Careers and reputations


(Sarah Hawk) #1

I just had a great call with a community member (who can name themselves but I won’t do it on their behalf) to talk about career paths and reputation building. They wanted my advice, but I found it really valuable because it’s not something that I’ve actively thought about before and it helped me to clarify my thinking.

I thought I’d note down some of the things that came out of the call, in case they’re valuable for others.

  • Community can be a job or a career. It’s relatively new and we’re forging the way. That’s a powerful position to be in, but also a tenuous one.
  • Find your niche. Mine is community technology – platforms, migrations and UX. I didn’t plan it, but I’ve run with it and I make sure I keep challenging myself so that I stay on top of my game.
  • Build your reputation by talking about the topic widely so that when people have a question you are the first person they think of and tag in. It becomes self perpetuating.
  • Reputation building isn’t necessarily about blogging or public speaking. Get your knowledge out where your audience are asking questions. That’s probably meet-ups, communities and social networks.
  • You don’t always have to give definitive advice. Every community is different and what works for one might not work for another. You can share things that didn’t work or ideas that you haven’t tried. Sometimes people just need a spring board for their own ideas.
  • Frameworks are great (@richard_millington taught me that). When people are confronted with something that they’ve never done before, having a framework can act like a safety net.
  • Community isn’t maths. There is real science behind it, but there’s also people. Things don’t always go the same way. Try new things. Push the envelope. Pivot when things go wrong. Be human.
  • Never speak in a NZ accent. Most people can’t understand and the ones that can, laugh.

Do you guys have tips or thoughts of your own to add?

(Robert McIntosh) #2

indeed, career killer! :slight_smile:

[as an aside, my son’s kiwi rugby coach was giving a presentation to the entire squad of 60+ kids and 10+ coaches on dealing with injuries, and the P.R.I.C.E. principle - look it up. When he got to; “I, for Ice …” my beautifully pedantic son interrupted the whole session to say “Ace? That’s not how you spell PRICE!” … it took us all a second, but we had to laugh … and I just had to disown him.]

(Alessio Fattorini) #3

:raised_hand_with_fingers_splayed: here I am
I tried to take note of all your advice but now I’m sure I missed something so thanks for this very helpful recap. :heart:
I’d like to collect others advice too. How did you build (or you are trying to build) your career in the community space?
How are you building your reputation? Which effective strategies did you find?

(Lucas Miller) #4

This is sage advice and one I think about constantly, but admittedly, not very good at doing for myself. I’m working on it. :slight_smile:

On that note, I think another piece of advice would be to connect with your colleagues and peers on other networks, LinkedIn especially, but also Facebook, Twitter, and wherever else you can connect with people. I am finding that the community world is both vast and closely knit. If you are following @HAWK’s advice above, it can helpful to have friends on multiple networks for the purpose of just having that network. You never know where a conversation is going to spring up and someone could say “Hey, I know someone who knows something about that!”

(Sarah Hawk) #5


(Shreyas) #6

I love this recap! Thanks so much Sarah!

Absolutely! I come across different threads on forums, Reddit, CMX FB group on the intersection of communities and UX and my first reaction is “Wow! Sarah might have so much to say about this! I should tag her!”. :sweat_smile:

Can you tell us more about this? You could also just point to a thread about frameworks.

Also, following this thread to learn from others about this. (me thinks if this topic should be a separate thread)

(Sarah Hawk) #7

Sure – here’s an example:

(Alessio Fattorini) #8

How did you define/find your specific skills?

(Lucas Miller) #9

I started with my educational background and then looked at my interests. This helped me focus on my skill set, assess them in terms of strengths and then focus on my skills that I was most interested in and identify areas of improvement. I think that out of your interests you find your passions and from there naturally derives a skill set.

For me, I have been reading a lot about the intersection of branding, marketing, and customer service that combines a full brand experience. So I have been looking for ways that I can “certify” my skills in this area. Either through official certification in things like Salesforce and Google Analytics to challenging myself to write about customer experience on LinkedIn to applying some of my theories into my day job and volunteer gigs.

It’s a journey and along the way, I want to be able to point to some specific things and say “I’ve done that.”