CROSSROADS, REPUTATION, STORIES
Q: I need your help in getting off the dime. It isn’t that I don’t want to. It’s that I literally don’t know what to do.
I’m entering a very new field that my colleagues and past contacts know virtually nothing about. The industry I’m interested in is supposed to need people, but I can’t find the channel where people are actually paid for their work.
Please don’t tell me to go to the library to read up on it. I’m very busy doing my current work, which I need to keep up during the transition. Help!
A: While people might tell you to run to a mentor, when you enter a new field, even an expert might be difficult to find.
Use search engines to identify associations around your area of expertise. Read articles thoroughly, even if particular subjects don’t interest you, to get names of players and companies. Go to a conference if there isn’t a local chapter to make initial contacts. Get as much information about attendees as possible. Plan your campaign. Remember the career axiom: It takes one bus to get a ride.
Q: I searched Google and found that the first link attached to my name includes a photo of me accompanying a newspaper article. Everyone says to check your online image and get rid of anything that’s negative. What can I do about this?
A: Is the newspaper reputable? What about the article and the writer? Is there anything wrong with the photo? Are you dressed overly casually or do you look horrible in it?
What’s wrong with starting with a list of links with positive publicity for yourself? Even if the topic of the article is dreary, if the information is presented well in a decent publication with an acceptable photo and a good writer behind it, you have very favorable publicity. Some people work many years to achieve decent press.
Go back and research the paper. Read about it in an industry publication, such as Editor & Publisher. Is it part of a reputable newspaper group? How long has it been around?
Do a Google search on the writer to see what comes up. Read.
Finally, ask yourself if any companies identified pose a problem.