Self-Promotion

Banksy in Boston: F̶O̶L̶L̶O̶W̶ ̶Y̶O̶U̶R̶ ̶D̶R̶E̶A̶M̶S̶ CANCELLED, Essex St, Chinatown, Boston
Credit: flickr / Chris Devers

This week, I’ve seen a website launched by a person in order to try and get a job at a specific company, and another website where someone used the word “princess” in their job description. And no, they aren’t a high-class call girl.

It’s all making me a bit uncomfortable – and I know I’m not the only one. Some of the most awesome people I know don’t promote themselves at all, some don’t even have a website. There’s this feeling that it’s bragging, or inappropriate. That skills and knowledge win out.

I hope so, but only if you’re found. For example, I regularly have conversations with people about their web presence. How to install WordPress, configure it for your needs, why blogging is good for promoting your business. I talk about how search engines work, and how to improve your search rank. I have actually read and understood the Page Rank paper, which it seems like most “SEO’s” you come across haven’t… but I’m not advertising my services to improve people’s ranking on Google. Nor am I setting myself up as an expert on WordPress. But I have got a ton of goodwill and some offers of freelance work.

I’ve found that it’s a case of, if you’re found, if you have that conversation, knowledge and capability win out. So I don’t question the need to be findable. Be findable. Meet people. Have conversations.

It’s how people present themselves online. Princesses aren’t known for their work-ethic. Not that I’m in a position to, but I wouldn’t want to hire one. And I think there are several ways that a website targeted at one specific company can back-fire on you.

  • Only works if you’re a student or unemployed – if you have a current job, it’s surely a high-profile way to get fired.
  • Only works once – do it again too soon and your credibility is shot (if it isn’t already).
  • Any other company will know they were second best.
  • Are you trying to get a job, or get on Big Brother? Creating that kind of site seems more about who you are, than what you know.
  • Say you get the job, how will you react to the other employees? The ones who got the job through showing what they’re capable of, rather than through a publicity stunt?

I think there are better ways to promote yourself.

  • Take yourself seriously, if you don’t – who will?
  • Stop talking about how awesome you are and just go and be awesome. People will notice.
  • Stop talking about how busy you are and just go and create, build, do. People will notice.
  • Share what you know.
  • Give. Give. Give. Give value, give knowledge, give any help you can. People appreciate it. And often, it comes back around.

Here’s the thing – is it about quality, or quantity? Does it matter if a million people know your name, if the people who are in a position to give you what you want haven’t noticed? Or worse – noticed but for all the wrong reasons?

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