Getting Ready for Retirement? Build Your Reputation Online NOW

Jessica Swanson

January 22, 2024

My dad is a former Army MP. 

He retired from the service after 20 years at the ripe old age of 39 - 7 years younger than when I'm writing this..

He got his MBA just as he was retiring. Then he…floundered.

There was no Instagram. There was no LinkedIn. There was no internet at all to help him connect with others, network in his business-of-law-enforcement niche, or find the next right move for his career.

He did fine, ultimately, retiring fully from the workforce in good health with two government pensions. But I think he was ahead of his time.

Today’s public safety professionals can create a second fulfilling career after their first one—almost out of thin air. You are perfectly positioned to be inspirational speakers, leadership coaches, corporate trainers.

Simply because of your chosen career in law enforcement or fire safety or public service, you have life stories and on-the-job experiences that others can learn from—that they want to learn from.

And social media enables smart well-trained professionals to create a name for themselves at any stage of their career. Just starting out, top of your game, inching toward retirement.

Any time is a good time to start building your reputation online. Here’s how:

Think big. But think it through.

If you want to start building your reputation online, take some time to consider your strengths and your expertise. Ask yourself these questions:

What can you talk about for 30 minutes without notes?

What do you like to help people with?

What are you most interested in?

Find your place.

Do you like to take or share photos? You might love to spend time on Instagram. 

Are you a writer, or interested in developing your writing skills? Would you like to interact with companies and nonprofits? Create an account on LinkedIn. 

Do you prefer talking with people or demonstrating your skills? In addition to YouTube, there are tons of places to stream short videos.

Create the community you want to serve.

Public safety and service professionals know what it is to serve community, but they are not accustomed to creating it. My place is LinkedIn, and I’ve created community there by 

- setting up a profile as a creator, so people can follow my writing.

- following and connecting with people with similar interests and skills.

- posting everyday about what I do, which is content and copywriting.

- engaging with other people’s posts by commenting when I can add value.

- offering help and expertise freely to new writers.

Because I’m very clear about what I do and who I can help, people regularly reach out to ask about my services, and my business is based almost completely on people coming to me for help.

So don’t wait to start building your (good!) reputation online. While you are in the public service, you’ll bring positive visibility to your team just by being kind, generous, and engaged online. And you’ll be the building your future, which—these days—is whatever you choose it to be.

Raised in a military family, Jessica Swanson brings a literal world of experience to her clients. With more than 20 years as a business journalist, editor, and copywriter, Jessica has dedicated her life to helping organizations connect with their stakeholders through storytelling, branding, and content marketing.