PR Pros Share Secrets On Getting To The Next Level



jessicaandmerylPR pros Jessica Kleiman (left) and Meryl Weinsaft Cooper wrote Be Your Own Best Publicist to help job seekers get noticed, hired and promoted in a tough economy. The pair offered us some key advice from their book to help you stand out and shine.

How can a woman promote herself at her organization?  In her industry? What are some concrete things she can do?

First, have your key messages down. Know how to talk about your company and/or your accomplishments in a concise and engaging way.  Be prepared to make your elevator pitch anywhere — whether it’s in a boardroom or on an airplane. Next, forget the phrase “That’s not my job.” You can promote yourself by raising your hand and taking on additional responsibilities. Someone who goes above and beyond the baseline of what’s expected will stand out in a good way. Connect with people in person and online. Try to get involved in industry organizations and attend events to stay up on the news and remain familiar with the key players.

How can a woman give out the signal that she is ready for the next level?

Do your research — understand what is required to take that coveted next step. Then take the time to compile evidence as to why you deserve a promotion (i.e. pull numbers to show your positive impact on the business, collect testimonials from clients and colleagues about the value you add) before scheduling a meeting with superiors. Practice your pitch for the new position before walking into that room.

How important is tooting your own horn—how do you do it? What if you feel awkward about “bragging”? How can a woman overcome that?

Toot your own horn, just not too loudly. Strike a balance between passive and pesky. It’s tricky, especially if you feel awkward about touting your accomplishments. One effective way is not only to pat yourself on the back, but also to pat others harder. When working on a team, don’t just highlight the good work you are doing, include and promote co-workers’ contributions as well.

If you’re shy, how can you better assert yourself and put yourself out there?

It’s imperative to push through the discomfort. Networking online is all the rage — shy people can start by reaching out to others through LinkedIn, Twitter and the like. That said, industry events or cocktail parties are important for making face-to-face connections. Go prepared with key messages. We recommend making it like a game: when at a cocktail party, commit to getting three new business cards before leaving. Remember that most people are open to meeting new contacts — it helps them as much as it helps you.

What kind of paper follow-up do you need after an introduction or interview?

Send an email within 24 hours of the conversation; then a handwritten note within the week of the meeting; and make a follow-up phone call or email two weeks after the meeting if you haven’t yet heard back. If you opt for the latter, it’s always good to dig around for some industry news or relevant article tied to your conversation that you can share to show that you are still engaged.

More information about Jessica and Meryl and their book at

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