When it comes to getting the word out about YOU and how you’re the best person for “the job” (or any job) nothing beats a good publicity campaign. Trouble is who in their right mind is going to hire a publicist just to get a job?
As it turns out, you don’t need to. When you think about it, all a publicist does (at a base level) is use public mindshare tools to tout how great their clients are. You can do the same thing for yourself in preparation for (and while) looking for a job. It just takes a few extra steps from what you’re probably already doing, but those extra steps can mean the difference between getting a job sooner rather than later.
So in addition to resume writer, job placement coordinator (i.e. head hunter), and website builder (for your own website), here’s how you can add “publicist” to the ever growing array of hats you have to wear in order to become gainfully employed these days.
1) Develop Your Own Style
Nobody knows you better than you. That’s both a blessing and a curse. A publicist knows how to magnify the best of you while minimizing the less appealing parts, and what emerges from that is your personal style.
So how do you find that kind of objective clarity about yourself? The best way is to ask your stylish friends to honestly evaluate your current style, starting with whether or not you even have one. The idea behind good style is to attractively (and appropriately) stand out from the pack without looking over-the-top or scary. Guys should own at least one lightweight, two-piece wool suit in black or gray, and ladies should invest in a black or navy pencil skirt, with coordinating jacket, and a light colored blouse. Everyone needs to keep the jewelry to a minimum, and a good haircut and polished shoes are a must. But most of all, dress for your body type. Never wear tight or baggy clothing, and when in doubt err on the conservative side.
Using these guidelines select clothing, accessories, a hairstyle, and (for ladies) make-up that flatters your coloring, body shape and personality. The bottom line? Feel comfortable while looking appropriate and professional.
2) Make Your Own Brand
Whether you already have a job or you’re still looking creating your own personal brand is a great way to get your name in the public consciousness in a positive way. And since it’s your brand, you control what people think. For example, if you already have a job align your goals with those of your department (or job) so when co-workers think of that department (or job) they think of you. Also, make a conscious effort to handle problems a certain way: calm in the face of disaster; creative when there appears to be no hope; helpful when everyone else quits. Soon you’ll be known for your strengths and abilities, which comes in handy when promotions roll around.
To create your own brand while you’re looking for a job, start a blog and write about things in your industry that employers would find interesting or useful. Paint yourself as an expert, which isn’t a stretch if you just graduated from college and you’re up on state-of-the-art tools and techniques. Also, don’t hesitate to organize networking parties where you ask your friends to invite friends who’d benefit from getting to know you and your circle. Make yourself known as the person who brings people together, and watch how quickly your network grows.
3) Become a Social (Media) Butterfly
Don’t just sign up for Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, Plaxo, etc., but also understand how to use social media as a promotional tool. We don’t care that you’re hungry so you ate a bagel, so don’t tweet that. Instead develop a personal social media strategy and share that with the world.
There are a million books and websites out there to help you figure out how to effectively use social media, but a popular one with good reviews on Amazon.com is Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day by Dave Evans. This book provides step-by-step guides to getting started, plus supplies hands-on tutorials that are designed to get you going on a personal marketing campaign. Being productively active on social media is probably the number one thing you can do to publicize yourself, and it doesn’t cost a dime.
4) Be Your Own Agent
This one is usually the hardest personal PR option for people because it means tooting your own horn. According to the popular book Be Your Own Best Publicist by Jessica Kleiman and Meryl Weinsaft Cooper the Top 10 Guiding PR Principles start with communicate clearly and be fearless. When you’re in public and you get into a conversation with someone on the bus, or at a coffee shop, or even in the restroom, you have to be prepared to talk yourself up in a way that isn’t obtrusive. (In other words, be outgoing, but don’t be obnoxious.) Start by creating a three-sentence paragraph that briefly explains your experience and goals. If they want to hear more, be prepared to continue. At the very least hand them a business card that gives your contact info and website address (yes, you need a website – it goes without saying, like having business cards). That way, if they’re really interested they can go to your website later and learn all about you at their leisure.
Being your own publicist isn’t easy, but it’s not impossible, either. In a competitive job market it’s essential you stand out from the crowd in a positive manner. Once you do your competition dims in comparison and suddenly YOU’RE doing the hiring – which is much more pleasant than the other way around.