see it as an easier job to do.
  6. Find someone who has a great external profile: approach them for a coffee meeting where you can introduce yourself and get advice.
  7. Don't avoid consultants: not all of the time anyway... they often have a great depth of knowledge you can benefit from.
  8. Attend your trade conferences: even a couple of days a year is a great investment which can boost your profile.
  9. Look for some areas that you can research: take the time to do benchmarking exercises that help you get to know other organisations.
  10. Offer to write blogs and articles: this is particularly effective if you're in a large company as your company name will open doors with people you don't know.

Take Away: take whatever steps you need to get started. Once you've built some momentum you'll find it easier to make progress.

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