There are only two things you need to do to build a great career. You need to create value and you need to signal your ability to create value. That’s it.
Everything else you’re told to do is just some variant of this or distraction. The former you get through study and experience that often takes time and lots of trial and error, but the latter you can start on right now by simply sharing publicly the processes behind you work.
As Austin Kleon writes in Show Your Work:
Once a day, after you’ve done your day’s work, go back to your documentation and find one little piece of your process that you can share.
If you do that consistently, you’ll find yourself beginning to get opportunities you were certain were closed off to you. Here are three easy ways to show your work process now:
- Start recording your screen.
If you’re working on a project online, download Loom or another screen-share tool and make a short video recording the process, perhaps providing a bit of commentary along the way.
For example, my friend Michael Mingnogna, made a video time-lapse of him rebuilding a WordPress site for a client of his marketing business.
Compare “I am WordPress certified” to “here’s a video I made showing me build a WordPress site.” It doesn’t compare.
- Write a blog or social media post.
Write something small about your work process. It could be a breakdown of the tools you used to complete the tasks, your workstation or work habits, screenshots of a work-in-progress, a tutorial, or some lessons you learned from whole process.
I’ve gotten a number of offers throughout my career for jobs or client work because simply by sharing small “behind-the-scenes” bits of what I’m working on.
My friend T.K. Coleman even coined the term “Hollywood technique.”Just like people enjoy seeing behind-the-scenes info on movies that are being produced, professionals and potential employers love seeing it in your work as well.
- Help your teachers teach others.
There’s a reason “what books do you recommend” is always the most popular question interesting and successful people hear from their fans. People want to know what built them. You can do it too.
Share the books you’ve read that helped you get better at your work, the podcasts you listen to, the courses you took, the events you attended, the tutorials you used, the videos you watched, and the people you talked to. Make the knowledge as public as possible and you’ll notice people start to associate you with that knowledge.
And when you’ve done this, do it all over again. Showing your work process never stops being valuable no matter what stage of your career you’re at.