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Terminus Blog

January 14, 2021

How to Make Yourself Forever Employable

Category: FlipMyFunnel Post

We all want to succeed in our careers, but does anyone actually enjoy hunting for new career opportunities? 

Interviews, resumes, long waits… Wouldn’t it be great if the jobs came to us, instead? 

Well, you can make that happen. You just need to remember one thing: 

The riches are in the niches. 

That realization is how Jeff Gothelf, Best-Selling Author of Lean UX and Forever Employable, stopped looking for jobs and generated inbound career opportunities.  

Plant your flag

Jeff: I made an explicit decision on the morning of my 35th birthday to stop chasing jobs. 

I just wasn’t going to play this game anymore.

“I decided the jobs were going to find me. I wasn’t going to look anymore. I was going to become forever employable.”

I was going to figure out how to create a situation where the next opportunities were inbound.

Building a platform

I made a very explicit decision to then go and create a platform for myself: a thought leadership platform, a recognized expert platform, and — yes, I’m going to use the phrase — a personal brand.

So how does it happen? 

The first thing that you have to do is plant a flag.

That means you have to decide what you’re going to build your platform on.

What is your domain expertise? And, more explicitly, what is the slice of that domain you’re going to own? 

How to expand from your niche

“It’s true that if you plant your flag and you become the recognized expert in that domain, that’s going to define you for a while. It doesn’t mean you can’t expand.”

I planted my flag with Lean UX — and if you google it, I guarantee I’m in the first 10 results. 

For better or worse, I’m the Lean UX guy. 

Yet, when I wanted to have a conversation with managers and leaders — even though I didn’t do it overnight — I was able to become a digital transformation and business agility guy. 

That took about 2 years of consistent messaging, writing, speaking, and, ultimately, writing a book. 

I don’t think I’ll ever not be the Lean UX guy. But, slowly, I was able to expand on that. 

Why personal platforms and branding work

The reason why you can build credibility and reputation in that thing, hopefully, is because you have experience in that thing — which makes the conversation that you’re having authentic. 

It makes it real because you did the work. 

This is especially true if you’re sharing not just your wins, but your losses and your learnings along the way, as well. 

So, you’re building that authenticity, you’re building that credibility, and you’re building that audience.

And as you start to expand, you can take the audience with you.

Tell your story

Jeff: The next step is: 

Tell your story. 

This is one of the most important things once you’ve identified where you’d like to go. 

You’ve got to be able to tell that story to anyone and everyone. 

So, meetups, webinars, podcasts, presentations, workshops, lunch-and-learns, elevator pitches, lightning talks — whatever it is, get out there and tell your story

It’s absolutely the most critical thing that you can do to get better at delivering the content, to get feedback, to understand where there are gaps, to understand what’s resonating, where you should double down, and what things you should let go. 

The more that you tell your story, the better you know the story — and there’s a level of confidence that comes with that, which increases your credibility, as well. 

Telling your story helps you become resilient, regardless of your situation.

Give it all away 

Jeff: The next step is the one I learned most recently and, frankly was uncomfortable with for a long time: 

Give it all away. 

The more that you can give back and give your expertise away for free to the community, the more that comes back to you.

If you check out my blog at jeffgothelf.com you’ll see it isn’t behind a paywall — and there’s years’ worth of content on there. 

You’re going to find a list of videos from keynote speeches that I’ve given over the last couple of years; you can watch those for free.

There’s a list of all the podcasts, all the webinars, all the webcasts that I’ve done on there as well. 

All the content that I put out there is available for free.

Yet I still get hired to come in and give those talks. I still get hired to teach those classes. 

“As a teacher, I become better at my subject matter, because I have to explain it every single day to somebody else.”

That’s the thing that I’ve learned is that when you build your platform, the more you give back to the community, the more it comes back to you. 

Let’s get intentional

Jeff’s journey figuring out how to generate inbound career opportunities has led him to have some absolutely top-notch advice for anyone looking to build their own platform.  

But just as important as the lessons he’s learned on the journey is how it all started. 

Jeff was intentional. 

He was intentional about why he took his first step. He was intentional about every step he took after. 

You’ve probably heard me say it before: 

Being intentional is more important than being brilliant.

So, follow Jeff’s advice and build your personal brand, but make sure you also follow his wisdom. 

Do it with intentionality. 

This is a #FlipMyFunnel podcast. Check us out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or here.

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