Learn to recognize the moment when you can credibly claim that you are an expert.
When I opened JobMob in December 2006 and officially launched it with a press release a few months later, I wasn't a job search expert. Not even close.
The idea for the site came to me during the summer of 2006 when I was living in France but looking for a job in Israel. The local job market was humming along nicely at that point but when networking with other job seekers, I realized that I was still having more success than most.
Having begun following blogs a few months earlier, I noticed that there were no blogs based in Israel about job search and I thought a blog sharing my own job search experiences would be a perfect way to experiment with blogging while also being the “first to market”. And so, JobMob was born.
At that point, I still wasn't a job search expert yet.
Then a funny thing happened. The more time that I spent on JobMob trying to blog regularly, the more I learned about job search. And the more I learned, the more I began to understand how I could help people.
And it actually started happening.
Although I could have done it earlier, it was only really in 2008 – after JobMob had been around for over 18 months – that I became comfortable with the idea of calling myself an expert.
Here are some of the reasons why, and other reasons that might apply in your case.
Many of these points don't stand on their own but do have merit when they occur together.
1) More knowledge than others
Dictionary.com‘s expert definition is “a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field.” If you have more knowledge in a subject than most other people, you might qualify as an expert in that field.
2) Recognized credentials
Whenever a market booms, the number of experts in that market quickly booms too as people try to cash in, like with social media. If you spent 7+ years at an accredited university becoming a doctor and can now add ‘M.D.' to your name, few people will doubt your expertise.
3) Can demonstrate expertise
In the age of information, anyone can study their hearts out and then retell that information to anyone who asks. Only real experts know how to apply that information in real world situations and will have done so.
4) Proven track record of success
Applying learned knowledge is only worthy if you're consistently achieving successful results.
5) Many testimonials
If you've helped other people to success, many of them will usually talk about that success. If they don't, ask them for a LinkedIn recommendation.
6) Well-versed in failure
Niels Bohr famously said that “an expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.” Only an expert knows how things can go wrong and how to anticipate and avoid that from happening.
7) Other experts refer to you
Although it doesn't take an expert to know one, it's a lot easier for another expert to know one. If other experts are willing to put their reputation on the line by referring to you, you are probably already an expert yourself or on your way to becoming one.
All job seekers, employed or not, should always carry personal business cards and even more so at networking events. But what do you write on the business card besides your name and contact information?
One option is to put the title of the job you're searching for, but that might be too specific, unnecessarily limiting your options.
A better option is to use the above 7-point list to determine your main expertise and call yourself an expert in that domain, keeping your options open to various industry-related positions.
Question of the article
How do you think social proof is related to being an expert? Why do you think that I didn't include it in the list?
From Ron Machol of Israemploy, a clip about why too many people think they're experts:
I originally published a version of this article on the terrific Personal Branding Blog.
Job Search Expert, Professional Blogger, Creative Thinker, Community Builder with a sense of humor. I like to help people.