Spotlight on…

One of the best ways to get noticed in the HR world is to get yourself published.

Whether you submit an article to an industry journal, provide comment in the trade press or even write a book, getting your name in print can give you instant professional kudos.

Angela O’Connor, director of HR at the Crown Prosecution Service, has become a familiar face in the trade press.

She says she first had her views published when she joined the Society of Personnel Officers in Government Services (Socpo) as chairwoman of its equality working party.

“This gave me the opportunity to respond to inquiries from the press. I was terrified of saying the wrong thing at first, but it has really opened the door for me to work with journalists,” she says.

O’Connor says the key to getting yourself in print is to form a good relationship with the press. “If you remember that they have a job to do and deadlines to meet, they will call on you again. I always return calls and, as a result, magazines have come to rely on me more,” she says.

Mark Childs, director of Total Reward Solutions and consulting firm Outset UK, has published a number of HR books and is also frequently called on by the trade press to provide articles and comment.

He says that publishers and journalists approached him to provide copy after he got involved with industry groups. “I stumbled into publishing. I was approached because I was involved in a number of Confederation of British Industry panels, which raised my profile. Once you put your head above the parapet and write articles or provide quotes, it develops a momentum and you will be approached to provide more,” he says.

Childs says getting published can impress employers. “It gives you public accountability and shows you have self-belief, which are both important qualities for getting on in a company.

“Within the personnel function, this credibility is very important as the profession can be regarded with scepticism by some colleagues,” he says.

However, O’Connor warns that before trying to get published, you need to make sure you have something of substance to say. “There is no point giving a bland, pointless view that no-one wants to read,” she says.

And although getting published can give you credibility, you need to take the rough with the smooth.

Childs adds: “You have to be robust and take the criticism too. It can be an enormous help to your career, but remember to be considered in what you say if you want credibility.” 

Top tips for getting published

  • Write a ‘letter to the editor’ expressing your views on a topical subject
  • Approach trade magazines with an idea for an article
  • Give journalists your contact details and say you are available for comment
  • Return calls if journalists approach you
  • Join an industry group or working party to help raise your profile and get publishing contacts
  • Get advice from your communications department about speaking to the media
  • If you have an idea for a book, write a synopsis and send it to publishers of HR titles

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