How To Advocate For Yourself

A former prosecutor gives her advice on how to make the best case for yourself.

How To Advocate For Yourself
[Photo: Flickr user Ben Sutherland]

In today’s competitive job climate, candidates not only have to put their best foot forward, they also have to be great self-advocates. Kimberly Guilfoyle knows all about making her case. The current Fox News cohost and former prosecutor is the author of a new book called Making the Case: How to Be Your Own Best Advocate. She provided her top tips for being your best self-advocate:


People can smell a fake.

In order to be a good self-advocate, you need to have self-confidence. “Nobody is going to believe what you’re saying if you don’t believe it yourself,” says Guilfoyle. If you don’t believe that you’re the best candidate, you’ll send out that vibe. “People can smell a fake,” says Guilfoyle, who knows from her days as a prosecutor that there’s nothing that sells better than authenticity. “[Jurors] can tell if you believe your case. They’re going to see that you’re hesitant if you don’t think that the circumstances add up,” she says.

Small steps set the stage for success.

That confidence you need in order to sell yourself doesn’t happen overnight, but comes over time, says Guilfoyle. Start with small steps, such as an internship, and then move to apply for a job, for example. As you meet one goal, you then move to the next. Meeting these small goals builds your confidence so you can then push for greater things.

Pretend your life is a movie trailer.

The first time you will doubt your own abilities to get what you want will probably be when you have to advocate for yourself with a stranger, says Guilfoyle. While your family or colleagues already know your abilities, a stranger who doesn’t know your history does not. To be your best advocate in this situation, Guilfoyle recommends pretending that your life is a movie trailer.

“You’ve got a minute to be able to tell your story,” she says. Choose the five or six biggest moments that make you look your very best, and make sure you hit those points. Tailor that trailer to your audience. “If I was applying for a legal position, I would highlight my experience working for the San Francisco-LA DA’s office, and I would mention some of the high-profile cases I did, but if I was looking for another television job, I would gloss over that, and I’d mention the highlight reel of what I did in television,” says Guilfoyle.

Know your audience.

It isn’t enough to know yourself–you have to know who you’re trying to appeal to as well. If you’re trying to advocate for yourself to get a new job, for example, get to know your potential employer. Acquaint yourself with the company, learn about the people you would be working for, and ask how you could help them further their goals, as well as how they could help you further yours.


About the author

Lisa Evans is a freelance writer from Toronto who covers topics related to mental and physical health. She strives to help readers make small changes to their daily habits that have a profound and lasting impact on their productivity and overall job satisfaction.