Why You Need to Stop Hating Self Promotion

I counsel a lot of job seekers looking to get into the startup world.  Very quickly, I lay out the fact that getting a job comes down to two very simple things:

1) Do you know what you do?

2) Does everyone else?

That’s it. 

If people had a clear concept of what value you bring to the table and lots of people understood that value, all you’d have to do is tweet that you were a free agent and the opportunities would come to you.

The only problem is, people don’t like self promoting–and that’s what they see the second part as.  Tweeting, blogging, speaking on panels–as much as, ironically, you’re reading this blog post and don’t seem to have a terrible impression of me, you associate terms like self promotion and personal brand building as a narcisistic, somewhat douchy exercise that involves a lot of chest pounding and boastfulness.  It’s not how they want to talk about themselves.

Well, it doesn’t have to be.  

Your blog doesn’t have to be like that.  Your voice won’t be seen as full of hot air–if you stick to what you know and self edit your tone.  Can’t you do that?

If Forbes wanted you to write a weekly column on the professional world around you, wouldn’t you take it?  So why is a blog any different?

There are lots of interesting opportunities out there, but it’s incredibly hard for a startup team to go from not knowing anything about you at all to making you employee number five.  It’s exponentially easier when they’re imagining who would make a great head of customer service and they think of you right away because you write this neat blog about the tactics of making customers happy.  

If you really want to do what you love–let everyone know you love it.  Be a public student of your craft.  Show others what you bring to the table by writing down what you learned and what’s hard about what you’re still in the process of learning–and what’s changing all around you.  

Otherwise, you’re leaving your job satisfaction to the randomness and inefficiency of having a resume speak for you.  You wouldn’t hire a wedding photographer without an online portfolio, so as a knowledge worker, where’s your online portfolio?  How do people understand what you and your brain bring to the table when they search for you online?

Check out Medium and start writing what you know to be true and what questions you think your next employer needs your help to answer.