Be your own PR – tips on how to show your skills and attract attention

It’s no secret that the economic crisis has hit us hard, worldwide. Because of the pandemic situation due to the COVID-19, WHO has advised us to stay home and protect ourselves from exposure to a virus that, back then, was unknown to medicine. Some of us were privileged enough to be able to stay home and quarantine, while another part much less privileged couldn’t help but expose themselves and their relatives by stepping outside every day to keep their paycheck coming.

Meanwhile, people were losing their jobs once their employers couldn’t afford to keep them with the service demands as low as it was. This was also a worldwide side effect. In the US, the unemployment rate was registered as 4.9% from August to October, which means that 1.69 million people got unemployed. In Brazil, the situation follows the same pattern, with nearly 13.5 million people unemployed, with an unemployment range of 14%. Europe is also facing this unfortunate mishap, with an increasing unemployment range that reaches out to 8,4% in October for the Euro Area. No need to go any further with numbers: we already know how bad is the economic situation.

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COVID-19 global crisis was 10 times worse than the world financial crisis of 2007-2008. We do not know when will the unemployment range in 2020 end, although we know it may be extended until after 2021, we also know that the opportunities out there will not stop – they will be drastically lower, but they will not disappear completely. This financial crisis represents a need to adapt to new possibilities of keeping the economy rolling regardless of limitations like this one we have just gone through. We can definitely expect huge changes in the way we make business, but at this very moment, things are still a bit unclear for provisions like this. It’s a waiting game, but we cannot just sit and wait – we have things to get done.

It doesn’t matter if you are unemployed, employed but looking for something else, or a business leader looking to improve the current situation: PR can help you out. Stay positive, and let me show you how 🙂

For those looking for a new opportunity

I know it’s hard to find a job opportunity lately, and when we do, for most of us the answer is thanks, but no thanks. Everyone gets that disappointing e-mail rejecting our workforce, it’s inevitable. Truth is: it’s not your fault. I could ramble here for hours and hours asking you to keep positive, saying that the right job will find you at the right time, but ain’t nobody got time for that. Let’s cut this off and move straight to what matters.

Reputation Management

If you haven’t read my beginner’s guide to PR yet, I strongly recommend that you do, it will make this article a lot more understandable. On the other hand, if you already did, you know that we are talking about reputation and relationship, generally.

How do people talk about you? How do you talk about yourself?

I propose you a mind exercise: what would your former colleagues say about you? If you have the guts to go and ask them for their sincere opinion, I suggest you go ahead and do so. However, this is not an ego trip. If you want precise information that will actually help you out on this, the first thing you have to do is be open to negative perspectives and embrace them as something you have to work on; second, don’t be a child. If you only ask your besties at the office, you won’t be getting anywhere. Look out for your boss’s opinion, your boss’s boss too (if you can), the HR crew, your colleagues in another sector of the company… It’s a lot of work, but it will get you some nice and important information.

Here are some ideas for your survey:

  • What do you consider to be my strongest point?
  • What do you consider to be my weakest point?
  • How or what would you suggest for me to improve my productivity?
  • Have I ever astonished you with an idea or attitude? If yes, which one and why?

Depending on your career, you can be more specific with the questions, but keep in mind that you don’t want people to feel pressured or waste more than 10 minutes with it. They are helping you out, be respectful with their time and willingness.

Now that you are aware of your reputation, it’s time to fix whatever needs to be fixed and improve whatever is good enough to make you stand out. Keep in mind that companies often seek for our former employers for some references on ourselves, so relationship management is also a tool to be considered. Also, do not forget (ever) about your social media. It doesn’t matter if you are active on the internet under a crazy nickname, people will track you down and if you say any stupidity big enough to be compromising the company, you will be out.

Hands-on, business-oriented

If you followed my suggestion, you probably have some information to work with already. Have you ever heard about the SWOT analysis? If not, let me introduce it to you quickly.

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SWOT analysis is a very powerful tool that gives you a whole perspective of what you have to offer. It will help you develop your business strategy by mapping your strength, your weakness, opportunities, and threats. Noah Parsons wrote an article with more information about it and with a downloadable template for you to start it right away. I definitely recommend reading the full article he wrote after you are done with this one because it might also give you some inspiration on the questions you will be asking your former colleagues.

With the SWOT analysis done, you will have better awareness of what you have to offer and develop your approach to your favor when it comes to visibility to the companies. Just like when you are in charge of PR for a certain company you have to gather as much information as you can about it, including its business secrets, when working on your personal PR, this also has to happen. Getting to know your professional profile deeply will lead you to a better outcome. It’s all about being strategic.

What you have and what they seek

The next task you have to do is understanding the needs of the market you want to get into. Sort of like I wrote about when I described Marketing and PR differences, you have to understand what does your next employer needs and why you are a better fit for them.

Start by researching the top soft skills of 2020. I am assuming you already have the hard skills you need for the job you want, and if you don’t… Well, begin there. Soft skills trends will guide you on what to learn next, so you can stand out in hiring processes. Do not rely on just one source, keep looking until you covered up a good amount of soft skills needs in your market and go work on it.

Then, you will need to add this up to your resume because you want people to know you are good at it. A clear and clean resume, with assertive information, will help your target companies to understand what do you have to offer them. It is also a good idea to work with job search engines, such as LinkedIn or Indeed. Those sites will give you a good hint of what companies are looking for.

Whether you are building a resume or a LinkedIn profile, it’s a good idea to use SEO (search engine optimization) in order to be positioned in high rankings. If you are not familiar with what SEO means, let me know in the comment section below and I will write more about it.

When a company seeks out a new employee, they will search for keywords in LinkedIn, for an instance, and if you know how to build your profile there and keep it relevant, you are in advantage and with higher chances they might consider you for the job position. A good way to do it is a quick research on the platform for someone with the same career as you. If you are an engineer, lookup for “people” related to engineer on the search bar and analyze the top profiles. Read it, understand their backgrounds, their skills, how do they describe their tasks, their experiences, and which words do they use when describing themselves. You don’t want to copy their profile, but you want to be inspired by it.

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Got an interview? Good job!

Needless to say that all this work you have done won’t do a thing for you if you don’t know how to work it in front of other people. I can’t stress enough that you have to know yourself, know your market, and act properly. This is why your researches cannot be shallow – dig it up!

It also won’t be any help if your body language is insecure. There are several coaches on YouTube that will teach you how to work your posture, and this is very important. Pick one that has a connection to you and learn it. You will be evaluated not only by your words and experience but also by how you present yourself. Now here comes important information you should be well aware of: knowing that you are good at what you do is not arrogance.

I have seen many people, myself included, that have struggled with staying humble and diminishing themselves because they were too afraid of sounding arrogant. When you do that, you know how you sound like? Insecure. Embrace that you are good in what you do, but state that you also have much more to learn and that you believe that the company interviewing you is, to the best of your analysis, the best teacher you can get. Show interest in growing with them by telling them that they will also win a good asset by hiring you.

Once again, this message will not be spread properly if you say it but don’t show it. Body language is another key to getting noticed.

Either in an interview or just gathering with people, make your network work for you – let people know that you are looking for an opportunity. There’s no shame in that because you know and they know how much of a treasure you are, right?

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Keep in mind that getting rejected is all part of this. Sometimes we make it, sometimes we don’t. Never let yourself down because you got rejected. Instead, reply to the e-mail with a polite answer saying how grateful you felt for even being considered for the job. Say that you would love to hear about new opportunities, and wish them good luck with the candidate they hired (actually mean it, don’t say it in a jealous way). If you feel comfortable, you can also ask for some feedback and use this in your favor as well for your next interviews.

Adapt this article to your reality

This is extremely important.

Please, be aware that I am not considering extreme situations for this article. If you are in the imminence of getting evicted, if your family is starving, or any other extreme situation you might be dealing with, adapt the information here to what you need to do.

I am sorry that many of us are living on the edge lately and I truly hope things will be better soon. Until then, we are not in a position to chose and be picky – accept that you too can find the job that you want, but focus on solving the bigger problem first. Also, do not be afraid to ask for help. You would be amazed by how many good and kind people are out there to help us out. Keep the faith.

For those looking to improve their current assets

If you are an employer struggling with your business, PR is also there for you. However, I will be talking more about it in the future.

If you want to learn more, you can check the former articles I wrote. I am positive that they will be very helpful! If you want some specific information, don’t be shy and let me know in the comments below. I would love to be there for you 😉

Have fun! 🙂

Published by flaviastamato

Publicist and writer, a citizen of the world trying to free herself from writing cliches (but it's so tempting....)

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