How to build your personal network with follow up skills

The job market is very competitive and now a days it is all about who you know, not what you know. Connections are key in landing the career of your dreams, but it takes hard work to get there. I know many other professionals would agree with me, including Brad Lomenick, about how difficult it is to build your network. Lomenick gives his readers advice in his blog post, “The Skill of the Follow up,” about how to seal the deal with potential employers.

By taking it a step further, I encourage all job seekers to follow up with any professional they meet that is connected to their field, not just your potential manager or boss. Like I said above the key to landing a job is connections and the bigger your network, the better your chances are to be discovered. Here is some advice I have gathered from Lomenick, other professionals and my personal experience on how to follow up:

1)   Be persistent

I have been told you can never be too persistent. Don’t be afraid to send another email, or make another phone call when you do not get a reply. I have friends who got their jobs because they were so persistently annoying that their employer gave them an interview just to shut them up!

2)   Be different

Don’t send out a general email, the employer will move it straight to the trash if they feel like it was a mass sent email. Make your words stand out and show that you care about and want to be apart of the organization.

3)   Be clear

Make it easy for them to respond and set a date for when you want a response or a favor fulfilled. Urgency will help your connection know when to get back to you, or do what you are asking of them.

4)   Make a personal connection

Try to play off of the first meeting you had with your connection. If you guys connected over sports or a hobby, mention that in the email. This will help the employer remember you, which is a really good thing. Since employers deal with SO many people it is hard to remember everyone they talk to. Just being remembered puts you ahead of your competitors.

5)  Say Thank You (and make it genuine)

Don’t forget to thank them for their time. Even if things don’t work out, you never know when you may see that person again. They could be your future boss or fellow employee so make sure that you do not ruin relationships.

If you really want to show off, send your connection a personal hand written note saying thank you. You will impress them with your professional and personal follow up skills.

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Don’t get fired because of stupid social media decisions

I have found that in my recent posts I am not necessarily drawn to Sports PR posts, which is the field I plan on working in someday, but posts that give advice on getting a PR job and keeping it. This is probably because my next step is getting a job to gain experience, whether it is in Sports PR or not. Experience will help me achieve my end goal, but no matter where I work I still need show that I am responsible and dedicated.

So here are some tips to make sure that you do not lose your job because of social media mishaps. Social media is a great way to get attention from various publics, but don’t make the mistake of creating negative attention for yourself. Here are five pieces of advice I have gathered from professionals and blogs:

Represent

You are representing yourself and the organization you belong to. I am part of the University of Oregon Women’s soccer team so I have to be respectful to others and represent myself and Oregon athletics at all times. You never know where someone will recognize you and pair you with the organization you are a part of.

Respect

Everyday I look on Twitter and see numerous negative comments’ users post about classes and professors. Once you post something it is on the web forever! Your professors and potential employers can see how you interact with friends through your social media profiles so don’t embarrass yourself. If you are not professional, how do you expect to get a recommendation for a job or even find a job?

Instead of wasting your time complaining, take the responsibility on yourself to make things better. My coaches have always told me “you are the only person that can determine your outcome.” This statement is true to all aspects of life, not just sports. Spending time complaining and degrading others with not make your situation better.

Be yourself

Employers want workers that are experienced, hard working, outgoing and innovative. Show your personality so that the employer can determine if you are a right fit for that team. Every workplace needs chemistry to really thrive and if you are not a fit with that workplace it will be better for you and the job you didn’t get in the end.

Here is a social media tip; don’t act like an outrageous partier on your social media sites, but don’t try to hide who you really are. Employers become skeptical when privacy settings are too private.

Know where to draw the line

As important as it is to be influential in social media do not waste all your time, if you have a job, on Facebook and Twitter. DEFINITELY DON’T BASH YOUR BOSS, CO-WORKERS, OR CLIENTS VIA SOCIAL MEDIA! It will make you and your company look bad.

Be truthful and objective

The public does not see PR professionals as being objective and truthful. Show that you can display both qualities through tweets, statuses and pins because employers are looking for those qualities to reshape the reputation of PR.

9 tips to becoming a Super PR intern

It is crazy how the job-seeking world has changed. In high school I was told that just one internship before college graduation would spice up your resume enough to land you a job. But boy has our economy changed! Now, I feel like two internships are still not enough to secure your chances.

Well, no matter how many internships you have it is important to know how to act appropriately when at work. Jessica Levco reveals some valuable advice for young students looking for an internship in “10 ways to be a dream PR intern.” With the advice from her blog, my past experiences and the information I have gathered from numerous career nights, I came up with nine pieces of advice to be a super PR intern:

1. Work harder and longer

Hard work is one of the most respectable qualities in an employee. Doing over time shows your manager/boss that you are dedicated.

2. Don’t create clicks with fellow interns

Interact with others in the office that are older than you. The other interns do not determine your future employment, your boss does.

3. Pick an office role model

Who knows…maybe if you show a seasoned employee respect they will take you in and give you valuable advice. Try to create the big brother/big sister relationship so you can model their behavior.

4. Be social and outspoken

Say something, even if it is the wrong answer! To make an impact your employer needs to notice you and realize that you have a brain.

5. Be more than just an intern

Don’t let the word “intern” define your work ethic. Michael Jordan was cut from the varsity basketball team his sophomore year of high school. If he gave up after being cut he would never have outworked everyone else to become, debatably, the best basketball player in the history of the game.

6. Learn new social media skills

The more you know the further you will get. Be open to the changing social media avenues.

7. Stay up to date with your industry

If you don’t know, your stuff you will embarrass yourself. Study up!

8. Dress appropriately

Be classy. You are not going out on the town with the girls. Here is some advice; over dress until you know the company’s dress code. It may be casual, but it could be very business formal.

9. Be polite

Offer to help out with extra work or stay late to work on a project. Don’t be a clock-watcher and zoom out of the office at 5 p.m.

The evolving media landscape: 7 things PR pros need to know

It’s amazing where you can find information that shapes and changes the way you look at the world. Today I came across great information presented by LinkedIn, but I didn’t find it on LinkedIn.  Thankfully LinkedIn, which I don’t check daily, sent the valuable information to my email, which I do check daily. Michael Sebastian revealed to me the “7 things PR pros should know about the shifting media landscape.”

According to Sebastian several changes in old and new media outlets led to at least seven things for the PR industry. For me these changes would apply to the category of sports since that is my focus, but this is useful for anyone in the world of PR.

Reporters in Yellowstone Park (1951)

1)   Text isn’t enough anymore.

DUH! When you are talking about an organization or a person you want to see a photo or video. The majority of people want to see who is the source of the situation, especially in sports. When you do have text though you need to be sure it is clear, concise, and compelling.

2)   Just because it’s old doesn’t mean it stopped working.

Pitching stories has not changed! The old rules still apply. We still write and report based on the original ideas of newspapers. Newspapers are not extinct so don’t treat them differently. We often need old media outlets to advance our new ones.

3)   Buy the new Apple technology.

Everything is created within the world of Apple so you should know that technology. If you don’t have experience with apple products I suggest you start learning how to use the iPhone/iPad!

4)   Find the best way to get through to the reporter.

Reporters prefer email. If you want your information to get out you need to accommodate the reporter. There are very few reporters left, so if you want to publish your client’s story go above and beyond to help out the reporter. Don’t pitch using social media.

5)   Use social media platforms to get to know them.

Get to know the reporter better so you have a chance to appeal to what they would want to share. Knowing what the reporter writes about can benefit your client. And if all your stalking plans fail, suck up! Just kidding…kind of.

6)   Make the reporter’s job easy.

You want to create a relationship with a reporter and keep it! With so few reporters left you need to give the reporter lots of details if you actually want a good story to be written. Be available for them, they are working double time to keep their field alive and evolve with the new media instruments.

7)   Present your client.

Journalists and reporters like to talk to the person dealing with the situation. Talking to Tom Brady on his thoughts about the upcoming Super Bowl is better than talking to his agent who probably hasn’t experienced the pressure and the thrill of being an NFL quarterback.

Need a job?…Get a blog!

Everyone who is a senior and scheduled to graduate this spring is probably overwhelmed by one of two emotions; dread or excitement. Either you are eligible to graduate and have a job lined up for when you receive your degree, or you are dreading the date June 18 because you are entering the real world, jobless.

Personally, I am terrified of not finding a job that I will love. No, that’s not true! I am scared of not finding a job at all after four years of hard work. Well, thanks to Mark Schaefer’s blog and my J452 class I realized that I am not doomed. I have a chance in the world of PR thanks to this very own blog of mine and so do you! Here are seven reasons job-seekers should have a blog:

1)   Show what you’re made of.

2)   Build a professional network.

3)   Engage versus advertise.

4)   Point of differentiation.

5)   Sharpen your professional skills.

6)   Expand your reach.

7)   Extend the interview.

 

Now that you know what to do, you need to know how. Here is the advice I found…

1) An interview can be tricky because you have to make a complete stranger like you in about fifteen minutes or less. On a blog you have an unlimited amount of time to show your potential employer what you are made of! Your voice behind the posts can give viewers a look into your personality and knowledge.

2) Blog communities are now also professional networks. You never know when someone could love your material and recommend you for a job.

3) Resumes are boring. Blogs are personal, exciting and unpredictable! Through a blog you can engage with people rather than preach to them about how great you think you are. Talk about brand, social media, and sports! Write content that creates conversation.

4) Your blog gives you a chance to stand out. You need to show that you are different and better than other job seekers. It also gives you another more experienced level of writing expertise.

5) All this blogging can really build up your knowledge about the subject you are blogging about. Being knowledgeable isn’t enough; you need to be able to display interesting and thoughtful information. Blogging can be a fun way to research about the field you want to find a job in.

6) Other ways to show yourself off is on sites like LinkedIn. You can brag about your experience on your LinkedIn profile and actually show your experience and expertise on your blog.

7) Lastly, you need to end the interview with thanking the interviewer for their time and telling them that you have a blog. Leave your web address for your blog and wait! You may have just extended your interview and increased your chances of getting hired.