Promoting yourself in a crowded job market doesn't come naturally to everyone but can mean the difference between advancement and unemployment. Here are ideas for being your best advocate.

Dodging land mines. Self-promotion can be a big challenge, "but during times of economic uncertainty and job cuts, you might need to promote yourself and your work to stay employed," says Caty Everett, the expert being interviewed in a video on business-oriented BENT. The video attempts to warn shy people of self-promotion land mines, especially the danger of thinking that getting yourself noticed at work is "just" office politics.

Class president. Wired magazine explains self-promotion with a few short remarks from a student who ran for class president (he moved fast and had a catchy URL). They also got Twitter heroes to say (in 140 characters or less) how to get and keep attention in a crowd. Another contributor tells how to manage a popular blog (he claims to sleep only 4 hours, 24 minutes per night).

Be a brand. Promoting yourself is about building your image as a "brand," not tearing down other people.

Be an expert. At About.com, Laura Lake, the site's "marketing guide," explains the minimum requirements for promoting yourself as an expert. Of course you sort of need to really be one, but the bar may be lower than you think. The key is being ahead of the curve in your work field, and making yourself known, especially in your personal and online networks. "Don't be afraid to put your voice out there, including your opinion," Lake writes. She adds, "To stay an expert, you must stay ahead of the game; nap time is over."

Pitch yourself. The "pitch wizard" here will step you through a few questions and then tell you how to promote yourself in a 15-second statement that is supposed to be the verbal equivalent of a foot in the door. Give it a try. You may be more interesting than you think.

Contact staff writer Reid Kanaley at 215-854-5114 or rkanaley@phillynews.com.