Stand Out and Move Up In Your Career – Write a Book
Job hunters go to great lengths to stand out to prospective employers. We’ve heard of people using everything from a singing telegram to helium balloon delivery to make sure their name gets remembered and their resume doesn’t end up in the trash. But none of these stunts would make an impression like telling a hiring manager, literally, “I wrote the book on this.”
There’s nothing like a high-quality book you’ve written and published to demonstrate your skills, credibility, commitment, knowledge, and vision for your field.
Can I write a book?
At this point, many readers may assume this doesn’t apply to them, that they lack either the experience, expertise, or capability to write a book. Or perhaps, that this only applies to high-level professionals like a doctor or psychologist. But you don’t need to have letters after your name to write a book that will boost your career goals.
You might not realize you’re an expert in your field until you talk to someone outside that field and realize how much knowledge you really have. You just have to get in touch with, and take an inventory of, your own expertise—which many people take for granted.
I worked as a credit card fraud analyst, back when this was a new idea for most people. There were all sorts of myths floating around, like the idea that you’re liable for charges when a credit card is stolen. I could have written a book on how to prevent, or even commit, credit card fraud.
Your book doesn’t have to cover your groundbreaking innovations in a cutting-edge field. It may require some introspection, but you’ll find that your experience has given you plenty to offer a new employer. It can show off your personal and professional development, how you’ve built leadership or teamwork skills, lessons that have come with experience, and hurdles you’ve overcome.
How would a book boost my career?
In this sense, a book serves double or triple duty in a job interview. The simple act of showing up with a relevant book will help you stand out from other candidates. It ensures you’ll be remembered. Simply having a book published shows you committed to, and followed through on, a significant project. It shows confidence, initiative, a readiness to invest in your own development. It also shows an ability to build a team, since you’ll likely need an editor, designer, and others to publish a quality book. Not to mention communication skills.
The content of the book will give you the chance to show off what you want them to know, outside the more limited structure of a resume and job interview. You’ll have the chance to plan this out in advance instead of figuring out answers on the fly during an interview.
On another level, the act itself of writing your book prepares you for the interview before you even apply. You’ll go in with a mental outline on your background that you know intimately, and you’ll have answers ready when facing common interview questions like “tell me about a time when you” solved a problem, dealt with a difficult employee, or went above and beyond to satisfy a customer. Writing a book will help you verbally communicate what you already know about yourself and your industry.
Publishing a book also brings reviews that will build credibility, in much the same way as a job reference or recommendation.
Getting your book written
Even once you’ve realized what you have to say with a book, you might be worried about whether you have enough content. But to serve our purpose, shorter is better in many respects. We see people who want to get across something very specific, coming to us with book ideas that total as little as 30 to 50 pages.
And if you don’t have the time or know-how to sit down and write the book yourself, you can still use your experience and expertise to put one together. Ghostwriters provide their services to those that want to showcase their content, but lack the time or writing skills to tell their story the way they want it to be told. Ghostwriters will know what sells and know how to write a high-quality book.
But there are a few things to keep in mind when you decide to use a ghostwriter. You’d be investing as much as $10,000 or more in getting your book written, which means you’ll also want to invest in marketing efforts to actually sell books and earn back that investment. But this isn’t a bad idea either—selling books and getting good reviews just adds to the credibility boost in the eyes of employers. What could be better than telling employers you wrote the book on your industry? Telling them you wrote the book on it, and that it became a bestseller.
Ghostwriters can be hard to track down, since they often sign non-disclosure and non-compete contracts. Your best bet is to ask someone in the industry for a recommendation.
Communicate your vision
In addition to experience, knowledge, and credibility, demonstrating a vision for the future of your industry is a great direction for your book. You’re not a fortune teller, and you won’t be right about every idea for the future—but show you have a plan, substantiate it with facts, and people will be willing to listen.
Showing that you have that vision, plus credibility and experience, will benefit your career in both the short and long term. Writing a book allows you to get these ideas across without having to recite them quickly and on-the-spot in an interview setting. And it will speak that much louder that you’ve gathered those ideas ahead of time to publish a high-quality book. In any case, it’s much easier to get rid of a business card than a book, and that alone will work in your favor.
This guest post was authored by Tim McConnehey
Tim McConnehey is the Founder of Izzard Ink, a publishing firm and one-stop-shop for authors that provides services including editing, cover design, layout and illustrations, printing, audiobook recording, ghost writing and more. McConnehey is a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association and he’s the author of 10 Secrets to a Bestseller: An Author’s Guide to Self-Publishing as well as it’s accompanying workbook.