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  • Olia Kerzhner

How to use PR/FAQ to shape your own career

This is Part 3 in the PR/FAQ Primer series, you can find the rest of the articles on LinkedIn 

By now you hopefully have a solid understanding of how to write a PR/FAQ for any of your business proposals, and why you should do so.

In this article, I will talk about how to use a PR/FAQ specifically for growing your own career. 

Writing PR/FAQ for your next career step

Whether you’d like to be promoted to the next level, get more responsibility in your current job, or make a lateral move to a different role, the first step is to get the buy-in and support of your current or prospective manager.  You will need to explain to them what change you desire, and why it will be good for the company/business. 

Doesn’t that sound like the perfect job for a PR/FAQ?  Of course it does!  Just think how much stronger your case will be when you write an official document, and you put it in terms of why it’s good for the business.  So much better than bursting into your manager’s office and demanding a promotion because Jimmy just got promoted, and you’re much smarter than Jimmy (not that you would ever do that, of course).

Writing a PR/FAQ for your desired career change has the following advantages:

  • It immediately showcases you as a serious professional, who knows how to effectively use powerful business tools like the PR/FAQ.

  • It takes the murky personal aspect out of the conversation – once you have a PR/FAQ, you and your manager together are calmly evaluating a clear business proposal, not getting lost in the vagueness of your personal ambitions and desires.

  • If you belong to the vast majority of folks who find it difficult discussing their own strengths and advocating for themselves, especially in a conversation, you will find it much easier to write it in a document ahead of time, and then simply hand the document to your manager to read. 

  • PR/FAQ is ideally suited to showcase your merits because it is structured to explain what value you will bring to customers, rather than talking in general about how awesome you are.  All of us can have a touch of the Impostor Syndrome when it comes to asking for more scope, and PR/FAQ is an excellent aid to sidestep that.

I know from my own experience how powerful this approach is.  When I decided I wanted to switch from being a Principal Engineer to a full-time Executive Coach within Engineering at Amazon, it was a very long shot.  At that time, there were fewer than 10 internal Executive Coaches in all of Amazon, and they were in the HR org.  I wanted to stay in Engineering and work with Principals, something for which there was no precedent.  I was proposing a completely new program, and a completely new role for myself. 

I was lucky to have high-level support and a solid reputation to be able to present this to my VP, but what helped him make his decision in less than 15 minutes was a well-written PR/FAQ.  The coaching program was a completely novel idea to him, but it was presented in a clear familiar format, so he could immediately grasp it, ask a few questions that weren’t covered by the FAQ, and greenlight it on the spot.  We were done with our 30 minute meeting in 20 minutes, and I had a new job.

PR/FAQ is a magic wand that will help move your career forward.  Do not hesitate to use it to propose your own career moves!


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