As social media and the notion of ‘personal branding’ becomes career management de rigueur, one of my favourite finds this year was Jessica Kleiman’s & Meryl Weinsaft Cooper’s Be Your Own BEST Publicist.
Written by New York publicists, the book shares insider tips on how to use PR principles to build your reputation, make yourself indispensable and promote yourself more effectively.
While there are plenty of great takeaways from the book, I think the following are fundamental for professionals managing their careers:
Communication is the key
It is important to know your career goal. (For more on this, see my earlier post Career Change Due Diligence). If you’re seeking a job or a promotion, you must be able to articulate what you bring to the position and/or the company. You need what PR pros call a ‘hook’, or what I refer to as your ‘magic fairy dust’, ie what differentiates you from other candidates. Make sure your resume highlights these points upfront. If you get to the next stage, these differentiators offer the interviewer a way to connect and could help you stand out from the crowd.
It’s all about who you know (and who knows you)
Networking accounts for up to 80% of all jobs or consulting opportunities landed at executive level. Put simply, we all prefer to recruit someone we know or who has been recommended. Get out and start connecting. While social media has become increasingly important in career management, it’s not enough. You must press the flesh and break out of your comfort zone of familiar faces. It’s important to keep an open mind and expand your circle as widely as possible to maximise all opportunities.
Avoid making assumptions about people. You never know who they know, or what they may know, to assist you with your career goal. Once you have those contacts, try to ‘lightly’ keep in touch on a regular basis, and when you need them the least. Think about networking as learning, sharing and helping others. Networks must be nutured and valued. It’s not a quick fix, it’s a long term investment. All good things come to those who wait!
Toot your own horn (but not loo loudly)
Companies look for employees who offer a return on investment, so ask yourself: What can I offer? Do I, or am I, willing to go beyond my job description? Am I worth what I’m being compensated? (or am I worth more?) How productive and innovative am I, and can I be more so? How do my work and ideas add to the bottom line? Are my contributions essential? Do your own internal due diligence to get the evidence and answers to these questions. Once you have them, you are armed to communicate and demonstrate your value, and position yourself for that next great career opportunity.
For more inspiration, you can follow Jessica and Meryl on Twitter @BestPublicist.