Archive for February, 2010

Feb
25

Using Social Media to Find a Job

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Guest post by Abby Schoffman, Peppercom intern

Gone are the days when a private online existence was a good thing. If you’re looking for a job in PR, a digital presence is a must. Some like to call it personal branding. As someone who spent much of 2009 looking for an entry-level position, I know how important social media is to the job search. While you’re busy researching a company to prepare for an interview, they’re doing the same to get a feel for you. You need to make sure what they find represents you well.

If you’re not already developing your brand online, here are four ways to start using social media to benefit your job search:

1. Start tweeting. I’ve met and interacted with PR people from all across the country thanks to Twitter – people I would never have had the opportunity to talk with if it weren’t for social media. Twitter is a casual, no-pressure way to network. I’ve found job opportunities, been able to connect with people at companies I’ve applied to and even landed interviews because of Twitter.

If you’re looking for a job in the communication industry, it’s time to get on Twitter. Once you’re there, use your bio to let people know you’re looking for a job and your link to send people to your personal blog (assuming it’s appropriate), LinkedIn profile or online portfolio. (For more tips on using Twitter to find a job, check out this post.)

2. Follow and comment on industry blogs. PR is an industry where it’s important to know the latest news and trends. Blogs are a great way to stay informed and continue learning. Many PR bloggers have built a community of followers on their blogs, and the comment section is a great place to be involved in an insightful conversation.

You may not know where to start when looking for blogs to subscribe to, but if you’ve started following smart PR people on Twitter, check out the links in their bios. Most PR agencies also have some sort of blog, so be sure to look for those, too. Following PRiscope is how I found out about Peppercom and eventually landed my internship here.

3. Start your own blog. Blogging is a great way to showcase your writing skills and show that you know what’s going on in the industry. If you can’t dedicate the time needed to start your own blog, ask to guest post on one of your favorite PR blogs or become a contributing blogger. Having posts to share with potential employers is a great way to supplement your traditional portfolio.

4. Update your LinkedIn profile. That’s assuming you already have one, because you should. More and more recruiters are using LinkedIn as a search tool to find job candidates, so it’s important that your profile is complete. Use keywords, share links to your other sites and take advantage of the application that lets you feed your blog to your profile. Look at it as an opportunity to include anything you didn’t have space for on your traditional resume.

LinkedIn is also a great place for you to do research. It’s easy to find information about companies you’re interested in, their employees, the HR contact your e-mail should be addressed to, etc. You can also see if someone you know is connected to someone you want to know, which is a valuable tool when looking for a job.

(Another note about LinkedIn – I recommend joining @heatherhuhman‘s group, #PRintern | #EntryPR. Heather does a good job pulling in PR job postings from all over the web.)

With these tips, you’ll be more in control of how you’re projecting yourself to potential employers. And the more you put into the digital space, the better the odds that those potential employers will find something that backs up the skills and qualifications listed on your resume.

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Guest post by Stacey Davidson

This semester, I chose to take a public relations ethics class to round out my education at the University of Florida. I began the class not knowing what to expect and now, only four weeks into the semester, I can tell that this is one of the most beneficial classes I have taken in school. What do you think of when you think of ethics? A lot of people will say doing the right thing, or following the law, or even doing the right thing when it means not following the law. To me, ethics is about going above and beyond what is expected, to give back more than you were given, and to treat your publics with more respect than they deserve. Ethics in public relations is something that we cannot fake, both as students and one day as practitioners.

One way that ethics is becoming part of the mainstream is through corporate social responsibility. What was once a small PR tactic to encourage companies to give a donation to charity or provide added benefits to their employees, has now become a competitive business advantage for some companies (e.g. Starbucks) and an entire business model for others (e.g. Tom’s shoes). Corporations are expected to give back to the communities they work in as well as the global economy through sustainability and philanthropy.

Companies with high perceived CSR are more likely to have loyal customers as well as loyal employees and potential employees. Studies show that the average prospective employee would rather work for a socially responsible company, even if it means they receive less pay (the study said that on average people are willing to give up more than $14,000 each year in salary to work for a socially responsible company they respect.) In my job search this semester, CSR is one of the first things I research about a company. My goal is to work for a company whose ethical values mirror my own, because ultimately as an employee I am attaching my reputation to the company’s and vice versa. I want to be associated with a company that is highly respected as much as a company only wants to hire upstanding, ethical citizens.

What do you think? Is CSR something you look for in a potential employer?

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