What’s Your Differentiator? Leverage Your Expertise for Career Advancement

Getting ahead takes more than just keeping your head down and working hard.  Today’s business leaders are looking for individuals who rise above the crowd by stepping up and resolving critical organizational issues, building a reputation for getting the job done, and adding value beyond their job description.

It is essential to find a way to differentiate yourself and build a track record of key achievements to propel your career forward. ‘Building a track record of quantifiable achievements….can create a powerful differentiator for your career progression.’ Source: 10 Ways to Leverage Differentiators to Power Your Career.  D. Clark, author of Stand Out –– How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It warns:  ‘Safe jobs, predicated on staying quiet and doing what’s expected of you, are fast disappearing. Building a strong reputation is the best way to protect, and advance, your career.'

What’s Your First Step in Differentiating Yourself?

Begin by identifying what you’re passionate about.  Author Marsha Sinetar famously said: “Do what you love and the money will follow.”  For myself and others who commit to doing work they love, this is definitely a truth.  Trust that if you pursue your passion, success will naturally come as a result, and you will carve a niche for yourself and your career along the way.

Your Second Step is to Become a Valued Contributor

If you want to realize sustainable success, the goal should be to become recognized as an expert in your field … someone others want to work with as you have fresh and valued perspectives, and industry know-how. 

Think you’re not qualified enough to become an industry thought leader yet?  No problem.  You can still differentiate yourself:


  • Network with individuals, inside and outside of your organization, with a reputation as experts in your field.  Learn what they are doing to stay ahead of the game, what skills and experience are in demand, and ask for strategies to help you close the gap and advance your career.
  • Within your organization, step up and ask for opportunities to develop your skills and experience.  Take on a difficult task that will stretch you and help you gain much needed experience.  Read more in:  Advance Your Career:  Take on an Uncomfortable or Challenging Task.
  • Suggest projects or initiatives that will help the organization address critical issues and position itself for future growth.
  • Develop your on-line portfolio as an industry or sector expert by blogging on your topic of interest.  Contribute comments, articles and blogs to a LinkedIn Group in your area of expertise.

For example, as a Career Coach, I’m currently working with a client who has a passion for data management and helping large organizations optimize their access to key data.  As this isn’t part of his current role, we mapped out several strategies to help him to carve out a new personal career brand that speaks to this expertise.  To move his career forward, he is focused on:


  • Conducting information interviews to explore new opportunities within his organization, and beyond.
  • Sourcing a mentor or champions who can provide strategies and help promote his interests.
  • Booking weekly coffees and lunches with others in his area of interest to keep apprised of industry best practices and trends.
  • Asking his manager for extra projects related to his area of interest.
  • Dedicating time to attend webinars, Meetups, conferences and seminars, as well as read business books and publications. 

By staying on top of industry best practices and actively sourcing information about how his organization is adjusting to change, he can proactively make suggestions and provide solutions to address these and upcoming challenges.  As a result, he will become a valued contributor to his organization.

Starting today, what can you do to strengthen your career brand and position yourself as a valued contributor to your organization?

Author: Joanne Loberg of JL Careers Inc. is a Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Professional.  She has a reputation as a highly sought after Career Consultant and she has been referred to as "an absolute expert at navigating the complex territory of career advancement.” Joanne provides leadership coaching as well as career transition coaching, career planning workshops, and job search services (resumes, LinkedIn profiles, cover letters, and interview practice) for Professionals and Executives. Copyright 2017 JL Careers Inc. All rights reserved.

Are you ready to take that next career step but needing a strategy or tools to support your progression? Whether clarifying your career brand, devising networking strategies to get face time with key decision makers, or developing your resume and interview skills, I specialize in working with professionals and executives to help them get more of what they want in their careers.  Let’s connect for a complimentary telephone consultation to determine the strategy that's best for your situation.  

I look forward to hearing from you!

Joanne Loberg
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers Inc

© 2004-2013 JL Careers, Vancouver BC, Canada

JL Careers provides Career and Leadership Coaching, Career Development Workshops, and Career Transition Services which support organizational succession planning, leadership development and employee engagement strategies.