The specialist

Parlay your knowledge and experience to become a recognized authority

Looking to get that next big promotion and salary increase? Your success may not only be based upon how well you’ve done your job, but whether you’re seen as an expert in your field.

“The best employees are well-rounded individuals who add more to the organization,” says Steven Sanders, president and equity portfolio manager for MDL Capital Management, based in Philadelphia. Besides volunteering for internal work-related projects, being a specialist that the company can call upon to be its “public face” is a value-added bonus for the company that can translate into higher benefits, including more money or a promotion.

“My work keeps me involved with civic organizations. The company has increased my responsibility because of my effectiveness in enhancing the corporation’s public image,” says Marilyn Jones Joseph, director and assistant general manager of corporate contributions for Panasonic Corp. in Secaucus, New Jersey. She adds that during her nine years at Panasonic, her activity has been rewarded with two promotions, significant salary increases and the creation of her own department.

In today’s job market, recruiters for major corporations seek managers and executives with diverse experiences. Those who can combine their knowledge and business experience with a desire to share that information are perceived as “balancing the needs of [a company's] clients, adding to [a company's] value,” says Bernard Hale Zick, founder and CEO of the International Society of Speakers, Authors & Consultants in Kingwood, Texas.

Becoming a recognized authority requires that you polish your presentation and public speaking skills as a way to distinguish yourself from others. If you want to interest top firms in employing you, quantify your value: use your expertise to prove why it’s worthwhile for employers to hire you.

“Increasing your visibility gives you access to sponsors within your firm who will now recommend that you attend corporate functions or be assigned to projects that you would not have otherwise been up for,” says Dale G. Caldwell, global recruiting director for Deloitte Consulting, a division of the East Brunswick, New Jersey-based accounting firm Deloitte & Touche.

Several character traits distinguish effective experts. Besides a desire to share information with others, displaying confidence and clarity in sharing that information is just as important. A well-groomed professional appearance is also essential and lends to your credibility.

There are a number of ways to develop a strategy that increases your credibility, gets you in the public eye and opens the door to new opportunities-and increased earnings:

  • Know your stuff. There’s nothing worse than being exposed as a fraud by other experts or those seeking to learn from you. Devote time to developing your areas of expertise by reading pertinent journals and newsletters, attending conferences and continuing your education.
  • Market yourself. Volunteer to speak at industry seminars and events, or to participate on panels at public forums. This lets you share your knowledge and information with others while gaining exposure. “Make sure that the chosen event is linked to an appropriate organization or activity with some connection to the overall business operations of your company,” suggests Joseph. Consider
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