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PR Tools and Tactics to Build Your Career

It’s graduation season, when job queries – and advice on landing a position – are plentiful, especially from sales, marketing, and PR professionals.

Using PR tools and tactics in your career-building efforts can help land a job or revamp a career.

In fact, PR veterans Jessica Kleiman and Meryl Weinsaft Cooper wrote a book, Be Your Own Best Publicist, full of great tips for next-gen types.

But what about the more seasoned among us?

PR tools and tactics can help there, too.

Here are some best practices from PR pros and recruiters in the field:

Revamp your online reputation.

One of the first things we do in setting up a new client program is research, including listening to what’s said about the business or brand. Of course, everyone in the job market knows the power of online reputation but nurturing a personal brand isn’t just about managing the negative. It’s about maximizing page one of search results to reflect a proactive, current positioning that communicates expertise.

Reference your authority.

To that point, you can position yourself as an expert in your area through regular blog posts or – most underused – short videos on YouTube. Start discussions on LinkedIn. Become a regular part of the community on key blogs in your area. Post in the professional groups on Quora. Use MENG more actively. Make connections but convey expertise as you do so.

Repackage yourself.

That’s what we say when a certain story pitch isn’t working. If your CV is being rejected out-of-hand, it’s time to replace dated anecdotes with fresh ones and present your skills and experience in a current context. According to recruiters, it’s best to focus on the last 15 years of your resume. And everything – from your CV to your look to your digital profile – should be up-to-date.

Create a ‘news stream.’

Just as a growing company plans its press communications to craft a larger story of growth and success, you can look at your communication to your core network the same way. Draw up an editorial calendar of planned updates to key recommenders. Push them out in appropriate and highly personalized ways.

Hone your storytelling talents.

Yes, the product turnaround, the team that jelled just in time to win the large client, or the career change can be interview gold. But most people don’t work hard enough at it. There’s some terrific advice on storytelling for business out there from experts that range from Steve Denning to Hollywood’s Peter Guber.

Media train yourself.

Storytelling mastery is difficult, as are open-ended or unexpected questions. It’s not too extreme to do what the pros do. Draw up a list of tough or open-ended questions, craft the best responses and storylines, and videotape yourself in a mock interview. Then hone your answers and anecdotes and do it again until it’s natural and seamless.

Line up recommenders and keep them in the loop.

The power of reputation lies in third party endorsement, whether implied or explicit. Many employers “pre-shop” for senior level candidates before meeting them. Make sure key colleagues, clients, mentors, and peers are in the loop and ready to say the right things if they’re asked because the most credible references are informal ones.

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About Dorothy Crenshaw

Dorothy Crenshaw is CEO and Creative Director of Crenshaw Communications, a boutique PR firm focused on marketing and reputation building strategies for consumer and technology brands under the banner "Creative Public Relations for a Digital World." She founded her firm after a 15-year career in marketing PR that included senior posts at Edelman and Grey Advertising's GCI Group.

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