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Maintaining Your Subject Matter Expert Status

by Danielle Foster

You’ve worked hard to become your company’s subject matter expert.  In order to continue to be so, you have to be committed to continuing education and become adept at leveraging professional networks. Go back to college and take refresher courses or courses in new subject matter necessary to your being able to excel at your work, attend seminars and/or workshops to stay current in your field and read as many articles and books in your field as time allows. You will not be able to maintain your subject matter expert status without dedication to continuing education.

Join industry and job-related associations to learn from your peers and help build your career network. The more connections you make and relationships you forge, the more resources you have to help solve business issues.  For instance, a new state law is enacted and you’re not sure how to implement the changes in your organization.  Having a network, you can always check with your association peers to hear how they are handling the same situation and have a sounding board for your ideas of how to solve the same issue. Then having several options in how to enact the changes, you can make a better choice in what to do for your organization.

A side benefit to joining career related rather than industry related associations is that you may run into members whose companies are experts in another industry and may be able to help you in other life ventures.  I had joined one association and met a member who had a property management business.  We became good friends and when I started investing in real estate and asked her for guidance in that which I didn’t know or documents I hadn’t created yet, she was more than happy to help.  She saved me a great deal of time and money. Had I not invested the time to join the association where we met, starting up my property management company would have been a great deal more difficult.