Sunday, May 10, 2009

Self Promotion Graduation Style

Self promotion is never comfortable. And why should it be? The act itself goes against our most basic family-taught values: Humility, selflessness, community. To truly embody these qualities when trying to get a job, promotion, or merely make a business connection is to forfeit to the other guy - the guy that steps up and says, "I think I'm rather spectacular and here's why."

The truth is that self promotion is absolutely necessary and yet most of us hate to do it. My solution to this dreaded necessity: humor.

My example: Graduation

I graduated* from college yesterday. I did this dressed in a black gown and mortar board among 438 graduates of the same attire. My parents were never going to find me in that crowd and I was never going to be able to spot myself in pictures in the future. So, I decided to become a billboard.

With yellow electrical tape and a whole lot of glee, I crafted a message on my hat for the world to read:


In these two little words I showed three things about myself:

1. I'd like a job.
2. I utilize the resources I have and know how to use media (see image, courtesy of the the Burlington Free Press).
3. I have a sense of humor and don't take myself too seriously.

This was my 4-hour attempt at self promotion and it paid off in my networking. I spoke to people I never knew, got business cards, and managed to get enough pictures taken of me to make my eyes go wonky. This was my style of self promotion: Short, sweet, and to the point.

Yes, self promotion is not comfortable. But as long as you can find places where you can bring a bit of yourself into the process, it can be bearable. And even a little fun, but don't tell anyone I said that.

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