Being poachable means being sought after by people who want to work with you. They’re willing to make it enticing to get you to leave or limit hours at your current gig so you’ll have time for them. You’re that awesome.
Sounds good, right? Having multiple offers is one of those “good problems” I get to coach clients through – and the main reason I am writing this post. Because I want you to know there’s a great deal about your poachability and marketability that is up to you. **Let me be clear – I am by no means downplaying systemic discrimination that influences who gets noticed and promoted. Bias absolutely exists and gets in the way of who is seen as in demand.** Today I’m focusing on what we personally have control over because the more womxn and marginalized voices we can have amplified and represented, the better off we’ll all be. 😊
Contributing your Competence & Expertise:
Before you can contribute your knowledge, skills, and strengths you have to offer the world, you need to know what they are. And while you can absolutely showcase your technical skills (e.g. programming, data analysis, quality assurance, social media strategy, project management), be sure to think beyond the technical. Like your ability to create belonging on a team. Or how your resourcefulness and ability to work independently has helped you make tough decisions well. Or how you successfully navigate lots of different personalities and tough deadlines. All of these contributions count!
Star the ones you actually enjoy. And then rank them based on how often you’d want to use it. Put anything you have left over on a “I can do, but don’t want to do” list.
Now challenge yourself to contribute and teach your “want to do” knowledge, skills, and strengths.
The key is this: You’ll want to look for ways to contribute them outside of your workplace. Remember – we’re talking about being poachable (even if your goal is to be poached by an internal department.)
For example, you can:
- find 5 events/conferences/groups to present at [Check: https://www.meetup.com/ , https://www.eventbrite.com/, https://hopin.com/, google your industry + conference]
- source 3 podcasts and create an interview pitch
- create your own webinar / FB live (even if no one shows, you’ll get practice talking about what you care about most and this is now content you can share).
Not into public speaking?
- write it as content for a LinkedIn article or blog post [Here’s an article I wrote about what I learned at the LadiesGetPaid conference that has done really well] [Here are 5 Prompts to Get You Writing on LinkedIn]
- submit content to an industry-aligned publication [Check out WebWire’s trade publications by industry]
- ask someone you follow and admire if they’d be open to a guest post from you. Give them a sample piece of writing and ask if it feels like a fit and if there’s an opportunity to collaborate. Like this:
There are tons of ways you can write and share content to become a thought leader. Read The Content Marketer’s Guide to Thought Leadership on Hubspot.
Main takeaway: Your skills won’t speak for themselves. Find them (and create) a platform.
Adding Value & Advocacy:
You know that list of your awesomeness you created? Let’s dive even further into how you can add value and elevate others! There are a gajillion ways to add value. Some take more time than others. You can:
- offer to mentor someone in your industry (universities & programs are always looking for student mentors)
- amplify an industry peer, leader, or influencer’s voice by promoting their work and ideas
- make an introduction for someone that could lead to an economic opportunity (aka sponsorship)
- find a couple of industry-aligned LinkedIn, Slack, Facebook, etc. groups and take 20 minutes/day to answer any questions that you have a perspective on [ideas: Ladies Who Strategize, Ladies Get Paid, young professionals groups, writers / speakers groups]
- if you have a visibility opportunity for someone, offer it up and help them make the most of it by telling them exactly what you need from them and why
Creating a 5-star Reputation:
This one is simple: do what you say you’re going to do. And if you can’t, communicate that you can’t (right now or never). A fool-proof way to know you’ll follow-through is knowing and communicating your boundaries up front. Your boundaries are a way to protect what’s most important to you (and keep you out of the resentment zone). This means you need to know what’s important to you. To communicate your boundaries (and have a five-star reputation), you can:
- establish a written work and/or group agreement that outlines the who, what, when, where, and how of the work you want to accomplish together
- check-in regularly on the progress. Could be a quick email or sending out a brief survey using Google forms or SurveyMonkey. Here are three questions for effective feedback.
- doing a post-mortem review once the project is complete. Learn what was done well and what could be improved for next time. [Listen to Professional AF’s S3 | E5: Feedback that Creates Change with Sheila Heen]
(Don’t forget to get testimonials and LinkedIn recommendations from your teammates and folks who hire you for projects! You can take pieces of feedback to create quotes. Don’t forget to get approval before you post it!)
Your reputation is your personal brand. Foster it. Evolve it. Share it. Speaking of which…
Remember when I said your skills won’t speak for themselves? That means you must speak for them by making them (and you) visible. If the spotlight makes you uncomfortable, take heart. No one is paying attention to you. (I mean that in a loving way). They have their own visibility / cares / life stuff to worry about. The goal is to show up more frequently in their universe so they’re thinking “wow, I’ve been seeing way more of them! I’m curious to know what they’re up to…”
There’s no way to sugar coat this so I’m just going to say it: Visibility is crucial to becoming poachable.
If no one knows you exist, how will they know to entice you away with their sweet offer? Having a five-star reputation, creating valuable content, providing your industry with beneficial data, etc. will mean zero if you aren’t sharing it publicly. You can:
- do all of the suggestions mentioned under Contributing your Competence & Expertise
- launch your own newsletter and build an email list (it’s okay to be small, but mighty!)
- show up and participate in industry-aligned webinars and be active in the chat. Share your LinkedIn URL and invite folks to connect. Better yet – ask if anyone wants to get together to debrief the event and make it happen.
- watch my webinar “Promote Like a Boss: How to Be a Successful Conference Attendee and Shine as a Thought Leader”
- find an industry amplification buddy and promote each other publicly (could be in those social media groups I mentioned)
- introduce yourself to an industry leader and ask them for an informational interview. (Give them a few dates/times to pick from to make it super easy to schedule.)
And if being your own publicist makes you want to run the other way, there are people you can work with to help you through it. Every day I’m helping professionals, just like you, put together a PR plan and take action on it. [Book an exploratory call here.]
You may also consider hiring a content strategist / virtual assistant for a couple hours a month to organize your ideas, edit your writing, or ghost-write your posts and captions (yes, it still counts!) Check in a FB group to hire local talent, or places like upwork.com, peopleperhour.com, guru.com, and more.
If you’ve made it to this point and you’re feeling a touch more overwhelmed than excited by all these possibilities, pick one suggestion I’ve given you today and begin. Avoid the trap of “it has to be the most well thought-out strategy that ever existed.” It doesn’t. The more you overthink it, the less visible you’re going to be. You’ll be spending all your time spinning your wheels.
Let’s get you out there!