How can you promote yourself for skills you are good at but lack the credentials?
I have a plethora of skill sets and I have the ability to work at different capacities, but I am having a difficult time marketing my skills to build a portfolio of projects. So how can I attract, pitch, or market my talents?
It's not about the skills you have. It's about the results you create.
Promote your skills by showcasing results you generated because of those skills.
INSTEAD OF SAYING:
I am really good at confronting my fears and taking action in scary situations.
I regularly confront my fears. In fact, last week I walked across hot coals barefoot!
INSTEAD OF SAYING
I am a marketing superstar, who's exceptional at mail chimp, photoshop and design!
I used my marketing skills to generated $5M in warm leads for our salespeople to close.
See the power of results over skills?
I would recommend getting certified in all of your areas of skill. There are many courses that only last 1-2 weeks that you could attend during annual leave or special training leave if the company allows. If you are not working, then nothing to lose and just go for it and get all those certifications and problems solved. Many high end specialist roles require the specialist certification and its so hard to avoid it. I hope this helps, just get inspired and go out and learn, get certified!
It's a long answer, but I hope it helps. I just published my first book. I wrote 70,000 words in 11 days. So, I'm used to writing (probably too much). :)
I think that whenever we are stretching and growing, John Maxwell's Law of Sacrifice from his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, always comes to mind. The Law of Sacrifice: we have to give up to go up. Many people cannot get where they want to go because they are unwilling to truly sacrifice and pay the price. We have to pay up before we can go up.
Sacrifice could mean: working longer hours in order to help out in your areas of interest at your current job, it could mean giving up material things in order to invest in more training and development, it could mean working a second job at a low wage to gain experience and develop a track record, it could mean leaving your current job to start some place else in a lower paying position, and many more examples.
My mentor and one of the world's top motivational speakers, Les Brown says it this way, "If we do what's easy in life, life will be hard. But, if we do what's hard in life, life will be easy." He also says, "It's not that people aim too high and miss, but that they aim too low and hit!"
I would like to illustrate with a personal story. I know a lot about sacrifice. I have lived it, am currently living it, and will probably always be living it. But, I have continuously climbed higher. My background is in manufacturing. I started on the factory floor in 1988 in an entry level position as a machine operator. I sacrificed my money and time to get a 4 year degree (took me 7 years) while work 6-7 days a week 10+ hours a day as a single parent. I worked my way up over 20 years to become a top level manger in of Lean Manufacturing and Quality.
Then, I resigned in 2008 to start my own Lean Manufacturing consulting business. I had no clients and no idea how to start a business or get clients. To do that, I had to give up all my benefits and all of my salary (voluntarily) in the middle of the Great Recession. Nine months later after making $0, I landed a client and more than doubled my previous salary. Four years later it was nearly four times what is was when I resigned. But, I had been reading and growing everyday along the way.
Then, in late 2012, I became a John Maxwell Team Certified Leadership Coach, Trainer, and Speaker which naturally fit with Lean Manufacturing. However, my passion was strong, and I wanted to transition more into Professional Leadership Development training across all industries. So, I continued to invest many thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours into developing myself after letting all of my contracts end in Dec. 2012, so I could focus more on leadership. I already had been very successful with Lean.
I did a lot of free training sessions to get experience and spent a lot of time and money growing myself. But, now I have many paying clients such as: Chick-fil-A, Auburn University, financial institutions, medical facilities, manufacturing organizations, construction companies, and various other industries too.
The principle of sacrifice is that we have to give up to go up. Then, we have to give up more to stay up. And, we have to give up even more to go even higher. During this time, I gave up all of my toys (Corvette Z06, Ford Raptor 4X4, Hummer), traveling and wasting money on the weekends, dining out, turned off my cable for a year to focus and read more on leadership ( I've read Lean or Leadership basically every day since 2008), stopped drinking alcohol 2+ years ago, stopped using profanity, and much more.
But, I'm now doing things no one would ever believe a blue-collar factory worker would ever be doing. Like I mentioned, I just published a book on leadership. Very few factory workers will ever do that, not because they aren't capable, but because they aren't willing to pay the price.
One last tip: when it comes to character, focus on developing yourself in your areas of weakness. But, in areas of competency, focus on your areas of strength.
Hope this helped you sir! This is my passion. Helping others find their passion and purpose in life. That's why I'm at 2am...working for free. I do it more for free than for money. :)
Trust me, its a good sign. Makes you work harder than the other guy. The best way to build rapport without credentials is experience. Nothing beats past success. Start small, make sure you shine in each situation. Build a profile using your successes/achievements in your field. First 5 years are tough, but if you pick your battles right, there's no stopping you later.
A guy with all the creds in the world who has yet to do his first job usually ends up working for a guy who has nothing but success under his belt ;)
Nothing beats a winner, and the only person you need to convince about your capabilities - is yourself. All the best!
In the process of developing your skills, you have likely helped more than a few people. These could be clients, co-workers - even friends who have sought your advice in their business. Go to these people and ask them to help you by providing a testimonial. Written testimonials are good, but video testimonials are even stronger - you can simply use your cell phone to record the person.
When asking for a testimonial, I like to follow a specific formula. Ask the person to explain their situation and challenges before they met you and then explain how you helped them to solve their problem.
Post your video testimonials on your You Tube Channel and then share them on your website, blog and social media. You can also include some 'how to' videos that will further showcase your unique skills and talents.
The best thing you can do is write a series of blogs or better yet a book on those things that you consider to be your expertise. When people search for that topic, your name will continually pop up.
Get testimonials or references from past clients to prove your ability and skill set.
If you do not have many past clients get some pro bono work on the basis you will get references.
Produce a video of yourself to highlight skills. get testimonials on video if possible. A video is a very effective medium to show of yourself.
Good luck - Martin
my web site newfocuscoaching has many ideas that could be useful.
You need to develop crdible references and the issue is how do you start?
You have to demonstrate your knowledge, confidence and take up tasks where you mitigate client's risks as perceived due to lack of reference. These could be " pay after you are satisfied", or get a validation by expert, etc. etc. This is the initial ground breaking phase and always difficult. There are no easy answers but manageble. Better to claim upfront that you have just started and you are sufficiently supported at the back-end to ensure customers get their goods delivered. Not sure if I understood your situation completely, But just gave a shot.
Get a portfolio up to show whatever your skill are to prospective clients. If you're a photographer, set up a website to display your photos. A writer? Post excepts from your successful pieces. A carpenter or handyman? post pictures of projects you've done. Even if you think your skills don't lend themselves to pictures. you'd be surprised how a good before and after pair could wow a potential client.
People want to see what you can do for them. Show 'em.
Credentials can and often are dubious. Some of the most highly credentialed people I've worked with that look great on paper have been absolutely awful people that were a drain on resources.
There are a few ways around this: First, word of mouth is well worth seeking. Ask for honest recommendations from credible sources, especially happy clients. If you don't have these, you'll get them soon enough. Second, ask for those recommendations and be specific what skills you would like them to highlight if they can. Third, define a concentrated set of skills you intend to excel at that define who you are, what you do, and where you want to head in a professional and personal sense.
Great question Antoinne... and great answer Elizabeth! So, I'll just add my nickel's worth. I was successful early in my career and now encourage my clients to do the following:
1. Find an established mentor that is having success in your niche
2. Build a relationship by establishing contact and sharing your thoughts about their work and your willingness to serve in a learning capacity (you would be surprised at how many would be willing to help you). Please make it a genuine relationship build with a stewardship mindset.
3. Collaborate with the established mentor on a project that you develop. In due time, this step will be a tremendous possibility and a great opportunity.
That's it in a nutshell, but done in the appropriate mindset, it works wonders! I hope tis helps...Keep the Faith!
Simply by composing every skill you have whether you have credentials or not. I know a lot of excellent leaders and language artists who served bravely in the military but because they do not have a diploma, degree or piece of paper from some secondary learning institution, people look at them as unqualified. It's not what you can prove on paper that makes you valuable, it's what you can prove in the real world with real problems that need real solutions. Put it all on and let the interviewers sort them out. If you get to an interview, I promise they will ask and then you can educate them besides, how people do you know who showed the credentials but could not do the job?
Hi Antoinne, A couple of things.
The first thing I see by your question, is the fact that you are putting up a barrier, or objection, that someone may of used, Or it's something you are concerned about.
My first question is: Is this a real problem of just an excuse ?
Do you have "Faith" in yourself and your skill set. ?
Are you happy with the level and quality of your outcomes?
At this stage it has little to do with your prospects, and more to do with yourself.
Keeping in mind that if a prospect is not that interested, the will use any reason to say no.
Now taking the positive outlook. You are confident and more than happy with your quality or workmanship, and outcomes.
You know that having a piece of paper is no guarantee of great work.
It only indicates that you know how to study and pass exams.
It all counts once you are out of class and in at the coal face.
So in fact you may already have 3 -4 years head start.
I have found that following points are some of the best ways of promoting your self is:
1) Be yourself.
2) Promote how you can help people rather that promote your skills.
3) Be generous, with your time and skills.
4) Strike a balance, between payed and non payed projects. Not everything has to be done for a fee.
5) Always try to get referrals. If I am doing something for free, I will always say at the end of the project, "Thank you for allowing me to assist you on the project. It was a lot of fun, and very enjoyable.
If you are as delighted with the outcome as I am, would you please be so kind as to send to be your comments, for which I can use as a testimonial.
6) Only use the testimonial when speaking one on one. and only use the testimonials which relate to the industry type or project type you are working on. Keep it all relevant.
7) Contribute to discussion in LinkedIn. This also helps to demonstrate your knowledge and application. After a short time, you will find people are asking to join your circle.
8) Work on your LinkedIn ratios. Number of contacts to total number of confirmed skill acknowledgements.
If you look at mine you will see that I have more skills acknowledgements than I do contacts.
9) The more you put in the more you get out.
10) My last point is just like the add say's. "Just do it" which in this case implies
Just like a runner on a track, stay focused, on your race, on your corridor, and continue to be persistent.
The main thing is to ensure that you emphasise the skills you have and how you have put them in to practice. If there is a particular position that you are targeting, get hold of the role profile and then tailor your application so that it reads back against the skills that they are looking for. Personally whenever I have been recruiting I never look at the qualification section as I'm really interested in whether the applicant has the experience that I am looking for. For me that shows you can actually do the job rather than just having the academic qualification.
Join on-line forums and start commenting.
Search for events/associations which promote and bring together people with particular skills and join their conversations.
Just make yourself available to people who need your skills.
I am sure that most of us (atleast those us who have taken the harder route) would have faced this challenge at some time or the other.
The answer is indeed quite simple – build the credentials!
That’s the tough part!
1. Do a very factual analysis of your personal and professional SWOT
2. Identify the strengths and eliminate the weakness / limitations / constraint. Let me give you a personal example: my greatest weakness was public speaking. I was very good at one to one communication. With deep introspection I found that I had a mental block. Having identified this issue, I went after this with a hammer and tongs. Actually designed and launched a video based program in 1989! this became an instant hit because people could see themselves as others see tham. The rest is history.
I learned and improvised as I went along…shared the results with existing clients and prospective clients too.
The credentials got built by word of mouth and participant feedback. I am talking about the time when electronic media was not common.
Best of luck
Bottom line, people are looking for "Results"! If you can deliver and have a track record of doing so, even without credentials (depending on the industry), sell yourself based on those results!
References. Do what you are good at, and get testimonials, letters of reference, and referrals from those you do well for. These are far more powerful than any credential.
I'd suggest refining your mission statement, find a niche market, and pitch that from the perspective of engaging people whom could or should be interested in talking with you. Seek shorter meetings to ask about their challenges and listen, verbally confirm their concerns and then see how your skill set and services fit the situation and can solve their pain.
You can consider writing on your expertise with a blog or posting articles on the web to gain more exposure. You can seek public speaking opportunities where you live. You can join or just attend local business functions. Where I live they have a business journal, where they do extensive interviews and features on business and you can learn whom decision makers are and what they do. Read with insatiable curiosity.
Reach out and connect. Offer skills to non-profits to serve the community and connect with other generous business people.
Most of all, just keep moving forward and never let doubt "rule" the day.