You know the popular saying, “fake it ‘till you make it.” It’s an accurate way to describe younger professionals’ collective struggle against self-doubt, the mismatch between the public’s perceptions of one’s confidence and one’s actual self-assessment thereof.
Eventually, most of us either “make it” or call it quits and find something else to do with our lives.
But all too often, the rest of the world doesn’t get the memo that we’ve “made it.” They don’t realize we know our stuff now. That we want our colleagues and customers to know just how authoritatively we can hold forth on matters of expertise.
It’s a frustrating situation to find oneself in, this “credibility gap.” Fortunately, getting out of this pickle is easier and less time-consuming than getting into it. All that’s needed is a bit of strategic self-promotion.
That’s easier than ever with so many digital tools at our fingertips. If you find yourself straddling the dreaded credibility gap, here’s what you should do to work your way out.
- Create a Vibrant, Active LinkedIn Presence
Start by expanding and deepening your LinkedIn presence. Post short weekly updates for your followers. Flesh out your most recent roles, underscoring your experience in your field. Endorse peers, colleagues, and even competitors for skills that align with yours. And pump out longer posts about projects you’ve been working on or work-related issues you’ve been thinking about.
- Do an Ideamensch Interview
Find places to tell your story on your terms. With its open-ended Q&A format and light editing, Ideamensch is an excellent starting point for entrepreneurs. Take inspiration from the Ideamensch page for Paul Esterhuizen, a philanthropist and entrepreneur based in South Africa, whose story resonates with anyone seeking a better life for their kids.
- Solicit and Post Endorsements and Recommendations From Other Thought Leaders
Those LinkedIn endorsements you gave out earlier are about to pay off. Don’t be shy about seeking endorsements, recommendations, and all-around praise from influential people in your professional sphere. In addition to your LinkedIn page, which is a natural home for them, carve out a spot for them on your professional website.
- Put “Verified” Badges and Seals on Your Website
No award or recognition is too small to tout. Post official images of these awards, if possible, on your professional website (and your company website, if you have one and control what’s on it). The more press you get, the more legit you appear.
- Cultivate Earned Media
Speaking of press: cultivate it! Earned media is practically synonymous with credibility, even when you don’t agree with every word of it. The content of those media mentions is less important than the fact of their existence.
You Deserve to Stand Out From the Crowd
You have worked hard to get where you are. Too hard to cede the spotlight to any old competitor with a knack for self-promotion.
That’s right. You deserve to stand out from the crowd.
These tactics should help you do just that. Success won’t come overnight, of course, so you’ll thank yourself for getting started as soon as possible. And in the not too distant future, when you look back on how far you’ve come, you’ll be amazed that you ever worried about that silly credibility gap at all.