How to be the go-to gal at work

How to be the go-to gal at work

How to be the go-to gal at work

//Photo Courtesy: wisdomtimes.com//

I was interviewing with a potential client a few weeks ago and one of the questions they asked was how I stay up-to-date with social media trends and industry news? Basically, they wanted to know if my social media strategies were relevant. They wanted to be sure I was maintaining a certain level of expertise in my given field.

I thought to myself in that moment: Damn, that’s a really a good question. 

And naturally, a really good blog post.

A few years into your career you develop expertise. The problem is industries constantly change, evolve, and innovate. So in order to be considered an expert and remain competitive, you also must change, evolve, and innovate.

Easier said than done right?

Maintaining that “go-to gal” role is something I’ve found particularly challenging since graduating college. Long gone are the days where classes are slotted into my schedule and professors are available to lecture me on everything I needed to know. Now, everything I need to know I have to find myself. Part of me misses the scheduled learning because frankly, remaining an expert in my industry is A LOT of work.

But I never thought about what exactly I did to stay relevant until this client asked. I realized this information could be useful to any young professional and budding expert. So here’s to making you look and sound like the boss you are.

Check out my tips for staying on top of your industry’s trends and ultimately being the go-to gal at your company:

1. Sign Up for Google Alerts

I’ll admit have a love/hate relationship with Google Alerts. I hate waking up to a hundred emails, but a crowded inbox is worth the convenience of knowing what my industry is talking about, the moment they’re talking about it. To eliminate the clutter, be specific with keyword/topic choices when you subscribe. For instance I receive updates that fall into the “social media marketing” category AND the “women in tech” category. Stay on top of theses news updates by dedicating the first 20 minutes of your day to browsing your Google Alert emails.

2. Force Yourself to Write

A few jobs ago, I wrote for my company’s blog. I originally volunteered because I saw it as an opportunity to prove I was a go-getter to my superiors (insider tip – it worked!). However I quickly realized writing my one blog post a month forced me to stay up-to-date with trends in my company’s industry. Odds are your company has some type of thought-leadership blog or publication. Offer to be a contributor and commit to writing at least once a month. If your company doesn’t have a blog, LinkedIn now allows anyone with an account to publish an influencer post. Consider self-publishing a piece of writing on LinkedIn’s Pulse platform at least once a month. Trust me, being published somewhere is not only bad ass, it helps build your subject matter expertise.

3. Attend a Conference (extra credit: have your company pick up the tab!)

This is about as close as you get to going back to college. Without the beer pong. Most of the time.

Attending industry conferences, panels, and workshops are incredible ways to get go-to gal status at your company. In my experience, those events help advance my expertise, network with industry influencers, and most importantly, gain some serious street cred. Conferences can get expensive, so make an argument to your boss about the company sending you. Sweeten the deal by promising to present a post-conference recap to your team (ma-hay-jor go-to gal points!). If your budget is non-existent, first visit meetup.com, and seek out smaller workshop events or panels. Many Meetup events are industry-specific, feature great speakers, and are often either free or very affordable.

If you’re interested in attending a larger conference Here’s a great resource for looking up industry events this year: The Ultimate Calendar of Marketing, Sales and Tech Conferences of 2015

4. Join a Social Media Group

The use of social media groups as a tool for professionals is a fairly new, but very effective, phenomenon. This past year I’ve joined a few select invite-only Facebook Groups and I’ll admit, I’m a little obsessed. These Groups are specifically designed for individuals in my industry to communicate with one another, ask and answer questions, post interesting articles, offer feedback, or even share events and job listings. I often pick up on new interesting tid bits by just reading through a few discussion posts between Group members. Other times, I’ll actually post a question about a project I’m working on and wait for the feedback to flood in (and believe me it does!). And since you already spend a lot of time on social media, these virtual discussion boards make it easy to keep up with work and Facebook stalk your tinder date at the same time.

5. Find Your Own Go-To Gal

The smartest thing you can do is surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. You know how it’s typical for therapists to have a therapist? So as a go-to gal, wouldn’t you say it’s appropriate to have your own industry expert?  My go-to gal is someone to bounce ideas off of, call up for advice, and go to networking events with. She’s my resource for anything and everything related to my industry, and I’ve often found myself quoting her in company meetings.

So how do you find this magical person? Your mentors are a great place to start. An old supervisor or professor can also serve as a good resource. Think about someone you admire in your industry that you have access to. Offer to buy them coffee or lunch in exchange for picking their brain on a topic. Believe me, they’ll be flattered!

 

To all my go-to gals out there – what are your strategies for staying in-the-know? 

 

3 Comments

  • The Rational Rebel

    This is very true and very relevant stuff. I’ve discovered the magic of having my own go-to-gal just recently, and now, I must admit, I’d never give it up.
    Great advice! Thanks, Meredith!

  • 3 Things the Kardashian Apps Taught Me About Personal Branding | Job Offers & Bad Boyfriends
    September 16, 2015 - 3:29 pm
  • Little Blog Book (v.2): Building Your Blogger Power Team
    October 2, 2015 - 6:11 am

LEAVE A COMMENT