Posts Tagged ‘networking’


New Resource (Book) for Millennial Job Seekers

Thursday, March 31st, 2016
Photo Credit: Bolla Photography

Photo Credit: Bolla Photography

As a PRSSA professional adviser and PR student mentor, I often get questions about job searching, professional networking etiquette, cover letters, interview preparation and follow-up, and résumé writing (as well as personal branding).  Those questions are typically prefaced with “how do I …” and followed by “will you read what I wrote and give me feedback”.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I get incredible joy and satisfaction from helping and mentoring PR students and gladly do so; however, I can’t count how many times I’ve thought that I should write this stuff down so I could just send a ‘canned’ response to some of those frequently asked questions—just to save time.

 

Last Fall, I was contacted via Twitter by Danny Rubin who had just completed a book called, Wait, How Do I Write This Email? and subtitled, “Game-Changing Templates for Networking and the Job Search”.  He knew (from my bio and various social media activity) that I do a lot with PR students and thought it might be helpful. A free book? Um, yes, please! Then I completely forgot about it until a couple months later when the book arrived in the mail along with a personal note from Danny. After skimming through, I knew within minutes that this book is as good as GOLD to, not just students but young pros or really anyone—especially those who’ve been out of job search mode for some time.

 

Around that same time, I was planning the PRSA St. Louis annual Career Development Day and thought this would be the perfect opening keynote topic. Fortunately, we were able to bring Danny in for the event to speak and do a mini-writing workshop and it was so helpful I wanted to share with you a few takeaways.

 

Use the power of storytelling in your cover letters , bio, etc. (even during the interview) to make you stand out from the crowd.

  • Lead with a compelling personal story—an anecdote that you can relate to the job skills required.
  • Stories, told properly, will capture the reader’s attention and keep them reading.
  • Unique details matter!
  • A personal story will leave a more lasting impression and makes you more memorable.
  • Starting and ending on the same story (a technique that professional journalists use) demonstrate that you “get it,” and that you know how to apply these tactics in a real-world setting.

 

So how do you do this? I’ll share an excerpt from Danny’s book (Chapter 9: The Power of Stories) where he steps the reader through the six parts of a storytelling cover letter.

 

Danny’s outline for the storytelling cover letter:

  1. Open with a line that places readers into the story. Grab their attention and make them think.
  2. Include concrete details about the story. The more specific you are, the more colorful the anecdote, the more memorable you will be. Quantify your results—provide hard numbers when appropriate.
  3. Demonstrate how the story applies to the job by referring to the job description—making sure the anecdote reflect the person the company is looking to hire.
  4. Show you did your research and understand how the company fits into the marketplace by explaining how you will help the company grow its business and make it more successful.
  5. Share more of your qualities as they relate to the story. Again, referencing the job description, touch on qualities you know the company admires and show how you would be a good cultural fit.
  6. Mention your story one final time and bring the cover letter full circle.

 

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, Danny offers up more than 100 templates demonstrating various scenarios and taking the guesswork out of applying these techniques.

 

Do you have an example of how you’ve done this effectively that you’d care to share with our readers? Or additional thoughts to offer?

Building Your Personal Brand

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

Building Your Personal Brand Tressa Robbins BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas Staci Harvatin PresoAs promised in my last post, here are more tips from the St. Louis PRSA Career Development Day. Digital marketing maven and Director of Marketing at Cantor & Burger Staci Harvatin gave the luncheon keynote on building your personal brand.

To demonstrate why your digital personal brand matters, Harvatin quoted a few statistics from a 2013 Jobvite survey:

  • 94 percent of recruiters use or plan to use social media to recruit and vet candidates
  • 78 percent of recruiters have made a hire through social media
  • 42 percent have reconsidered a job candidate based on their social media activity

That certainly got the audience’s attention—pros and students alike!

She went on to say that an active brand is the best brand. Many recruiters use Twitter to vet candidates for their style, attitude and communication aptitude—soft skills, things that are difficult to determine from a traditional resume. Her tips to building your brand online included:

  • Use consistent profile pictures across your various platforms
  • Claim vanity URLS on all profiles that you’re able to
  • Pay attention to your bio—this is your professional “elevator pitch” to sell yourself, but should also include some insight into who you are as a person
  • Create and use vanity email and professional signature blocks
  • Cross-promote public profiles so they are tied together
  • You can’t be everywhere so pick a couple social networks or other digital outlets and put all of your efforts into making an impact in those areas
  • Invest time participating in LinkedIn groups, Google Plus communities, and industry-related Twitter chats
  • Connect –follow, friend, and like other professionals
  • Share posts (socially) and other content created by companies you are interested in
  • When you comment on blog posts or online articles, make sure you use a consistent name and link back to one of your public profiles.
  • Participate in the blogosphere by reading and commenting or asking questions on pertinent blog posts

Harvatin suggests Googling yourself often—remembering to turn off “private results” so you are seeing what someone else would see. She even suggests setting up a Google Alert with your name so you can keep track of any mention of you (aka your brand).

Personally, I use the free version of BrandYourself. It tracks my search results and alerts me (via email) whenever the results change. It even offers a “search score” based on how many positive versus negative results are on my first page of Google search results.

Harvatin wrapped up her presentation saying that if you want your personal profiles (like Facebook) to be private, then lock them up! Check and double-check your privacy settings.  If you are commenting on something that you don’t want to be associated with publicly/professionally, use a different email address and alias and do not link back to your professional persona.

In addressing why this matters, Harvatin concluded there are two major advantages( and I’ve added a third of my own):

1. You’re leaving breadcrumbs of content with which you want to be associate

2. You are building a REAL network of professional contacts

3. The more professionally active you are online, the more those activities push down less desirable search results

What additional advice would you offer? What strategies do you use to remain visible online?

This Week’s Shot of Fresh: Maintaining Your Modern Rolodex, Shirt Skirts Copyright Issues, and You Probably Have Ringage

Friday, February 28th, 2014
flickr user Flavio~ under CC BY license

flickr user Flavio~ under CC BY license

Shot of Fresh is our weekly roundup of Fresh Ideas content.

Networking: Keeping Contacts as a New Professional

The Rolodex may have gone the way of the cassette tape, but young professionals still need to keep their contacts organized. Tressa Robbins shares tips for networking and maintaining those hard-won connections.

Good PR or Copyright Landmine?

A rapper named after an article of clothing writes an article about himself under the byline of a New York Times writer, constructs a site that’s a dead ringer for the real Times site, and reclines as the attention pours in. Brilliant PR move, or quagmire of copyright issues?

Jargonology Episode 7: Ringage

Do you have a slight ringing in your ears? Do you read PR blogs and attend PR conferences? If so, you probably have ringage.

Networking: Keeping Contacts as a New Professional

Monday, February 24th, 2014
flickr user klynslis under CC BY license

flickr user klynslis under CC BY license

You studied hard, joined PRSSA, did multiple internships, networked, graduated, networked some more and got a job. Phew! Now, you no longer have to worry about your LinkedIn activity, participate in that Twitter chat or attend local industry events, right? Wrong!

In case you haven’t already figured it out, the PR industry is like a big small-town. There aren’t six degrees of separation, in many cases there are barely three. It seems everyone knows everyone (or knows someone who knows someone). This tight-knittedness is capable of swinging the pendulum in your favor–or not. The choice, really, is yours.

How do you hold on to that network you’ve worked so hard to build? How do you continue to build that network, and make it work for you?

1. My first suggestion is to not just attend your PRSA chapter meetings, but volunteer and get involved. As current president of the PRSA-St. Louis Chapter, I can tell you that having new pros on our committees are just as important as having senior pros. You provide a different perspective, and we need all viewpoints represented. In addition, You will work side-by-side with seasoned pros, who will get to know your solid work ethic first-hand and meet people you may have not have had access to otherwise. Volunteering is work, and creates work experience.

2. Participate in Twitter chats. Not just #NPPRSA, but other industry-related chats, such as #PRprochat started by Carrie Morgan, or the #SoloPR chat spearheaded by Kellye Crane. Not only may you meet your next recruit, but many senior pros participate in those chats as well. Doing this keeps you in front of your network, expands your network, and may even provide informational content you can later expand into a blog post!

3. Join applicable LinkedIn groups and participate in the discussions. Don’t feel like you can’t contribute if you don’t know the answers–ask questions, there may be others with the same question.

4. I’m sure you have certain industry-leading blogs to which you subscribe. Don’t just read those posts, comment and reply to other comments. Add value to the community. Warning: be careful to not over-do it; you don’t want to comes across as a stalker.

5. Finally, swinging back to #1 – involvement in your local PR organization. You should at least set a goal of attending one event per quarter (4 per year).  And don’t just attend; make a point of introducing yourself to at least three new people at each event. Then, within a couple days of the event, connect with them on LinkedIn—reminding them where you met and thanking them for the conversation, then follow-up. The follow-up doesn’t have to be often but does need to be pertinent and professional.

A case in point: a while back I wrote a post on mentoring for BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas blog. In it, I mentioned that Lori George Billingsley, director of issues communications at The Coca-Cola Company and past PRSA Multicultural Communications Section chair, claims her mentor has been instrumental in helping her secure all of the PR jobs she’s held.  That’s a pretty powerful testament to her networking, diligence and professionalism!

There’s no doubt that social media makes it much easier to keep in touch with people. However, no matter how much you keep in touch electronically, nothing beats face-to-face conversations to build your network!

Share what you’re doing to build and strengthen your network in the comments below.

This post originally appeared on the blog PRNewPros.

How Technology is Changing the Way We Connect

Monday, November 25th, 2013

by flickr user Eric Fischer

by flickr user Eric Fischer

by Bill Werner*

On November 21, I attended the IABC Phoenix luncheon, where Cisco’s Senior Communication and Marketing Manager Brad Whitworth gave a talk on how technology is changing communication in the world.

Whitworth noted that these days technology is so relevant in our daily communication world that we now notice where we cannot communicate instead of where we can. With widespread wifi hotspots and vast cell phone service coverage, we know where we can’t use our devices, whereas not so long ago, it was the opposite.  Now, we expect service wherever we go. We expect to be connected at coffee shops, bars, restaurants, hotels, and airports. What used to a bonus offering is now a must, and if one of these spots is lacking connectivity, we’re not very happy.

Wifi is also becoming part of activities that usually seem mundane, and becoming a way to control and monitor entire cities and organizations. For example, some cities are implementing systems that notify you of available parking spots. With the ready availability of wifi towers, GPS systems, and apps, one can find a parking spot on a mobile phone. With these same resources, cities are revamping plans for trash pickup, with sensors that indicate how full cans are and routing trucks only to areas with full cans.

The changing roles of technology are also changing the way we network and create our network. Whitworth advised that effective communication is all about building your network and using modern technology to your benefit. To do so, he explained that we must live outside our comfort zone, and not be afraid to use all types of groups and applications, including but not limited to LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

A handy rule he recommended is to “build your network before you need your network.” It’s a lot more beneficial to have a network when you can offer people something instead of asking for something. Finally, Whitworth believes that face-to-face networking is still relevant, and that we should always take advantage of it whenever possible, as, he explained, it’s the best way for people to really know you.

This was my first IABC meeting, and I look forward to putting Whitworth’s insights and suggestions into practice. I plan to integrate plenty of face-to-face events into my networking strategy while also building my networking groups digitally. Do you know of or are you part of useful networking events in the Phoenix area? What sorts of networking events have you found to be the most valuable?

***

Bill Werner is an Arizona native and Business Development Director at BurrellesLuce, where his focus is developing client relations and providing clients with a comprehensive solution to their needs. His background is in the construction industry, where he learned that developing relationships and communicating are the keys to success. Bill’s family of three includes Katie and their newborn son, Gavin, as well as two cats and two dogs.