Posts Tagged ‘PR Career’

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.

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.

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?

Students’ Benefit Utilizing PROpenMic

March 21, 2010

   PROpenMic’s demographic is  public relation students, faculty, and practitioners where all can take part through various applications such as blog list, forums, upload/post videos, and add photos. Once someone becomes a member, that person can update their statuses, add music application, and invite their friends to become members. What is so unique about this site is that it allows its members to engage in various ways than just blogging or adding photos. However, I believe that this site is similar Twitter and LinkedIn in the sense that this site is a potential networking site. In other words, it isn’t a place to not be professional.

I became a PROpenMic member  (LaurenHopkins) last year for a class requirement thinking to myself “great another site I have to keep up with in addition to my class projects.”). Last summer, PROpenMic came to my rescue by having the  intern-search that lists various public relation jobs along with the job description and location. For example, I am a member of the jobsinternships which was created by Robert French (@rdfrench). The purpose of the group is to see what jobs or internships are available and to send an internship/job seek request. This group is also automatically shared via Twitter so that members are able to view it in two different sites.

In addition to all the great applications this site offers, I was able to send Robert French a personal message with questions thinking I wasn’t going to get a response. However, I was in for a surprise when Mr. French responded to me in that same day.  Just by asking him questions without hesitating, I’m able to follow him on Twitter and he follows me in return. Thus, creating network connections and just by him following me, I have other professionals like him following me as well.  This site has benefited me so much that it was hard to list just a few benefits I have experienced utilizing PROpenMic and in using social websites in general.  With that being said, I can update my status on PROpenMic which will then be automatically generated on Twitter. Thus, participating one on social networking site can lead to other numerous connections on other sites such as Twitter.

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.

Public Relations: “Paying it Forward”

February 2, 2010

Tonight I talked with my mom from relationships to being narcistic in your twenties.  Without realizing it, I am learning how to behave in society as an adult and that it’s okay to be self oriented during this stage of my life.   Also, I’m experiencing the famous quote “paying it forward” as well. As I go to my internship at CASA Ogeechee Judicial Circuit Inc, and attend classes, I have “family” away from home that have helped me out in various ways because they know what it’s like to be a broke college student. I established this relationship by doing charitable activities throughout the community, which is part of societal behavior as an adult.  I surround myself with people who value what I do for them and people who appreciate me. 

All of us have heard “paying it forward.” To be honest, I didn’t know what it really meant until my mother made me understand it tonight. The family that I mentioned above is what “paying it forward” is all about. It’s a circle that never ends.  For example, I go above and beyond (which is what you should do) what is expected of me at my internship. As a result, my hard work is respected, appreciated, and most of all exceeds the expectations of the organization.

Therefore,  I appreciate small things that are done for me and having older people who respect me on  a professional and personal level.   These are  life lessons that are teaching me that I should also help out a person in need (large or small) since it has been done for me, which is “paying it forward.” and relates to how public relations practitioners should behave regardless if you’re in college or establishing your career.

So, how does this relate to public relations? Twitter is a prime example of paying it forward. Twitter users combine their knowledge to help someone else, which in turn set up a “relationship” to help each other. Not only is Twitter an example, but this “paying forward” is explained through various novels I have read on social media such as “The Whuffie Factor,”  “Twitter Power,” and  “Groundswell,” (which I’m reading now). All of these novels explain it in a different way of course, but  what the main point is helping someone out throughout the social media and society.  

Even though I’m a college student, I have worked in groups, read novels, and putting myself into the community to help out any organization and person in need. I’m not trying to brag, but my point is that these tools and requirements have taught me how to uphold myself in society. Thus, public relations  isn’t just about helping, but it’s a characteristic that exemplifies how one should behave in society as an adult at this stage of their life. Think about it, take the two words apart- public and relations. Then, tell me the  social mannerisms expected of a public relations practitioner.

How Ethical is Social Monitoring

January 28, 2010

When I was given this topic, I didn’t know where to begin or how to formulate my thoughts.  I started thinking to myself, to answer this question in full detail, there are certain terms that must be clearly defined. For example, what is social monitoring? After researching social monitoring on various search engines such as Google and Bing, I came up with my explanation of “social monitoring.” Social monitoring is when companies/organizations are able to track various conversations, pages, blogs, videos, etc whether they are positive or negative. So, my next question is why would a company invest so much time and money (if any) into monitoring what people are saying about their company or “new product” they just launched? Think about it. For example, with the new Apple Ipad that just came out today, Apple can track their target audience and find what or how people think of their new Ipad by just using the Internet so that they can improve their company to satisfy their audience and customers.

The next definition that needs to be discussed is “ethics.” What is ethics and how can it be defined?  Throughout my college career at Georgia Southern University taking communication, sociology, and public relations classes, ethics is defined in various ways. To keep it simple, according to dictionary.com being ethical is being “in accordance with the rules or standards for right conduct or practice, esp. the standards of a profession.”  In other words, being ethical means being truthful and honest following morality principles in all aspects of life itself and is defined by what society says is ethical.

So is social monitoring ethical? I believe that social monitoring is ethical if it is done in an appropriate, proper, and honest manner.  In addition to surveys, companies can instantaneously search what Internet users are commenting about whether those comments are positive or negative. Today, most companies big and small are utilizing the Internet such as by being on Twitter, creating Facebook ads and fan pages. Thus, if companies are taking time to use social media sites to market their product or themselves, why can’t they monitor what people are saying about them on various social media sites?