Fresh Ideas from BurrellesLuce
By Sydney Rodgers*
Theresa Payton is a notable expert on leading cyber security and IT strategy. As former White House CIO from May 2006 until September 2008, she is one of the leading security specialists in the nation. Payton is the CEO of Fortalice Solutions and co-founder of Dark Cubed. Both companies provide security, risk and fraud consulting services to various organizations.
At the recent Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) International Conference, Payton compared potential security risk to connecting a talking Barbie to unknown WIFI sources. According to Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC), in 2015 over 169 million personal records were exposed due to breaches. With the internet playing such a large role in daily life I wanted Payton’s insight on how to structure your brand. Below Payton gives us tips on how to expand your assets without putting them at risk.
How does someone determine their most valuable assets?
Your most valuable asset(s) is that information that you absolutely cannot afford to lose. It’s the most critical asset that you need to safeguard and protect either for yourself or your organization. Lots of digital assets are considered valuable but the top 3 digital assets that cyber criminals target before and during a large event are:
- The schedules of notable people and their security detail assignments;
- Ability to spoof or fake credentials online or in person; and/or
- Stealing personally-identifiable information or the right credentials to access payment information and bank accounts
What trends do you see in breaches of security?
Over the course of my career, one item rings true over and over again. Today’s technology, by design, is open so it can be easily updated. That open design also means that a breach is inevitable, but how you plan to respond to one is not. If you create and store data, there will be cyber criminals waiting to pounce to copy it, take it, post it, ransom it, or destroy it. Offensive strategies with defensive mitigating controls work, but a purely defensive strategy is a losing strategy. For every defense you put in the path of a cyber criminal, just like a squirrel after an acorn, they will relentlessly try to circumvent your defenses to grab it.
As we live in today’s world, it would be completely negligent to only think in terms of physical or digital security as two separate entities. We discussed this in great detail at the White House that a security strategy must dovetail the two together, physical and digital, and that a one sided approach was doomed to fail.
What things should someone take into consideration when looking into cyber security?
An area often overlooked or widely misunderstood is the use of open source intelligence, also known as OSINT, as part of the overall strategy. 70% of data breach victims indicate that they were alerted they had a breach from someone outside their own organization. That stunning statistic reinforces why every company should target your own organization, as if you are the adversary. This approach helps you identify the information leaking out of your vendor’s connections to your data, through your own employees, or technology, before cyber criminals use that same intelligence to launch an attack against your organization.
Digitally, you can use OSINT tools to identify everything you can about the technology and people that work at your organization. You can also use OSINT to see if your sensitive data has leaked online. Physically, you can use an OSINT technique to digitally geo fence a specific and physical land area and monitor the digital traffic occurring that mentions the location. In the case of fighting terrorism, private sector companies and law enforcement can geo fence critical infrastructure, significant events, and venues and then monitor to identify terrorist capabilities, sympathizers, motivation, flash points and intentions through various OSINT tools.
What apps would you suggest someone use to monitor their protection?
Some apps that I use everyday are: Privacy Badger and Ghostery to protect my online browsing from 3rd party marketing firms and other snoops. I also use Threema to protect sensitive text messages.
Should there be differences in cyber security for personal and professional?
How you think about protecting your privacy and sensitive digital assets in your personal and work life are the same. Most of the principals that you apply in your personal life should go to the office with you and vice versa. Please make sure you are familiar with the tighter restrictions at work that are typically agreed to within employee agreements that you have signed so you don’t unknowingly break rules or put your company’s most sensitive assets at risk.
*Sydney Rodgers is a student at Southeast Missouri State University. She has always been interested in the communication process and social interaction and is currently studying public relations. In her spare time Sydney likes to keep up with current events and is AVP of Communication for her Public Relations Student Society chapter.
Dan began with referencing a portion of United State Constitution, Article 1, Section 8, Congress shall have the power… “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries”. This is what sets up what copyright is, however in that statement is an inherent conflict, Dan commented.
We are all pretty familiar with the concept of Title 17, Subsection 106 of the United States code. This is the part that grants the owner of the copyrighted work the exclusive rights to do and authorize reproductions, copies, derivatives, etc. However, it’s Subsection 107 that tends to create confusion—the limitations on exclusive rights—fair use. There are four specific factors, that work together, which must be considered to determine fair use.
- The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
- The nature of the copyrighted work;
- The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
- The effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.
I can relate if you’re thinking, “I’m not a lawyer, how am I supposed to be expected to interpret this?” Legal-ese makes my head spin, but the way Dan explains it, with the examples he uses, helps it all to make a little more sense so I highly recommend you check out this short (under 30 minutes) webinar replay.
He focuses on the two points that we, as PR professionals, are most likely to be affected by. In addition, he references two specific copyright-specific court rulings on recent media monitoring cases. (Side note: BurrellesLuce has a copyright compliant article program and agreements with most major publishers as well as individual titles.)
- Purpose and character of use. Dan says the real defining question is: is the content used in a different manner or for a different purpose from that which was originally copyrighted? He read a portion of a 1990 legal article, written by two judges, dealing with whether the use is “transformative” (which is a valid defense). There is a lot of gray area here and it’s no wonder there’s so much confusion surrounding fair use! Dan claims that fair use is part of the law but some claim it’s only lawful in that it offers a defense to the end user should the use be challenged by the copyright holder.
- Effect of the use upon the potential market or value. This is a little easier to understand. Dan says the defining question here is: what is the effect of the use on the copyright owner’s ability to exploit the value of their original work. In other words, is how you’re using it taking potential money out of the owner’s pocket?
Dan cautions that fair use is based on market conditions—as the market changes, so may the judicial rulings.
Webinar moderator, Johna Burke, who’s also AMEC North American Co-Chair and BurrellesLuce CMO, wrapped up with questions to Dan from the participants. He finished-up with some straight-talk about why you need to know these things, the most compelling of which was “so you don’t get sued” (but he had a lot other great answers as well).
I’ve enjoyed learning more about measurement (and copyright) the past couple weeks and hope you have too! As always, please feel free to share your thoughts and/or experience with others here in the comments section.
PR News Measurement Hall of Famer, Marianne Eisenmann, recently led a #AMECMM webinar to discuss how the emphasis on multi-channel marketing has blurred the lines between paid, earned, shared and owned (PESO) information sources. As we know, consumers now engage with companies or brands in many different ways—across multiple platforms and channels. As a result, measuring requires a more integrated approach, such as the AMEC Integrated Evaluation Framework, to appreciate the impact of all marketing efforts.
Marianne pointed out that your clients (internal or external) now care less about the source and more about the content and messages. She demonstrated how those messages can begin as earned media but then may be repurposed and moved through owned, shared and/or paid to boost engagement and awareness.
Marianne focused on updating your measurement model by utilizing the recently launched interactive (free) AMEC framework’s seven steps, but more specifically, what she calls the core elements of integrated measurement: Outputs, Outtakes, Outcomes.
What you put out to your target audiences—these could be paid (advertising, sponsorships), earned (media volume and impressions), owned (web sites, partnerships, direct email), and shared (volume of social shares, posts, videos, etc.).
What the audience takes away from the outputs—what did they do after being exposed to your output? What action did they take—click through, subscribe, share, comment, etc.?
Impact of PR activity on the audience—was there a change in awareness, knowledge, attitude, opinion, behavior? What were your audience’s takeaways from your output?
After providing examples and scenarios of the three steps above, Marianne showed us a format she’s used (based on the same concept as the “sales funnel”) to demonstrate how the audience moved from the awareness and knowledge phase on to actual consideration, engagement or action. NOTE that if you missed the live webinar, it is now available on-demand.
Once this process is completed, you’ll have solid comprehensive data that you will then “use to tell the story of how the investment in PR and these communications activities all build to take consumers through the funnel and to your ultimate goal,” Marianne explained.
As moderator, Johna Burke, AMEC North American Co-Chair and BurrellesLuce CMO, closed the webinar with a few specific questions from participants which Marianne readily answered. They both agreed, in the final comments, that the one thing we cannot do is continue to measure the old way (multiplied impressions, AVEs, etc.).
Please feel free to share your experience(s) with PR measurement, thoughts on the AMEC Integrated Evaluation Framework and/or advice to others here in the comments section.
AMEC measurement week here in the U.S. may be in our rearview mirror, but the webinar series recaps continue. AMEC North American Co-chair Jeni Lee Chapman was joined by Aron Galonsky, Managing Director of Hotspex US, to talk about bridging the communications gap between PR/communications and marketing—specifically when it comes to ROI (return on investment).
Jeni kicked-off the webinar by sharing some results from a 2015 AMEC study (which included AMEC members from top public relations agencies, measurement firms and corporate communications).
- 74% of the companies experienced stronger revenue in 2015 vs. 2014
- 86% agree that PR consultancies recognize the importance of measurement of analytics (up from 72% in 2014)
- Metrics and tracking systems are in the top 3 priorities according to the Arthur Page Society (comprised of Fortune 500 CCOs)
Any good measurement program begins with conversations—both with management and your marketing counterparts. Jeni and Aron agree that alignment is critical. When this is not the case, it can be difficult to prove that your PR work has increased awareness and engagement—especially when marketing is taking the credit for it (because you are not measuring). Perhaps you don’t have the data you need, or don’t have the budget, or have trouble convincing management of the need (when they just want to see volume of clips).
Five questions to ask when having those conversations, Jeni and Aron recommend:
- What audiences are PR/communications targeting as compared to marketing?
- How are we ensuring quality data is being used—not quantitative data that may or may not have value (such as AVEs, impressions, etc.)
- What are the options for ROI analysis–do you have access to the data you really need?
- Have we double-checked that we have the right input and outcome variables (tied back to the business objectives)?
- What is the analysis plan (how do they plan to look at it)?
Setting objectives and creating your alignment model (with the AMEC integrated evaluation framework) in the right context is crucial. So is having this plan in writing and confirming all interested parties are in agreement.
Aron discussed some of the different ROI modeling from those that are not very complex to those that are highly complex. What you choose all depends on the results of those conversations you’ve had and your subsequent objectives. “If you are not part of the equation, you are not part of the solution, he stated, after explaining key driver analysis, correlation analysis, lift modeling, market mix modeling and more. Jeni remarked, “what gets measured, gets funded—this is what gives you a seat at the table.”
Throughout the webinar, Jeni and Aron shared some examples and case studies that really made these scenarios easier to understand. If you missed the live webinar, it’s available on demand.
One of their compelling closing comments was, “Experimenting is valid and necessary. Just doing what everyone else is doing is not enough. Be bold!”
Please feel free to share your experience(s), thoughts and/or advice here in the comments section. We’d love to hear from you!
More and more social networks are adding image recognition to their toolkits. Is this a hot new trend in measurement or have we seen it before? That’s how this AMEC measurement week webinar was described and certainly didn’t disappoint!
PR News Measurement Hall of Famers, Margot Savell, SVP Global Measurement, Research+Data Insights at Hill+Knowlton, , and Johna Burke, AMEC North American Co-chair and BurrellesLuce CMO, teamed up to talk about how, in this world of big data, images (in addition to text) need to be part of your evaluation.
Images are extremely powerful .You remember stories more when an image is associated with it, and therefore, it creates higher return on influence, Margot began.
Did you know that 3.25 billion photos are shared on social channels daily? By comparison, in 2014, this figure was just 1.8 billion. I’m still trying to wrap my head around all the staggering social media statistics that Margot cited. Because these numbers have skyrocketed, the long-time practice of image analytics in traditional media has become this hot new trend in social media. When you think about how many visual stories are being shared every day, think about what you are likely missing if you’re only looking at text. “Are you really capturing all the data that’s going to give you a complete understanding of how your brand is being perceived in social media? I think not,” declared Margot.
She shared that up to 80% of posts with logos do not mention the name of the brand in the text, according to Talkwalker. In my opinion, that statistic alone should scare you into paying attention to visuals—think about how much you are missing if you’re only monitoring for and reporting on text!
Photo journalism and images have been important since the turn of the century, Johna chimed in, it’s a bit of what’s old is new again with all the eyes on social media now. “People are exposed to more and more information, however they are less informed. Naturally, the human eye is drawn to a headline and an image—the two main factors that determine how people are going to spend their time consuming information and news. So, any program that doesn’t include imagery is really missing out on a huge segment.” Making all these other metrics we talk about incomplete if we aren’t taking these images into consideration.
She went through several examples, straight from the headlines, featuring well-known brands, and discussed the images as they relate to reputation management, crisis communications and more. One of these examples demonstrated color photos on the newspaper section front page (but no brand mention in teaser text) and then black and white photos with the story itself. If you were not monitoring the actual print publication and the images it used, you are not really seeing the whole picture. These examples and analogies really made the concepts come to life for me and I believe they will for you as well. (You can see and listen to the playback here.)
Margot and Johna answered some additional measurement questions, shared off-the-cuff thoughts and even offered some examples of how using ‘vanity metrics’ (or as Johna calls it, “low-hanging fruit”) give a completely inaccurate depiction and do not contribute to deeper brand insights.
Bottom line? We need to be sure we are making true data-driven decisions that tie-back to the overall business objectives, and that requires us to be completely informed. Johna believes it boils down to listening / watching, reacting and applying the logic.
Please share your thoughts and/or advice on using images with text here in the comments section.
For this webinar, guest experts Richard Bagnall and Giles Peddy joined us from across the pond while AMEC North American Co-chair (and BurrellesLuce CMO) Johna Burke moderated. Richard took pole position with the fascinating story about how the sad state of PR measurement back in the 1990’s spurred the formation of the AMEC organization, which eventually led to the creation of the Barcelona Principles in 2010 and more recently, the Integrated Evaluation Framework.
The Integrated Evaluation Framework better reflects today’s public relations environment, where we’re working across Paid, Earned, Shared, and Owned media. The PESO model was developed and championed by Gini Dietrich, a well-known industry thought leader and author of Spin Sucks.
Richard described how we now “must measure across all these different channels if we’re going to give a credible measurement of the work that we’re doing.” He cautioned that we must be careful to not “just count what’s easy to count but we measure what really matters” to the business. (To hear this in that splendid British accent, you’ll need to listen to the playback!)
The Integrated Evaluation Framework helps us to stop measuring in silos and brings it all together. Giles then talked about the context to the framework stating that communication professionals must show the effect that their work had on the business objective—not just output metrics (aka vanity metrics). He explained how a diverse global group was put together and worked for an entire year to create what is now a free, non-proprietary, step-by-step process—essentially “how to operationalize the Barcelona Principles”.
Interactive Evaluation Framework
When you land on the website, you’ll find a tile-based, simple to use, clickable worksheet that can be completed right on the site itself (and then download the finished product). Giles walked us through many of the steps which include descriptions and inline help text—way too much information to incorporate into a blog post, so I encourage you to listen to the playback of this presentation and go explore the site. To be honest, for me, this whole concept seemed very complicated and a bit overwhelming—that is, until I attended this webinar!
Giles went on to share how the initial response has been overwhelmingly positive. Lewis PR and many other major agencies and consultancies have already adopted the model, along with the UK government. It’s also being shared with and by other PR and communications trade organizations (such as the US-based Institute for Public Relations) as the key model to use.
Richard chimed in, “In the end, this framework helps you run your campaign effectively and measure it in a way that allows you to understand what it is you’re trying to achieve, understand what success would look like, agree on the targets, plan to run your campaign effectively and measure it appropriately.” However, he explained, that isn’t the end. You need to then take that information and the “flow of the process and tell your measurement story around it. You need to then bring it to life about how you did your work, what it meant for the business, how it helped and, importantly, what you’ve learned—what perhaps didn’t work as well as you had expected and what you’re going to be doing differently.”
Johna summed it up with “this is such a great resource for everyone, whether you have an existing successful measurement program and team or you’re just starting out, to really create and to utilize a program that’s been implemented on your behalf” and is such a great resource.
Are you using the Integrated Evaluation Framework? Please share your thoughts and/or advice with our readers here in the comments section.
“Sometimes just putting out basic metrics can actually hurt your measurement program and not help management see the true ROI and efforts you are putting in.” That was how Nicole Moreo began this AMEC measurement week webinar. Well, that certainly got my attention! I thought how can reporting on basic metrics hurt my credibility? Nicole explains.
Vanity metrics are metrics that feel important but are ultimately superficial, or worse, deceptive. What we usually think of are things like impressions, likes, re-tweets, AVEs (ad value equivalency), share of voice, mentions, page views, etc. They are not performance indicators. While some of these are important for benchmarking purposes, they should not be relied upon for actual intelligence. In the big picture, vanity metrics actually hold you back.
So, how do we figure out what to measure? First, Nicole cautioned, resist the urge to run out and subscribe to the latest tool or aggregator service that claims to programmatically measure for you. She went on to outline the steps PR pros must take—before embarking on a measurement program.
Listen and Ask
Listen to senior management, your team, your clients (internal or external). Ask questions, such as
- What is the strategic goal of the PR / marketing program, specifically the business goal? You may hear, for example, “increase share of voice” (SOV)—why? Or, “we want to put this message out on social media so people can see it”—why? What is the goal? Are you trying to increase sales? Are you trying to get people to download a whitepaper? How does that tie back to the business goal?
- Who are the key audiences? Your program is obviously not to every single person in the universe, so precisely who do you want to reach?
- Which platforms will be effective—based on the answers to the first two questions?
- What are the internal KPIs (key performance indicators) that are being used? What business point does that tie back to?
- What is the internal reporting structure?
- What insights are you hoping for?
Once you have the answers to those questions, you want to use your metrics as a tool to tell a story (after all, that’s what public relations practitioners are good at—storytelling)!
Start with the basic metrics, like share of voice—but who are you comparing to? Competitors? Other divisions within the company? Ensure what you are comparing is apples to apples. Engagement is also a basic metric that allows you to know how many people are actually interacting with your content and potentially have the influence to share it. Tonality (sentiment) is another that you may opt to use and there are others but start with these basics. Then, ask again, so what? That may lead you to another point, where you once again ask, so what? Nicole recommends asking this three times will help you find the answers that offer a mix of qualitative explanations and quantitative variables.
She went on to offer specific examples, showing charts and graphs sharing how each of them created a story of insights and intelligence that were meaningful and actionable. This was all possible by asking the right questions before embarking on the program.
Please feel free to add your own thoughts or experiences here in the comments section, and continue to check back here for more AMEC PR measurement tips from the experts!
TIP: If you’re interested but not sure you’ll be able to attend one of the live webinars this week, go ahead and register—you’ll receive an on-demand playback link afterwards!
The AMEC North America chapter kicked-off Measurement Week 2016 Monday morning with a Twitter chat. The chat was followed by an afternoon webinar on setting measurable objectives, led by Mark Weiner, CEO PRIME Research North America, moderated by AMEC North America’s Co-Chair and BurrellesLuce’s CMO, Johna Burke. In this post, I’ll be recapping that webinar.
The most common PR challenge is proving the value of our work. This is often difficult because value is so subjective and individual—varying from one organization and/or person to another. Weiner suggests the key to success is setting proper objectives and then meeting (or beating) them.
Just what is a “proper” objective? A proper objective should be three things:
- Meaningful – must be tied back to the organization’s goals (e.g. increasing business performance such as sales or stock price, optimizing labor by attracting and retaining top talent, avoiding loss by averting a crisis or potential reputation disaster, etc.)
- Reasonable – openly-negotiated, aggregate opinions of top executives and discuss what is really reasonable, then get confirmation and approval to proceed
- Quantifiable – must answer what, who, how much (by what amount should the metric change) and when (not open-ended)
Let’s focus on the quantifiable objective-setting process. In my experience, this is the step that stumps many of us. Weiner suggests you take these steps:
- Review past performance by looking at past objectives and the results, compare to competitors, and determine what would be a realistic increase.
- Document the public relations objectives in writing (being sure to answer the who, what, when and how much questions).
- Share the objectives with the executives with whom you originally spoke and with anyone who may be involved in resource allocations, negotiate final details and get authorization to proceed with the plan (as well as publishing the final plan with key executives).
The webinar wrapped-up with an objective-setting checklist (mainly covered in the previous two paragraphs) and examples of what are not proper objectives. The examples included actions or activities (such as “create press release”, “plan special event”), and goals or aspirations (such as “get more media placements”, “improve brand reputation”. These may move you toward achieving your objective, but are not objectives in and of themselves.
In his final remarks, Weiner cautioned, “Objectives are not fate, we have to work hard to set and meet objectives. They provide direction, help departments prioritize, focuses energy and helps management align with public relations. Objectives must be specific, measurable and unambiguous.”
I want to thank Mark for all this great information and guidance, and invite you to add your own thoughts here in the comments section.
Continue to check back for more posts recapping many of this week’s PR measurement activities!
This week is the third annual AMEC (International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication) measurement week here in North America—as part of AMEC Measurement Month. There are PR measurement-related virtual events all week. The best part? They’re all FREE! Just go to http://amecmmna.com and register for any you’d like to attend. Even if you aren’t sure you’ll be able to sit-in on the live webinar, if you register you will receive an on-demand playback link afterwards.
Measurement Week 2016 kicked-off Monday morning with a Twitter chat using the hashtag #PRmeasure. The chat was hosted by PR News and featured Measurement Hall of Famers Mark Weiner, Linda Rutherford and BurrellesLuce’s own Johna Burke.
I have personally been active on Twitter since 2008 and have participated in more chats than I can remember. I don’t say this lightly and can honestly say, this was one of the most robust chats that I’ve ever participated in, with more than 20 questions and netting more than 400 tweets in one hour! It offered so much valuable information that it would be impossible to summarize into short form—simply wouldn’t do it justice. Instead, we’ve created a Storify for your review. It’s not every single tweet but way more than what I’d call a “recap”.
Watch here for more posts recapping many of this week’s PR measurement activities!
As a university PR instructor, PRSSA Bateman competition and PRSA Silver Anvil I’m going to let you in on a little secret: “raising awareness” doesn’t do anything for your boss. It’s become a lazy way to write objectives that doesn’t help you demonstrate the success that you know you’ve achieved. It’s what you do with that awareness that matters to your organization. You need to move beyond awareness and into real action – and it’s that difficult. All it takes is a slightly different way of looking at what you’re doing.
Think for a moment about how you craft key messages for your target audiences when you’re preparing a PR campaign. Would you use words and terms they don’t understand? Of course not. So why would you do that when communicating with CEOs and other non-communication executives? You need to treat your colleagues like a target audience, because they are one, and can possible have the biggest impact on whether your campaign will succeed or not. You understand the implications of increased awareness, reach, and impressions, but what about your CEO or CFO? Probably not, so it’s up to you to both educate them, and to use terms they understand, namely, dollars and cents.
What are your organization’s business goals? Sales objectives? New accounts? These are what you should be incorporating into your communication goals, because they are results that non-PR managers understand. They have no clue how awareness impacts on what they’re trying to achieve. In the case of nonprofit organizations, this is measured in terms of overall donations made, new donors, additional donations from existing donors, etc. CEOs of for-profit organizations. You can slice and dice it any way you like, but money is the crucial element for all organizations.
If you remember, a couple of years ago the internet and news media were filled with the Ice Bucket Challenge. Seemingly everyone was doing their best to turn themselves into human Popsicles® and to convince others to do the same. It was fun to watch, it was interesting, and it went viral. Within just a few weeks, it was hard to find someone who hadn’t seen at least one video of someone dousing (or being doused) with ice water, especially as celebrities started joining in and ever more elaborate ways to drop the ice and water were dreamed up. Increased awareness? Absolutely. But awareness without action is an empty objective. The whole world can become aware of your mission, as happened with the Ice Bucket Challenge, but if they didn’t convince people to take action beyond the act of dumping ice water on their heads, they’re no better off than they were before.
Now I’m going to let you in on a little secret: we’re human. I know… big surprise. We’re attracted to the shiny things in PR. Who wants to slog through boring plans, when there’s all kinds of bright, shiny tactics just tantalizingly hovering out there, waiting for us? It’s much more fun to film human Popsicles® than it is to develop donation materials. But those donations are what the people at the ALS Association need in order to fund their mission of finding the cause of and a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and to support ALS patients and their families. Building those donation amounts into your objectives gives you something to work toward and measure how effective your tactics are.
By the simple act of building a forfeiture option into the challenge, allowing those challenged by friends to make a donation to the participating ALS organizations instead of being doused, increased awareness was converted into action, as donations poured in. And dollars and cents are easy to count – especially for CEOs. The New York Times reported on July 27th that the Ice Bucket Challenge raised $115 million for the ALS Association, with $77 million going to research and another $23 million to patient and community services. Even better, the ALS Association just announced that the money raised had funded the discovery of a gene tied to ALS. Those are numbers to make any CEO – and Silver Anvil judge – ecstatic.
Upon graduating from college, you will be on a desperate hunt for a job. You will likely search high and low for something in your field and interview so many times you wonder if you are starting to speak in gibberish about your experience and accomplishments. If you are like most recent graduates, you will end up with a job you took just to have one and questioning if what you studied so long and hard for was even what you wanted.
Have no fear! Better things are on their way.
Here are some things you will want to do at your first job that will help you prepare for the next one:
Always offer to help.
In your first job, you will likely not be given enough tasks to keep you busy right off the bat. New coworkers need to get use to having you around and figure out how it is they can utilize you best. So when you hear a coworker say they need something done but don’t have time, speak up and offer to help out. When there is a task that needs accomplished, offer to do it. Then, when it is time for you to take that job you always wanted, your coworkers will realize how useful you have been…and be a great reference
Always keep track of your contacts.
In college, you have likely met with a lot of really great people and gotten a lot of business cards. Keep in contact with them! Mentors are a great source of advice and jobs. Knowing someone will always speed up the hiring process.
Always focus on the end goal.
While you may be working a job that you don’t want to make your career, you can’t forget what you want in the end. If you want to do social media, but can’t get a job without experience – volunteer to do social media for a nonprofit. Blog for companies that need writers. Keep up with social media trends to make a cover letter stand out with your extensive knowledge.
Always keep up with the field you want to work in.
Companies want to know that you are passionate and knowledgeable, especially considering your age and inexperience, so show them you know your stuff. You will undoubtedly be asked in interviews how you keep up with trends, what blogs you read, or something along the lines of inquiring whether or not you are just working or if you are learning and evolving as a professional. Experience is great, but passion is the icing everyone wants on the cake.
You never know what job you may think you aren’t experience for, but that actually want someone just like you. You may also interview for a job, not get it, but then be called back later!
Ending your first job will be hard, even if you don’t enjoy it. Like any breakup, leaving your first job will be like the end of a bad relationship – you know it is time to go, but all you can remember is the good. Just don’t forget that you must think of the future you in five, ten, or twenty years and where that person will be and ask yourself if you are helping to get there.
Most importantly, don’t forget to leave on good terms. Although this first job wasn’t ideal, the connections you made are vital to that future you. Give two weeks notice, if possible, organize your materials for your replacement, write-up a brief overview of what is yet to be done, if needed, and make sure everyone knows how appreciative you are of the experience.
Even if you can’t see the effect, your next employer will see your experience in your attitude and confidence that only a first job will provide. Your first job helped to break you into the corporate world that you thought you knew and helped you to learn the dynamics of a full time employee. Say thank you.
*Kiley Herndon is a recent graduate of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. She graduated with a degree in English and Applied Communication Studies. SIUE prepared Kiley to take on a job at Madison County Transit and then transition to her current role at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis. Her biggest accomplishment is securing a job post-college and moving into her first apartment in the city.