Working in research means helping society understand key concepts better. You may unearth new information entirely or simply help the public or other academics better understand a niche relation. Regardless of the scope of your work, if you want to make a name for yourself, you need to do more than just the behind-the-scenes work. You need to put your face and your name out there – front and center. Building up an audience and using that audience to help you with your career goals does not mean taking away from the aspects of your career you enjoy. It also doesn’t mean that you can’t take up a more traditional role in academia, like working as an educator.
All it means is doing a little bit more to market yourself, get your insights and findings out there, and then capitalizing on all that effort, so that you can then get on interesting projects, get invited to top events, and use all of that to help you get your next dream job again and again.
Technically every professional can benefit from having an audience. It’s also shockingly easy to establish an audience based on your field or specialization. Just because it’s doable, however, does not mean that your audience is going to immediately flock to you.
That’s because making a name for yourself in today’s age means committing to your education and professional career while also learning how to market everything you do (professionally).
Content marketing and even knowing how to stay at the forefront of your field is not something many people know how to do naturally. That’s okay. Using this guide, you’ll learn how to make a name for yourself both within the academic spheres and also amongst professional experts and the greater public as a whole.
Start with Your Academic Qualifications
If you’re just at the start of your academic career, then know you will still have a long way to go yet before you can be considered a top researcher or thought leader in your field. The good news, however, is that nothing is stopping you from starting your professional platform from day one. Bringing a wider audience along with you as you share what you learn and showcase the events, projects, and research you’re doing is a great way to start building that essential audience right at the start. Not only does it give you more time to build up buzz organically, but it also gives you the space to find your niche and approach to your content marketing strategy.
Building a platform, of course, will be touched on later. For now, when it comes to earning the credentials that will get you noticed and respected, both by your peers and by other experts or just a layperson, you’ll want to keep these tips in mind:
Research the Program Before You Apply
Not all degrees are created equally, but that doesn’t mean you need to bend over backwards to get into an Ivy League program. What you do personally as an academic is going to account for far more than where you initially studied.
Ivy leagues and the top universities in the world are valuable, yes, but more for the networking opportunities that they offer. If you don’t get in, or if the programs available aren’t perfect for your needs, you’ll be better off finding a program that does help you achieve the program outcomes you want.
Your Routes into Working for Academic or Research Institutions
When it comes to working as an academic, you typically have two options. The first is to work for a university itself as a faculty member. The second is to work for a research institution. Keep in mind that, sometimes, the research organization is funded and managed by the university itself.
What this means is that, often, teaching is going to be a very important component of your career. While most university faculty members will have a PhD, that doesn’t mean you have to go down that route. Nowadays, you can prepare yourself to work as an educator with an Ed.D. An education doctorate program takes far less time and is designed specifically to help you learn how to teach a classroom, design a curriculum, and improve learning outcomes.
Some can even be completed online and part-time, like this Rockhurst University Ed.D in higher education program. The best part about this type of degree is that it’s designed to be completed around your other responsibilities. This could be as a researcher, or it could even be as a PhD candidate.
The Power of Learning While Working
While your first undergraduate degree should be completed on campus, the rest is entirely up to you. You could focus on your master’s or doctorate full-time, or you can take it on remotely and work on it around your other commitments. This is a great way to make steady progress academically and professionally, which, in today’s world, is almost essential to help you get ahead.
How to Keep Learning and Pushing Your Limits
If you want to make a name for yourself as a researcher, then you must push your limits by learning something new every day. The further you get away from graduating, the more the information that you know will become outdated. In the professional world, this can be supplemented by on-the-job training and staying up to date with industry events, but in the world of academics, this alone isn’t enough.
You should make it a habit to read all papers published in your field if you can. Make notes, write blog posts about them, reference their work in your research, and so on. Not only do you need to read and follow the content published in your field, but you also need to take a proactive stance towards incorporating that information into your work.
Don’t just stop at articles, however. You’ll also want to keep informed on the latest industry news and innovations that will impact your research. If you aren’t aware of what’s going on in the world, your research won’t just be ineffective, it’ll be irrelevant.
There are many ways that you can stay informed. Start by going online and finding key organizations to follow on social media or by subscribing to their newsletter. From there you’ll want to find the current leading thought leaders and researchers to follow them.
Listen to podcasts and interviews. Attend events (either in-person or at least online). Read books, follow the news, and try to organize the information you learn so that you not only do something productive with it but also remember and incorporate that data better. You need to fully immerse yourself in your field and interact with it as much as possible.
Additional Key Skills You Should Consider Learning
Furthering your understanding and knowledge of your field is essential as any researcher, but that isn’t the only skill you should consider investing in. Suppose you want to make a name for yourself outside of academic circles, for example. In that case, you’ll want to establish a professional platform and market your knowledge to grow an audience. This audience will help you increase your revenue (a must for any researcher), while also giving you the backing you need to get unique and exciting opportunities.
From being invited as a panel host to being brought on unique projects, many opportunities will only be available once you establish yourself. Having a large online audience is one of the fastest ways to access these opportunities, at least at the start. Once you start getting interviewed and getting your work published, your previous appearances will be the critical factors.
Until you reach that point, however, you’ll need to market yourself. Part of this will need to be online in an audience-facing capacity. The rest will be behind the scenes.
How to Create a Professional Platform
To get started, you’ll want to create and establish a professional platform. You could revamp your current online presence with your career in mind, but for most, creating new social media accounts and a website is the better approach.
What to Put on Your Website
Your website is a powerful tool that can help you establish your name faster than waiting to be recognized by someone else with a platform. Not only should this website be the center of all your efforts and news relating to you, but it should also work to connect your name with your field.
If you have a unique name, then you can use this as the basis of your domain name. Otherwise, you’ll want to choose a URL that’s related to your field. You can even mix and match, if necessary.
On your website itself, you’ll need an about page that explains who you are and the qualifications that you have. You’ll also want to have a page that connects your audience to all your publications. This, at minimum, will help search engines tie your name and online presence to the work that you have currently done.
That isn’t the end of your efforts, however. You’ll also want to manage a blog and news page. While similar, they aren’t the same. Your blog should be home to your analysis, industry news, and even white paper pieces. Don’t publish any long-form academic articles here, however. Instead, break down your work into many smaller articles to get more content out of your work and to help audiences understand the information in smaller, bite-sized chunks.
As for news, keep that section related to the events you’re going to or hosting, the new articles you’ve published elsewhere, and in general, where you can link content that talks about you or your work.
The goal of such a site is to keep all your work centralized. It’s great to help newcomers find your work online, andexcellent for your SEO efforts.
Getting Your Work in Front of a Wider Audience
Having a great website is a great way to engage with your audience. Finding that audience and establishing a long-term connection, however, takes time. That’s why you’ll always want to find ways to get yourself in front of new audiences.
One of the top methods to start with is getting your work published. Start first by pitching your article ideas or articles themselves to independent publications. These are very likely to get published, and once they are, you’ll start establishing an important reputation.
When it comes to the articles in question, simply look at any academic work you have produced. Take key points from that work and write an article about it. The scope can either be informative or analytical.
For the best chances at getting this reworked content out there, add topical elements to it. Find contemporary examples for the points you make, so that your work is timely.
As you increasingly get more popular and establish a name for yourself, you’ll want to move up in the world. Rather than focus entirely on niche or indie publications, start pitching your ideas to some of the larger platforms.
The Power of Collaborating
Getting published is just one of the ways that you can get your name out there. The second option is to collaborate. Those who work in academia are very familiar with collaborating, so this step shouldn’t be too challenging.
Collaborating and networking are very similar. Both open doors, and to successfully meet and work with new people, it’s better to see what you can do for them first. Find key figures you want a connection with, for example, and organize an interview or even an online project with them.
This gets your name out in front of their audiences as well. The overall benefits are, therefore, two-fold. You’ll grow your network with important figures in your field while also marketing your expertise and platform to wider audiences. It’s a win-win that can eventually get you on panels and in your top-choice organizations.