Minimize the trivial

To demonstrate a point, let me tell you a bit about why you might want to hire me as a social media expert:

In my freshman year of college, I answered an ad to hang pipes and curtains in the school’s new 2,000-seat concert hall. Once the theater was set up, I remained on the payroll and worked as a stagehand, lighting designer, and eventually a stage manager.

After college, I volunteered at WGBH/Boston, the public television station, until they finally found me a paying job. Over three years, I helped raise over $7 million to fund the development of new PBS programs. This was a wonderful experience, but working for a non-profit organization was not my long-term plan, so I applied to graduate school…

Are you ready to hire me yet? Or maybe your eyes are starting to water, and you are wondering when I am going to mention something – anything – that is relevant to why I might possibly be considered an expert in social media.

Many people, especially self-made entrepreneurs and older professionals, promote themselves in this fashion. They give you a chronological story of everything they have ever done. In the process, they waste your time and prove that you should NOT hire them.

Do not make this mistake. Only tell people what they need to know, to help you accomplish what is important to you. If you want someone to volunteer in your community organization, tell them about your community projects, not about what you do for a living. If you want a media outlet to write about your new and improved product, give them an interesting angle to capture their readers’ attentions. Minimize everything else.


Want to read the rest of the book? Please buy How to Self-Promote without Being a Jerk.