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How To Take Charge Of Your Procurement Career

Do you ever wonder if there’s a disconnect between how you see yourself and how other people in your industry see you? You might be the very best at what you do, but if you can’t effectively communicate your capabilities, how will anyone ever know?

Bridging the gap and finding a way to present yourself to the marketplace in a new light could support your next career move, pivot, or promotion – and it all starts with the development of your personal monopoly.

What is a Personal Monopoly?

We introduced the concept of marketing yourself like a product in the first part of this article series. It’s now time to question whether you (like all successful products) are:

  •  Rare
  • Durable
  • Non-transferable and
  • Non-tradeable

If you can’t say yes to these factors, it’s unlikely that you’re setting yourself apart from the competition, and that means it’s time to work on your personal monopoly.

A personal monopoly is the intersection of skills, interests, and personality traits. Once you hone in on that intersection, you open yourself to finding your differentiator, enabling you to reach new audiences, and secure exciting opportunities.

The online world is quick to reward those with personal monopolies because it rewards differentiation. Plus, the vast number of people online today (circa four billion) means you can instantly broadcast your ideas to a global audience and reach the people who are most interested in what you have to say.

So how do you go about delving into the intersection of your personal monopoly and identifying your differentiator?

 Step One: Start with your passions

Your personal monopoly should reflect your specific interests – the things near and dear to you – and not what you think or assume the world wants. If you chase trends, you’ll quickly become lost, and you’ll fail to engage your audience.

Authenticity is important for two key reasons:

  1.  If you’re not passionate about the things you’re creating, whether it’s blogs, videos, podcasts, a website, or newsletters, you’re not going to become world-class at it.
  2. The immense scale of the online world means that the audience for any and every topic is pretty substantial. Whatever topic you choose, there will be thousands of people who will be interested.

Consider what makes you different – your skillset, unique experiences, topics you have strong opinions about, and where you excel. Once you’ve figured out where and how these things intersect, you’ll be able to refresh the way you present your brand online and start to tell engaging stories.

 Step Two: Obtain feedback

If you want to build the kind of skillset and online presence that makes somebody say, “Wow! I’ve never met someone like Anna before,” you need to start asking for feedback – and lots of it.

Whether they know you personally or not, the people around you can help you identify those unusual proficiencies that complement both your experience to date, industry, and future ambitions. When the combination of skills in your personal monopoly is rare, you’ll begin to define a unique genre for yourself and eliminate the competition.

Step Three: Be creative in how you position your intellectual capital

Aim to pick a small but growing market and leverage that around your expertise. This will become your online intellectual real estate. You’ll be able to develop and showcase your talents before any other “settlers” arrive to stake their claim on your turf.

Regardless of where you decide to settle, you can always make subtle tweaks in how you position your intellectual capital to ensure the things you’re doing and saying are individual to you. These small adjustments will help you create vast differentiators over time, set you apart from the crowd, and result in greater opportunities.

Let’s look at an example. Imagine the experiences of two science teachers.

The first teaches in a school, where they will follow the prescribed curriculum and take home around $50K a year.

The other decides to start a business teaching science online. They have the same skillset and might well be covering the same material, but they also choose to inject humor, adopt a unique teaching style, and make the content their own. By nurturing their brand and building an online audience, they could quite easily make $100K.

Step Four: Focus on personal branding.

Most people hate self-promotion, but it’s an important part of building your brand. The trick is to think of the work you create as a never-ending process, both professionally and personally.

What’s the best way for you to attract people interested in what you do or what you hope to do in the future?

When you’re producing content for an online platform, imagine that your next employer is the one who will be consuming it. You could apply for a role and send them a link to an up-to-date and highly engaging digital resume – complete with testimonials and a portfolio. Essentially, the work you’re putting in now will serve as a real-time resume and help you stand out from the hundreds of others also applying for the same job.

In time, the online network you’ve nurtured, consisting of those who enjoy consuming your content, will become your greatest allies, helping you find and secure your next role.

Step Five: Tell a story

Storytelling that leverages your unique experiences gives you credibility and helps to keep your audience engaged and focused. You might, for example, choose to share how you ended up in your current industry, your biggest successes, and failures, or ridiculous experiences you’ve had along the way.

Most stories follow the same formula. There is a main character who wants something. On their journey to achieving their goals, they encounter a problem and a peak of despair. At some point, a guide steps in and calls them to action, ultimately leading the main character to success or failure.

In consuming any good story, the audience should be able to step away answer the following three questions:

  1. What does the protagonist want?
  2. Who or what is opposing the protagonist in getting what they want?
  3. What will the protagonist’s life look like if they don’t get what they want?

In this scenario, you are the guide who can answer the three key questions every hiring manager or recruiter wants to know.

  1.  What do you offer?
  2. How will it make my life better?
  3. What do I need to do to buy it?

If you can communicate this way via your social media platforms, you’ll start to become the guide of the story. Remember, you are the product attempting to sell yourself to the customer – so make sure what you’re saying is about them and appeals to their needs.

Give it time… 

It takes time to develop your personal monopoly. Most importantly, you’ll need to double down on your ideas once you find something that captivates you. The goal is to then commit to sharing the best of what you learn through various mediums.

Once you start creating and putting yourself out there, you’ll find people, and they’ll find you.

Access more insights with Vitalize Talent’s “Revitalise Your Career” online course for Procurement and Supply Chain professionals, hosted by Naseem Malik and Aaron Cleavinger. Enrol here: https://revitalize-your-career.teachable.com/p/revitalize-your-career.

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