Career Management Means Become a SME

career managementWant to get to the “head of the class” at the office? People practicing good career management know that this means becoming a SME (subject matter expert).

No, I didn’t say “become a smarty pants”… that’s different. 🙂

Being a subject matter expert can help you gain a competitive edge among your office peers, and also position yourself as a knowledgeable resource helping to guide your company to the next level.

And serve to boost your image and be considered promotable, or at the very least, indispensable.

While there is no guarantee for job security, the more you can do to provide expertise and leadership to the organization will offer you better protection from any future downsizing.

So how to become a subject matter expert and practice smart career management?

Here are some ways to achieve best practices in career management that establishes you as a SME:

  1. Sign up for classes, training, workshops, and seminars.  Understand where you need to update skills, or could benefit from thought leadership.
  2. Take on stretch assignments. Take on more stuff to grow your skill sets and knowledge to help build your career management tools.
  3. Go to industry conferences. This is the gold mine of information can be found through the people that attend as well as the presenters.
  4. Identify where your biggest skill gaps are and fill them.  Having a skill gap is like having an Achilles heel… make sure you protect yourself and fill in the holes.
  5. Get certified by industry organizations. Industry-generated certifications carry weight with employers as it represents specific learning tied to on-the-job performance.
  6. Up your education with a degree.   Employers do value formal schooling, so gaining a degree or advanced degree can make a difference.
  7. Push the envelope by keeping up with thought leaders.  Understand what’s going on or what is coming down the pipeline, as well as the implications it could have on your company or industry.
  8. Ask to be mentored. Most people are generous “givers” who, when asked the right way, are more than willing to mentor up-and-coming talent.  Know who to ask and how!
  9. Be well-read through industry publications.  Being aware of current conditions, breaking news, and industry shifts all are things that can add to your overall body of knowledge.
  10. Volunteer for cross-functional training. Knowing how to do more than just your job can add to the depth of your skill sets.

By becoming an employee who continues to provide valued contributions to the company, you are helping the business and building up your reputation as trusted resource. And you are engaging in smart career management.

And that’s what helps people get and stay hired.