Archive for the ‘PR Connection’ Category

Passing Employer’s “Background Check”

April 13, 2010

 My mom e-mailed me this article: Employers monitor your social networking profile.  More and more companies are spying on their employees as how much time they spend in the social web whether it’s on Facebook or Twitter. Companies are also watching carefully the content on their employees’ profile.   This is reality, especially for students and job seekers.

 Just like a portfolio or an interview,  a person’s character says it all.  Even though an employee might be outstanding in their career, they have to be careful on how they conduct themselves outside the professional world.  For example, I am aware of what I say on Facebook , what I post, and what images are on my profile. It doesn’t make much sense for me to prepare a professional portfolio, resume, and go to various conferences to further my public relations career if my social profile content isn’t professional or appropriate to share with potential employers.

Outside of work, student organizations, and class, you still represent those organizations. What you say and post on your Facebook Profile or Twitter represents those groups as well.  Companies today are realizing that.  As a result, companies are taking matters into their own hands by spying on their employees using a new software called Social Sentry.  Social Sentry is a software that can track a person’s social web use only on Facebook and Twitter, but will also track use on LinkedIn, YouTube, and MySpace in the future.

How does this pertain to me is what you’re asking right? Well it pertains to you in so many ways.  One way is the time a person spends on Facebook by updating their status throughout the day making it seem like they do not have anything else to do besides “play” on Facebook. As a result, it doesn’t look good on the employer’s side. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to make your profile more appropriate:

  • if you have to question a photo, don’t upload it or tag yourself
  • What groups are you associated with on Facebook? Will your mom be proud of these groups?
  • What type of language is on your profile?
  • if you were asked in an interview to log into your Facebook, would you be ashamed?

You never know who’s checking your profile or using Google to search for you. Companies aren’t just using the traditional background checks. They are using the social web to their advantage to conduct their background checks as well: Will you pass the background check? If not, companies may dismiss or fire employees due to their social web profile content and behavior.

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The new resume today: Social Media Resumes

April 12, 2010

According to the dictionary, a resumé is “a brief written account of personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience, as that prepared by an applicant for a job.”  Today, especially with the hardships of today’s economic times, it is important for a person to have different resumes and formats of resumes.  So how can a person be creative but also have a simple resume with key words in their resumé? Companies today are asking for resumes to be submitted via online either on the company’s website or e-mailed to the company address, which is why social media resumes are being popular due to  the social media web 2.0.

Social media is defined in different ways, which I’ve discussed in earlier posts. The goal of having a social media resume is so that potential employers are able to have an easy access to your resumé.  Having a resumé online via social media, the resumé is permanently online, giving other people a chance to view  your resumé.  In other words, a social media resume allows a person to embed a video resume, blogs, articles they have written, networks they are a member of, and other social media assignments a person has accomplished successfully. 

Websites including Weebly allow users to create their own themes, design, and content. I began my social media resume using Weebly because it is easy to use even though it took me about three to four hours to complete my site.  Social media resume is beneficial to students because it is another social media tool that allows students to embed their social media skills into their resumé such as podcasting, video casting, and blogs.

Some social media tools that we have to embed into our social media resume are podcasts, slide share presentations, blog posts, and most of all, the resumé gives students an opportunity to explain how they are keeping current on the social trends.

For our assignment in Social Media & Public Relations online, we are to create a social media resume  including presentations we have on slideshare, podcasts, any publications for a client we have created, and other portfolio materials online.  I really like this assignment because to other social media users, it shows that future public relation practitioners aren’t afraid of new technology and the ability to adapt to change concerning  technology. Companies do look for a characteristic or skill that stands out among other potential employers. Thus, having this assignment does make students stand out and learn new social media skills that we need to have when working with companies in the future. 

what do you think a social media resume consists of?

Social Media Tools Summary

April 11, 2010

From conducting a social media monitoring report to creating a social media resume to creating a podcast, I have learned more about different social media tools than being an active participant throughout the social media world. First I will discuss the lessons I’ve learned in conducting a social media monitoring report to an explanation of the benefits of having a social media resume to how important it is to know how to create a podcast.

For our Social Media & Public Relations Online class, we were required to conduct a social media monitoring report. I had many thoughts running through my head such as how am I going to do this, what is a social media monitoring report, and of course why do we have to do this.  We had the option to pick a Fortune 500 company, which I chose Verizon and Att&T. The goal of this assignment was to understand how people and consumers are talking about organizations and companies and how they were talking about the organizations or companies.  As I was completing this assignment, I used various social media tools and advice including Addcitomatic, IceRocket, Samepoint, Social Mention,  tweetgrid, Twazzup, along with Google Alerts and Twitter Search.  I got these social media sources from Professor Kaye D. Sweetser, PHD, APR.  To my surprise, I got an A on this assignment because I took the time to become familiar with all these social media tools and what each one had to offer.  Having to a social media monitoring report shows that I’m not afraid of new assignments or technology and it is a project that can be in my portfolio.  I wasn’t aware of how many social media tools there are even though I’m a social media junkie.

My class is required to have a social media resume, which I already have.  I created my social media resume using Weebly.  It took me about three to four hours to complete last summer.  Like any other resume, it can be improved and has work that needs to be done to my resumé. But, when I show or discuss my resumé online, it impresses other potential employees because I took the time to stand out and not just have a traditional hard copy resume, but I have an online resume as well. Today, most companies or organizations only take resumes via e-mail or through their website submissions. Therefore, it is vital for today’s job hunters to be comfortable using the Internet to market themselves by creating a resumé online.  I wasn’t told at the time that I needed to have an online resume. Instead,  I took it upon myself to use my knowledge and skills to create my page using  Weebly.  To be creative and determined and to use my knowledge my professors have provided me with, it is only in my best interest to do something without being told to better myself professionally and to further my student career.

Not only is it important to be able to be knowledgable of what a social media monitoring report is to creating a social media resume, it is also essential in understanding how to create a podcast along with posting it to blogs.  At first, I thought there’s nothing to creating a podcast. It’s just recording yourself, but in reality it’s not.  There are a lot of strategies into creating a podcast.  Similar to writing a paper, a podcast also has to have an introduction, some main points, and conclusion. In a podcast, you as the author have to tell your listeners when the next podcast will be published, where it is located, and how your readers can post comments about the podcast topic.  The benefits of a podcast are that listeners can subscribe via RSS feeds, and be able to listen to the podcast through their cell phones, Iphones, Ipods, and through blog posts.  Thus, podcasts give listeners and understanding of who you are, and gives you the author an opportunity to relate to your listeners. Futhermore, podcasts are a tool in which can enhance a person’s visibility within the social media world.

Lessons social media websites have taught me

April 11, 2010

I’m an active LinkedIn user, Twitter user, along with other websites before I enrolled in Social Media & Public Relations online class with Nixon.  What I didn’t understand was the power of a background on twitter, twitter usernames, and what information is on certain social media websites can be extremely powerful.  For example, I chose my username Leh1185 from my e-mail account because I was not comfortable using my first and last name on all these websites. In a way, it is my trademark name since my username is used throughout all the websites I am on.  Of course, some people might disagree or criticize my username, but it works for me and makes me stand out throughout social media. LinkedIn is similar to having a resumé online. I didn’t understand why we had to get a LinkedIn account until I began to use it to my advantage.  For example,  I was in the hotel business room lobby finishing up some schoolwork which is when I met the vice president of Ameristeels in Florida while I was out-of-town for my sister’s soccer game. The first question he asked me was do you have a LinkedIn account? Of course I said yes, which was then I thanked my professor for requiring us to have a LinkedIn account.

Another lesson I’ve learned utilizing and being active in the “social media world” is that you have to understand why you’re using various social media tools and websites, what the purpose is, and how you can relate to people who follow you or read your blogs. In other words, not just having followers for “follower statistics for bragging rights,” you have to understand why do you follow those users and know their professional background.  I use Twitter to ask other professionals, professors, and fellow colleague  questions about various topics from resume tips to assignment questions, to general questions such as should you have a ring back on your cell phone when you are job searching or job hunting? .  LinkedIn however, is beneficial to me because it allows me to have various widgets and applications which my friends or connections can look at along with my resumé.”  One application I have on Linked In is amazon reading book list so that my connections can see how I am staying up to date and current within social media trends. PROpenMic was the first website I used in researching for internships.  It allowed me to discover what general public relation agencies and companies are looking for in potential interns, who’s hiring, and what skills I need to have or improve to market myself for that particular internship or job.

Blogging has been a challenge for me due to my writing since it is a weakness of mine. I didn’t know how to blog, what to blog about, and not knowing what to put into a blog. But, since blogging is a requirement for my Social Media & Public Relations class, I became better at blogging. I am coming to understand that blogging does improve writing skills along with understanding that blogging can consist of videos, various media tools, and widgets. Blogging gives me an opportunity to express myself through my unique writing and to discuss what I’ve learned throughout my college career.  I am now able to link my blog post to my Twitter, LinkedIn, and Weebly account so that others can see my personality and challenges that have helped me grow and become more professional and not just being portrayed as a “college student.

Below is a summary of what I’ve learned:

  • Usernames and backgrounds can impact your professional background
  • Understand your followers, who they are, and what their professional background consists of
  • Blogging is an opportunity for anyone to express themselves and improving their writing skills
  • Blogging allows anyone to discuss their topics using various media tools such as videos and widgets
  • Being active on different social media websites has increased my professional skills, confidence, and to show others that I’m not afraid of new social media or technology tools.

Learning From Our Blindside: we all have one

April 4, 2010

After finally being able to watch the film “The Blindside,” (yes starring Sandra Bullock and Tim McGraw) I couldn’t help but to think about this: we all have a blindside, which is not understanding what it’s like in walking in a different person’s shoes.We are so preoccupied with our daily routines that we tend to forget or don’t want to see what is going on around us. In other words, we don’t want to visually see for ourselves others’ difficult life struggles. This theory goes back to what I’ve learned throughout my public relations practicum class  interview discussion. Our professor further explained how companies will react to how other potential interns or employees interact with other company employees.  

Why is it important to interact with other employees within the company?  The answer goes back to the saying “you don’t know what it’s like until you walk in their shoes.”  If potential employees interact with other  various departments within the company, then maybe those future employees will have a better understanding of their internal office environment creating a positive atmosphere within the company as well as being able to express appreciation and not taking the full credit of the company. For example, if a potential intern/employee is waiting to be interviewed and is rude to the secretary, the secretary will report the  inappropriate behavior  which could lead to disqualification for the job as a result.

For example, in “The Blindside,” Michael has a different lifestyle than his legal guardians.  But, throughout the film, Sandra Bullock’s character is persistent in trying to understand Michael by asking tough questions about his childhood so that she can become a better person and to connect with Michael more on a personal level as if he was her own son.   If we take the time to learn from one another and communicate on a personal level with each other, then we are creating a positive work environment and being appreciative of other employees’ hard work and creative skills. The public relations field encounters various duties and difficult responsibilities, but the most important to me is to be able to understand and communicate effectively with other people who have various backgrounds or lifestyles that may not seem normal (depends on how you define normal). 

So I leave you with this to think about: What is a bad day to you compared to those who have it worse than you?

Work Dynamics Changing due to Social Media

February 26, 2010

Work today consists of utilizing social media to engage with customers through blogs, react to their comments via Twitter, and to market the company through Facebook.  As I become more of a “social media junkie,” the“Social Media: Friend or Foe?” podcast  made me think about how  social media is changing the way people work in offices and at home. 

Employees can  use their personal Facebook and Twitter accounts to  ask their friends/followers for ideas and tools they’ve used before to help them with their current work strategies. Also, workers are able to have their Twitter followers “retweet” their questions and as a result, receive links, posts, and discussion boards to help them with their projects.For example, I am planning a kids’ fashion show charitable event for C.A.S.A (Court Appointed Special Advocates) and my Facebook status was “I need fashion show “themes” & titles for a kids’ fashion show..any suggestions?! I asked on Twitter if anyone had any kids fashion theme ideas while I was in the office. I was working utilizing the Internet to create ideas and search how others planned a fashion show. Employees aren’t wasting time on Facebook, Twitter, or on various blog site on the time clocks. What they are doing now is asking their friends or followers ideas, advice, and solutions to problems that others can help them with. This is how people are working today and it’s certainly proper as long as employees are actually working and  not using the Internet for personal purposes. 

Social media is becoming the “customer feedback/suggestion box,” which is where social monitoring comes into play. Company employees  can use social monitoring sites such as  Addcitomatic, IceRocket, Samepoint, Social Mentionpostrank,along with social media monitoring tools such as  tweetgrid, Twazzup, trendistic, to discover what is being said  about their company in a real-time format. So, if there is negative feedback about a new product launched, companies can immediately respond to their customers with solutions to the problem. Even though employees may not seem like they are working or doing their job because they are using the Internet for company purposes doesn’t mean that they aren’t working effectively; it’s just another way of how work is being complete and accomplished outside of the internal company offices.

Who knew that social media and the Web2.0 would have such a major impact on the  future of working?

Twitter Benefits: You Should Have Them Too

February 25, 2010

Barbara Nixon discusses why she requires her students to take part in utilizing Twitter http://publicrelationsmatters.com/2010/02/24/10-5-ways-for-pr-students-to-get-the-most-out-of-twitter/.  I didn’t even know what  Twitter was or how to use it “properly” and “professionally,” until Barbara Nixon came along to tell us why we should use Twitter.  I’ve been an active user on Twitter for almost a year now(@Leh1185 ) and I love it!

Why do I love Twitter and why is it  beneficial to students? Here’s my story and maybe this will persuade more Public Relation students to use Twitter other than class requirements. I began using Twitter without having any knowledge of how to present myself on Twitter, who to follow, and what do people “tweet” about. Then, I began to follow my technological savvy professor (@barbarnixon) who follows various professionals in all areas of public relations. This is where my REAL story began. I began to follow the “prestigious” Twitter users and responded to their tweets even though they didn’t then respond to mine (or even know I existed). But, the more I responded, the more responses I received from them.

For the first time I thought to myself  Wow they responded to me! Why me (out of all people)?! These professionals still respond to me because I am active on Twitter without being required to do so. I also ask professional questions and general advice to them. For example, my “tweet” the other day said this: to all PR Pros: When job searching, should you have ring backs?  Not only did I get many responses from professionals, but they told me “good ?.”  The more questions I asked the more they could see how interested I really am in learning about anything from professionalism to being a team player to preparing for the “real world work force.”

As a result of being transparent on Twitter, I developed “connections” with these professionals, which is why I love Twitter and other social media tools. Now, they follow me (wahoo!) and know that I exist and not just another Twitter user. In other words, I stand out by being genuine, professional, and having a sense of humor. Some of them I now talk to not only on Twitter, but on Facebook and even Skype, which lead to exchange numbers. I’m not the most outstanding student, but I take what I learn from my professors and implement them without being told. From there, I ask other professors about various assignments, topics, and general discussions.

Being active on Twitter shows others that you are willing to try new technological advances and are open-minded, which goes along with the old saying “you never know until you try.” For me trying out Twitter was all about asking myself “why is Nixon teaching us Twitter when we should be educated on PR writing?” Let me experiment with Twitter until I give myself an answer to this question. Once I gave Twitter a try, I expressed my gratitude to Nixon and told her this: now, I know why you want us to use social media.

Students: You need to be well-rounded in social media because this question will be asked in interviews: What do you do to stay current in social media trends? If you’re only on Facebook,  what is your response going to be when you are competing for a job if the only social media site you use is Facebook?  You have to stand out and being active on Twitter is one way to do that (along with your resumé of course)!

I didn’t know about Twitter and I still don’t have that much knowledge on utilizing Twitter, but I read various novels to educate myself in how to use Twitter more efficiently and what other apps that can be used for your “Twitter” profile that Twitter doesn’t offer. For example, it was required by Nixon for us to read a novel on our major. For that assignment, I chose “Whuffie Factor” (@missrogue )  and then over Christmas break, I read “Twitter Power.” These two novels taught me how to improve my social media skills. I recommend every student to read a novel because another interview question that’s being asked is “what books do you read?”

  

Communication is Powerful

February 20, 2010

Language is communication. Communication is engaging writing. Writing delivers strategic messages. The better the communication, the more effective written publications will be delivering strategic messages that others can simply understand.  I know this is an understatement, but it is so important to know: mean what you say, say what you mean. Communication is powerful because it influences and drives people to buy your product, brand, and influences the company’s reputation. Communication is a big deal becoming more prevalent in social media through blog posts, Facebook updates, and in 140 characters on Twitter that anyone can see. These communication methods can influence a company which is why improving writing skills is very essential. The more your writing skills improve, the more effective blog posts will be, the more followers you will have on Twitter because of what you say in 140 characters, the more you can drive  people via Facebook status updates.

News releases are the most powerful thing today. Public Relations practitioners need to understand that by having smart quotes and getting inside the heads for whom they’re writing for will make their news releases more effective. For example, one of the speakers  this session told us that one of his friends writing samples  was in the State of the Union Address speech. The point is that you never know how important news releases are and who may read them, so it is not something to take lightly and think “oh that’s just a news release, I can write that in five minutes before I leave today.” One way to improve your writing skills is to become a good reader. In other words, read novels that pertain to your field of study or something that is interesting to you and not reading “Seventeen magazines.” To be a good writer, you have to be a good reader.

 Half of communication is about being friendly and available, which is part of developing media relations.  Building media relations means that you being the “PR” person is a resource for the media (journalists) such as directing the media to other organizations or people who can help them out with a story.   It is also important for you to make others understand the importance of quick response because not everyone works the hours that “pr” practitioners work. With that being said, future  public relations professionals  must have writing skills, poise, a team-player,innovative, detail oriented,  confident, and have revenue forward thinking for the companies. In other words, bring something to the table that will benefit companies, agencies, or non-profit organizations in 5 or so years down the road.

 One of the speakers told us that working hard is not going to get you the job, talent is.  I disagree  because talent comes from working hard. I’m  becoming more well-rounded reading novels from “A Thousand Splendid Suns” to “Groundswell.” I have learned and still learning skills and various ways of thinking from these novels, which can improve my writing skills. Another example of being a good reader is being a good writer is to blog. Blogging is helping me develop tight, cohesive thoughts which is essential in writing.  My point is that my work ethic improves my public relations skills and hopefully shines through.   I didn’t realize how powerful writing is until I attended the PR Real World Conference.  Even though I have publications from newsletters to news releases  to three articles  in the Georgia Southern University newspaper, and blog posts,  I am still learning and improving not only my writing skills, but  my poise, confidence, and  being a team-player.

Social Media Impacting Higher Education

February 5, 2010

   The topic of this Ustream   is the “Future of  Social Media and how it impacts higher education now, today, and tomorrow’s work force.  The current social media tools is becoming a demand for distance learning. Social media is revolutionary and collaborating the current tools colleges use.There is a 70% increase in online student enrollment, which  means 1 in 4 students are taking online classes. 85% of college students are on Facebook, which makes sense to utilize social media tools  for academic purposes.

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/4470423

There are 6 million non-traditional students with 25% of them being over thirty. Half of them will get their degree in 4-6 years or drop out because there is that lack of engagement. What does this mean? It means that there are students that learn in different ways and social media can be used to reach every student’s learning ability and give a platform to further their employment skills. People are returning to further their education due to the economy today. Therefore, open content allows these students to understand their classroom assignment using social media tools more than they would in the classroom.

 This points out a real issue on lack of engagement, which is why I decided to go to Middle Georgia College before transferring to a university. In a university, typically there are 200-300 students enrolled in one class and participation is 30% of your grade. How does that impact  your learning? If you don’t participate, you’re out of luck. With Facebook such as, every student can receive their participation points and interact with a class discussion or topic using a Facebook discussion board. For example, a professor can bookmark or create tags if they’re willing on a Facebook page  instead of the traditional way of posting study guides, notes, on the Blackboard learning system. However, playing a devil’s advocate, faculty have to learn not only how to use it, but how to” integrate grading using these other tools”, said Dr.Kathy King.

Faculty have to learn how to use blogs, skype, twitter,and podcasts for academic purposes. This transformation and trend allows students to go beyond the classroom to communicate in the “real world.” For example, I am very impressed with all of my professors at Georgia Southern University, but there’s one who I didn’t understand her method of madness if you will. Her name (all of you are familiar with I’m sure) is Barbara Nixon. Why do we have to use Twitter in our PR Writing class?, why do I have to blog when we have to learn how to write press releases and other traditional public relations writing?, why use PR Open Mic? and my last question was “how in the world am I going to keep up with all these various social media websites along with being required to have a LinkedIn account for her Practicum class?

Barbara B. Nixon is a prime example of how social media impacts higher education. She required us to do all of this so that we can interact with other professionals in our field, to learn how social media is impacting the way public relations is transitioning, and how companies are using these websites for interviews and background research on people. I wouldn’t have learned what I know now if she didn’t do this, which is why I believe this topic is very interesting and needs to be discussed. I use Twitter to interact with my professors and to ask them questions if need be because it’s in real-time and they can “retweet” my questions to their followers (who are other professors) to answer my questions more effectively. Blogging is showing me how to write professionally and interact with other college students around the globe. I use PROpen Mic for my internship and job search and to interact with other colleagues in my field of study who are in my shoes.  If it wasn’t for social media overlapping the present college tools like the blackboard system, I would be lost.

With all of this being said,  here are some questions to think about:

  • how will college tuition be affected with the adoption of using social media tools
  •  are colleges going to transition to using E-books?
  • if so, what does that mean for textbook companies such as McGrawHill?

Blog Posts is about you, Blog Comments Are Not

February 5, 2010

Blogging to me is similar to communicating in a small group discussion. The group discusses one topic or issue while others listen attentively. Then, other group members voice their thoughts, ideas, and feelings on the topic giving everyone feedback on the issue.  Blogging works the same way on a bigger level of course. One person blogs about various topics hoping to receive feedback from other people, which are comments.  Every blogger has a purpose-  to put their ideas out in the “social media” world so that others can view them, bringing in traffic to their blog posts. However, even though blog posts are vital in the social media world, so is becoming part of blogging which is to comment on others.  This “rule of thumb” is similar to my other post discussing paying it forward.

Blog posts express a person’s individuality and to set them apart from every other blogger, but blog comments are not about that. Blog comments are vital and are part of the blogging world.  Every blogger need to have an open mind and comment on other peoples blogs, whether it’s on twitter discussing the issue or on the blog website. Comments allow a blogger to think outside their own box and receive feedback to help improve their blogging skills. Isn’t that what every blogger want ( to become more knowledgeable on each blog post and to receive more traffic each time?  Of course YES!! In order to do that,  a blogger has to help someone else out by putting themselves out into the blogging and social media world.

Here’s a recap of answering the question “so why should I take time to comment on other people’s blogs?”

  1. Commenting on other blog posts gives you readership to YOUR blog posts. If you comment on other blog posts, the same domino effect will happen to you.
  2. It’sabout respecting  others and not being selfish. It’s not just about you and your blog posts.  Blog comments just like blog posts expresses that you just don’t post your blog, you become an active blogger.
  3. Blog comments can give you (the blogger) ideas for other creative blog posts that people might want to read or discussed.
  4. Blog comments shows that you aren’t afraid of interacting with other people in the social media world and are able to become well-rounded in discussing various topics.