You my know her as the once-anonymous voice behind DKNY’s ground-breaking social media campaign, DKNY PR Girl, but Aliza Licht has a personality all her own.
Licht, the senior vice president of Global Communications for Donna Karan International, gave a candid interview ripe with smart career advice and zingy one-liners at Fashionista.com’s second “How To Make It In Fashion” conference Friday at the Sky Line Hotel in New York.
The mother of two has been with DKNY since 1998, making her one of the most seasoned professionals in the industry. With a career advice book due to hit shelves soon and almost half a million Twitter followers, it’s safe to say the PR executive knows what it takes to market yourself on social media or nail that job interview. Here was some of her best advice:
On Social Media: Be yourself...
Licht credits her social media success to its authenticity. “It’s organic and I think that’s why it works,” she said. She said posts are always better when they’re a natural extension of yourself and aren’t overly planned -- since 2009, Licht said she’s only planned one post (on Tumblr) and hated the results, which she said felt disjointed with the other conversations she was having in real time. Since then, authenticity has been her key to success.
“I find things I like and turn them into social moments,” she said. If you’re trying to build up your own social media following or your company’s, don’t force it. Oftentimes, the less pre-determined posts are, the better.
...But understand you’re your own brand
By now, most people know that you have to be careful about what you post, tweet or Instagram. But as Licht explained, it’s still easy for people to post something in the heat of the moment that they later regret. While authenticity in posts is certainly important, there’s a line between being candid and being inappropriate.
“You have to be cognizant of what you stand for,” the social media maven said. “Sometimes I want to mouth off about something in the news, and literally will write the tweet and then delete it to try to vent a little bit ... While I tweet off-the-cuff, I think about every single tweet.”
Bottom line: Nothing online is private. Only post things you want people to associate with you, even from a “personal” account.
On the job hunt: It’s about the brand, not about you
If there’s one thing employers hate, it’s an interviewee who hasn’t done the research. When you only have a few minutes to make a lasting impression, make sure you’ve researched the company extensively. “Drop tidbits to show you know the brand,” Licht suggests. Did you see an article on the company you’re interviewing with recently? Mention it at the interview and give your take on the article. Employers want to know you’re paying attention. “There’s no excuse for not doing research,” Licht said.
This includes narrowing down your job search and applying only to the jobs you really want or are qualified for. As Licht explains, she receives tons of applications from people who want to go into fashion, but this doesn’t tell her anything about what they’re actually looking for in a career. “I work for Donna Karan, do you want to work for Donna Karan?” she said. “Do you want to go into PR or marketing? I work in PR.”
Bottom line: Know your stuff and don’t waste your interviewer’s time.
On the job: Show time and again how responsible you are
Ever get an email from a client or superior complimenting your work ethic or latest project proposal? You’ll want to save those. Licht suggests that you print out every document detailing what great work you’ve done and save them in a folder. Additionally, write down each time you do something amazing at work and put that in the folder as well. When your end-of-the-year review comes around or you’re hungry for a promotion, that folder will come in handy.
“No matter what level you’re at you have to go above and beyond,” she said. “Demonstrate your track record.” Not that you necessarily need to turn in the folder to your boss -- but just having it will give you the confidence to ask for a raise or demonstrate what an invaluable part of the team you are.
Bottom line: You have to have your own back. If you want a promotion or to take on more responsibility, make sure you can back up why you deserve it.