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Self-Promotion Power Plays | Layoff to LAUNCH An Inbetweener's Playbook

Series Overview

Layoff to Launch is a blog series, comprised of six articles:

  1. Introduction
  2. Day One: Triage
  3. Personal Branding
  4. Résumé Strategies
  5. Self-Promotion Power Plays
  6. Dealing with Ageism

Proven Play-Action Strategies

Introduction

As the founder of The Roster creative staffing agency, I engage with designers and creative artists daily. The advice I’m about to share may be tailored toward visual designers and creatives, but its principles are applicable across various disciplines and roles.

In today's job market, effective self-promotion is essential for career growth. Mastering this skill can significantly enhance your visibility and success. Below are three proven strategies from my own self-promotion playbook, refined through every stage of my career.

  1. Social Power Play: The LinkedIn Effect

    People are are drawn to individuals who have it going on. Being actively involved in work, even on a pro bono basis, showcases your value to potential employers.

    At The Roster, we urge all our talent, especially designers, to stay active and regularly showcase their latest projects online, primarily on LinkedIn. This platform is essential, especially during job transitions. By consistently sharing your work, you enhance your visibility and credibility, highlighting professionalism, relevance, and a steadfast commitment to your craft..

    We’ve seen this strategy work well for designers like Von Glitschka, Brian Sykes, Nick Ugre, and Morten Rand-Hendriksen — all of whom have successfully leveraged LinkedIn to enhance their careers. Brian Sikes’ year-long streak of daily LinkedIn posts, documented in his article “I posted 447 Days Straight on LinkedIn and This is What I Found,” is a testament to the benefits of consistent online engagement.

  2. From Stale to Stellar: The Portfolio Power Play

    Many designers, especially mid-career, middle management talent, face the challenge of having a dated portfolio limited to their previous employer's work. However, there's a simple way to quickly expand your portfolio's scope through a short term, strategically focused design sprint performing pro bono work for startups and nonprofits.

    You may be thinking, “What? How am I going to manage that, in addition to a job search?” Fortunately, it’s actually far easier than you realize.

    Here's how it works:

    Sign up for a creative crowdsourcing platform like 99Designs, where approval isn't needed to participate.

    Then for the next week — longer if you choose — select an interesting daily assignment to show off your talent and address gaps in your portfolio. Allocate a fixed amount of time each day to create and submit your design solution. Within a matter of days, you'll have numerous fresh, relevant, portfolio pieces showcasing your ability to solve design problems for actual companies.

    Bonus: If any of your designs are selected, you’ll earn some money and claim a client.

    Remember, crafting a portfolio is about quality, not quantity, and your portfolio's quality will be judged by its weakest piece. So be self-critical and highly selective, sharing only your best work to leave a lasting impression.

  3. Power Move: Sometimes you just need to show up!

    In today's competitive job market, sometimes the most effective strategy is simply showing up. Whether it's delivering your resume in person or seizing unexpected opportunities, being bold and fearless – which doesn’t come naturally for most of us — can set you apart from the crowd.

    Take, for instance, the story of how I landed a role with Nissan. It started when I took the initiative to connect with someone from the company on LinkedIn and eventually we met up for coffee. This simple act of reaching out and showing up led to a recommendation for a job opening and ultimately landed me a position as the Interactive Account Manager for the Infinity luxury brand.

    Similarly, when I had an innovative idea to collaborate with the star of American Pickers, Mike Wolfe, I didn't wait for the perfect moment. Instead, I seized an opportunity to pitch my idea in person when he was signing autographs at his Antique Archeology store in Nashville. By showing up and being proactive, I was able to make a lasting impression and secure a business partnership.

    My last story involves one of my sons, who was a product manager at a large SaaS company considering Salesforce adoption. Due to his prior Salesforce experience, he was invited as an observer to a key meeting with Salesforce executives and the company's C-Suite. After the Salesforce team's standard presentation, they were dismissed and there was an opportunity for the internal team to share feedback. After an awkward silence, my son voiced his opinion that the presentation was rather vanilla, lacking any customization for their specific business needs. This candid feedback caught the attention of senior leadership, ultimately leading to his appointment as the Salesforce transformation leader, where he oversaw a team of over 70 developers.

    I share these stories to highlight the importance of being creative and taking action to reach your goals. Sometimes, all it takes is showing up — or speaking up — to break through the noise and stand out from the competition. So don’t be afraid to take chances in your pursuit of career advancement. After all, you never know where showing up could lead you.

Conclusion

In closing, remember that your journey from layoff to launch is a testament to, and fueled by, your resilience and determination. The tips in this article aren't just about self-promotion; they're about empowering you to navigate your career path confidently. They're designed to boost your visibility, polish your portfolio, and help you stand out.

Don't be content to wait for opportunities to come your way. Be proactive. Remember, it's your story, your confidence, and your creativity that will pave the way to success!

Join the Conversation

What are your favorite self promotion strategies? Be sure to share them in the LinkedIn comments.

Next installment

In the next and final installment of this series, we’ll face down the 800lb gorilla in the interview room that anyone over 40 has likely already met: Dealing with Ageism.

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