Being an influencer is a unique career path because it has the ability to catapult you into massive amounts of money and recognition that most people could only ever dream of.
On the flip side, it doesn’t necessarily require you to be extremely beautiful, rich, or superbly talented to get ahead—it’s pretty much doable for anybody with a solid idea and some dedication to building and catering to their chosen audience.
But not all of us want to do that. Some of us are shy or introverted and can’t stand the thought of thousands of eyes being on our every move; Others don’t see being an influencer as a valuable or meaningful contribution to the world.
And then there are the people who ended up clicking on this post. They don’t really want to be an influencer because they favor a more traditional career path (like a nurse, social worker, or teacher), or have no issue working their 9-5.
However, they don’t deny that the advantages that come with the lifestyle are pretty sweet, and wouldn’t mind having some of those benefits for themselves. If that’s you, you’re in the right place! Here are three strategies to help you out.
Showcase your work like an influencer would.
Influencers love to be seen and heard. I mean, after all, it is their livelihood. If they have something to say, you’ll get a video or whole podcast on the topic. If they have work to show off, you won’t be able to look through their social media without seeing some type of picture or post about it.
So why not do the same? You don’t have to dedicate your entire online presence to what you do, but it would be helpful to have a reference point for your work. All you have to do is think of it as an interactive resume or portfolio, and then it’ll start to make sense to you.
For example, let’s say you want to be a teacher. Why not host a video series or podcast showing off your teaching skills? Pick a topic you know well, give a quick, well-rounded lecture, and post it on your own personal, professional website? Or maybe you want to be a chef. Applying to a job with a resume that details all of your experience is ideal, but why not build a portfolio showcasing unique recipes and pictures of your best meals?
Your options are endless! And if you’re not sure where to start, there are tons of incredibly talented influencers out there to pull inspiration from. Pick one, two, or even three ideas you really like and test them out before you jump in with both feet.
Instead of creating your own platform, align yourself with communities and brands that are already established.
Influencers typically have their own accounts to post freely on. But a lot of them post in alignment with the brands they hope to attract. The natural hair girlies will post a bomb wash and go, and then BOOM—all of a sudden they have a sponsorship from the company whose products they used.
Of course they got the partnership opportunity because they made both the product and company look great with their positive content, but they couldn’t have done it without first knowing how to move with a great deal of intention.
Why not try something similar? Now, you’re not an influencer, so you don’t have the audience to regularly do sponsored content for big brands or anything like that. But you do have a unique background and a special set of professional skills and abilities that would appeal to your intended target audience—which is, the people that would help you land better career opportunities.
Let’s say you’d like a position at a major establishment, but because so many qualified people (yourself included!) apply to that exact position, you already know it would be hard to get your foot in the door. However, you also know that this establishment is big on social responsibility and often hosts community events in your area. But unlike everyone else, this seemingly irrelevant piece of information is going to help you get the job.
You know that a good way to stand out would be to volunteer your time or services for one of the company’s community events, as a way to 1) better align yourself with company values and 2) get an opportunity to rub elbows with leaders and other key figures of the company. Just like an influencer, you’d be strategically placing yourself in the right place, at the right time, with the right people.
Find a need within your current company, develop a plan or strategy for the solution, and pitch it to the right people.
Have you ever heard of something called employee value proposition? In basic terms, it’s the rewards and benefits an employee receives for a job well done. And if you work at a company that really values its employees, your hard work and effort is likely met with a bonus, raise, or promotion.
Oftentimes, being a standout employee requires that you go beyond what’s expected of you. This could mean working extra hours, being extra friendly with your boss, or bringing the best dish to the office potluck. But more often than not, going “above and beyond” really means creating a winning solution for a long-standing problem within your department or the company as a whole.
It may sound like a lot of work, but influencers do it all the time. The identify a brand need, craft the perfect strategy for it, and then pitch it. If the pitch is well-done with a budget, deadline, and all the works, the company will move forward with it and both sides reap tons of benefits.
Don’t be afraid to do the exact same thing at your current job! Get in there, craft a winning strategy, and find a way to pitch it to your boss (or your boss’ boss!)—and don’t forget to put your name all over it! After all, you are the influencer of the office.