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Earned, Owned…and Paid? It’s all Part of PR

This is a post by PR columnist, Alison Kenney.

PR first moved into the ‘social space’ by creating and promoting content. ‘Content is king!’ And, ‘if you build it (i.e. deliver great content) they will come (i.e. audiences will flock to your brand page).’ Now the writing is on the wall (to use another trite expression) and it’s no longer enough to post great content on social. It’s become a pay-for-play world for brands that want to get their messages heard on social networks as this Social Media Explorer post explains.

How do PR pros bridge the paid and earned media services in their PR programs?

Although there is still a lot of education to be done, most clients are already integrating paid social media strategies in their PR programs. As this AdAge article puts it, PR firms that integrate paid media with social media are demonstrating a “natural extension of their evolving content-marketing strategies.”

George Snell, SVP, digital at Weber Shandwick, says that virtually all of the clients in WS’s Boston office have content marketing or digital/social marketing strategies in their programs. Snell says there are also a few WS clients that don’t have any traditional PR tactics in their programs.

According to Snell, the key to getting your message heard is building the right distribution plan. And, while the paid opportunities you pursue might include creating an ad for a social network, they can also include promoting or sponsoring a post to distribute your content.

As Snell puts it, “It’s really no different from the way PR has been working in the past; it’s just that now there’s a paid component. PR pros have always been in the business of distributing content through earned and owned media. Now, we’re doing the same thing but with some new components. Content is at the center of the strategy – we can pitch that content to reporters (earned media) or promote it on our blog, site or newsletter (owned media) or look at the many paid opportunities to distribute it.”

Digital communications consultant Arik Hanson says his clients are excited by the targeting and measurement capabilities offered by paid social media tactics. Even brands that aren’t experienced with paid social tactics see the light when Hanson walks them through comparative strategies. “I’ll ask them how their last ad buy with print media went – how much they spent and what the results were. The total number of impressions may be larger with print, but you’re not sure who those readers are. With Facebook ads or promoted or sponsored posts you can target the reach to an exact person. Social advertising will kill you with numbers.”

Both Hanson and Snell say that keeping up with the rapidly changing aspects of paid social opportunities is a big challenge. “I use it every day and, in the beginning, I had a question every day,” says Hanson. “But there’s no one you can call at Facebook. Anyone who isn’t a Fortune 100 company isn’t getting any customer service there.” (He says Twitter is much more customer-friendly.)

How do PR pros incorporate paid opportunities in their PR programs?

“Talk to the right person,” says Hanson. He says his clients aren’t always PR people – in one case he works directly with a community engagement manager. And Snell agrees that there are more than just PR people in the room these days. His agency finds itself up against advertising and interactive agencies when they pitch new business.

Let the numbers speak for you. “You can lay claim to a lot more than you could ever get with traditional advertising or PR,” says Hanson, so use the digital nature of the media and its ability to track metrics to your advantage.

Don’t forget the basics. No one should tack on social media strategies that aren’t tied to overall goals for reaching specific audiences. To determine what tactics are right for you or your client, consider your goals, your audiences and where they are and their communication preferences, as well as how social media can bolster your other marketing communication strategies.

What other strategies do you use to integrate paid media in your PR program?

Alison Kenney an independent PR practitioner with more than 15 years of PR consulting experience. She is based on Boston’s North Shore and has worked with organizations in the technology, professional services and consumer industries. She writes a bi-monthly PR column on You can find her at www.kprcommunications.comLearn more about Alison Kenney.


How is your ‘coffice’ etiquette?

This is a post by PR Columnist, Alison Kenney.

I think it’s safe to say that everyone will at some time experience working from a coffee shop. Even if you’re not a regular telecommuter, you’ll spend some time trying to get a few to-do’s done when you’re on the road, or you’ll escape to a local shop on a work-from-home day.

What’s the attraction? 

Well, duh, there’s coffee. And usually some good-looking other stuff to eat.

But there’s also a good business reason to do it. In one of its most-read leadership articles of 2013, Fast Company outlined the reasons everyone should work in a coffee shop, even when you have an office.

Seriously, researchers at The Journal of Consumer Research found that moderate ambient background noise enhances performance on creative tasks and increases the buying likelihood of innovative products. If that’s not enough incentive, Starbucks ups the ante by offering access to free news, video and “premium content” from a variety of partners to anyone who logs onto its store Wi-Fi with its Starbucks Digital Network.

Once you’re there, it’s important to observe ‘coffice’ etiquette.  The most important, and obvious, bits of etiquette advice are:

  • Buy something
  • Be nice to the staff
  • Power up before hand & don’t hog power outlets
  • Work securely – working in a public setting has implications for your data security, as well as for the physical security of your gear.
  • Know when it’s time to go – don’t stay and hog a table if there are long lines of paying customers
  • Take your phone calls somewhere else

 Some you may not have thought of are:

  • Advertise on the back (case) of your laptop
  • Don’t download huge files, or stream movies hogging the Wi-Fi bandwidth for others
  • Clean up after yourself – yes, you’re at a restaurant, but you also might want to ingratiate yourself to the staff

And, in the third category of ‘who WOULDN’T think of this’ here are a few last tips:

  • Take advantage of mobile technology. I know, right? But check out these Improv Everywhere pranksters who brought complete desktop computing workstations to the coffee shop.
  • Don’t bring in outside food. Just because there isn’t a sign saying not to do it, that doesn’t make it right.

Want to try working from a ‘coffice’ but can’t break free of your cubicle? Try Coffitivity, a free web site that simulates the sounds of a coffee shop on your desktop.

Alison Kenney an independent PR practitioner with more than 15 years of PR consulting experience. She is based on Boston’s North Shore and has worked with organizations in the technology, professional services and consumer industries. She writes a bi-monthly PR column on You can find her at www.kprcommunications.comLearn more about Alison Kenney.


Creating an Action Plan for Landing Your Dream Job

This is a guest post by Helen Evans, Marketing manager of Jobtonic.

Every person has their dream job. More often than not, people fall into old habits and stick with a job that they truly do not like. While this may be a necessity in some cases, it probably won’t lead to better opportunities. Instead, it is up to you to create an action plan so that you can work at Google Plex or any other company that you have a burning desire to be employed by.

Define Your Dream Job

First, you must figure out what your current dream job truly is. This will change greatly over time, but define it now.

  • Where do you want to work?
  • What city do you want to work in?
  • What field do you enjoy?
  • Which company do you want to work for?

Outline every facet of a job and really determine what your true dream job will be. It may be difficult to discern at first, but you will find that by defining your dream job, you can take steps to actually being employed quickly.


There are always companies trying to get the attention of people who are looking for work online. Dig into these postings and see what the normal requirements are. This will include:

  • Areas of specialty
  • Education requirements
  • Certifications
  • Years of experience

These requirements will let you know what you are up against. Everyone wants to be a VP of a company, but this takes years of experience. You need to know what it is that you are required to do. If you have no problem spending 3 – 5 years going through lower positions, you may be able to meet the requirements for your dream job. Remember, everyone starts somewhere.


Every field is different when it comes to education. First, find out what educational requirements a job has and start to pursue the appropriate education. Those that have already graduated college will find that they may not even need to go any further. This means you can start in the field much faster.

If you do need to seek higher education, try to get it paid for by an employer. There are many companies that will help a person pay for their degree.


One of the most overlooked areas of education is that of certifications and licensing. Every field has their own level of certification and if you procure the right certification, you will boost your job options greatly.

Certifications can be researched online and will require a fee. The minimum fee will be to take the test, but harder certifications may require professional teachers and may be more costly. While computer certifications are self-taught, those given to nurses will be hands-on.

Once you have all of your educational requirements and certifications, you can start searching for a job. You may find entry-level positions in your desired field, or you may need to work your way up in a company. In either case, start applying for jobs and know that your biggest hurdle is now behind you.


Recap of 2nd Annual Solo PR Summit

This is a post by PR Columnist, Alison Kenney.

If you think professional development is different for independent PR pros than it is for agency or in-house staff — think again!

Sure, independents aren’t likely to have access to corporate training and development. And their budgets for professional development might be smaller than other PR pros’. But solo PR pros have the same need for conferences and events that can help them stay on top of trends in the PR industry, learn from expert case studies and bring them together with other practitioners in their field.

Luckily, there’s now an established resource for independent PR pros: Solo PR Pro held its second annual conference last week in Atlanta. Approximately 80-100 solo PR practitioners attended to learn new skills, network with other independent PR pros and find inspiration.

What was it like to attend?

Speakers at the Solo PR Summit were selected for the expertise they could share. Conference attendees heard from PR measurement expertShonali Burke; SEO guru Jenny Munn; and former broadcaster and video expert Dan FarkasArik Hansen used client case studies to showcase his experience with Facebook Ads and David Griner underscored the changes in PR by encouraging and showing the audience how to incorporate paid media opportunities in our work. Lauren Vargas detailed the path she has taken to help Aetna become a social business.Mary Deming Barber, a PRSA Fellow and APR, shared best practices for strategic planning.

Other speakers covered topics unique to the life of an independent PR pro – such as Diane Rose’s session on sub-contracting; Jenny Schmitt’s and Kellye Crane’s joint session on managing difficult conversations; Daria Stegman’s talk on partnerships; and Kami Huyse’s andFran Stephenson’s session on how they worked together to make investments in their own practices.

Inspiration was everywhere, including Chris Craft’s talk about pursuing entrepreneurial excellence and Shelly Kramer’s butt-kicking talk about using content marketing to promote your brand. Jason Falls wrapped the conference up with pointers for optimizing solo PR practices.

Throughout the conference, solos had the opportunity to connect, share and build relationships. The community that Kellye Crane started six years ago with a blog and built up with a weekly chat on Twitter and an active private group on Facebook, was alive and thriving in real life in Atlanta.

Alison Kenney an independent PR practitioner with more than 15 years of PR consulting experience. She is based on Boston’s North Shore and has worked with organizations in the technology, professional services and consumer industries. She writes a bi-monthly PR column on You can find her at www.kprcommunications.comLearn more about Alison Kenney.



It Loves Me, It Loves Me Not: The Truth About How Companies Treat Employees

While most relationships are reciprocal in their affection for one another, that’s not always the case for the employee/employer relationship. In a recent survey by Virgin Pulse, nearly 75% of employees said they loved their companies, while only 25% felt their companies loved them back.

Why We Love Where We Work

The reason for adoration of an employer vary, but some of the reasons in the survey include:

  • They felt they had interesting and challenging work
  • They liked their company’s mission and what it stands for
  • They love their co-workers
  • They have a flexible work schedule
  • They get great perks and benefits
  • They get paid well

The Feeling Isn’t Mutual

Despite many employees enjoying what they do and where they work, many don’t think their employers feel the same. But exactly how does a company show that it cares about employees?

The survey revealed many obvious answers, like managers showing more praise or offering better work/life balance. Surprisingly, money isn’t the only way employees feel appreciated, though it certainly helps. Great benefits like life insurance, maternity leave, and 401k plans also make employees feel more cared for.

And it seems like some employers try but somehow miss the mark. While a company might think that nap time and weekly massage are what employees really want, the survey showed that most care more about services and benefits that help them maximize their quality of life, such as an on-site gym or healthier cafeteria options.

How to Get What You Want from Your Employer

If you’re one of those workers who feels underappreciated at your job, don’t assume your only option is to jump ship. It is highly possible that your employer simply doesn’t know what you look for in terms of feeling acknowledged. A little dialogue about it can go a long way.

  • Talk to your colleagues. Are others feeling walked over, or are you alone in this? If you band together, you’ll be able to present a more solid case for what you all want from your company.
  • Brainstorm. In an ideal world, what would your company look like? What perks would it offer? Now, in a realistic world (read: small budget), what would you be satisfied with? Maybe you’d love a dream gym where you can work out in your building on your lunch break, but you’d settle for a free pass to the gym down the street.
  • Make your case. Make a list of accomplishments you and your colleagues have made over the past year to show that you’re dedicated to the success of the company. It’s easier to ask for something when you’ve proven that you’ve given in return.
  • Schedule a meeting. Bring a few of your co-workers (not so many that your manager feels bamboozled) and give a well-prepared presentation that explains how you’re collectively feeling about the company, as well as your ideas about how to improve morale. Realize your manager may not have final approval on your ideas, and that you may have to be flexible in what results you get (that company sauna might not be a reality). Being open to conversation is what you really want.
  • Follow up. You don’t want a meeting that results in a lot of empty promises that never amount to anything. Ask for dates that you can expect the ideas to be turned into reality. Obviously it would take longer to build that inter-office gym than it would to snag employee passes to a local gym.

Remember: you can’t always leave your workplace happiness in the hands of your employer. Don’t be afraid to take measures into your own hands to get the results you want.


PR Agencies in 2014

This is a post from PR Columnist, Alison Kenney.

Last week I attended a Social Media Breakfast Boston event called “The Evolution of PR, Marketing & Digital: What’s Next for the Agency World?” It featured panel speakers from big PR agencies (FleishmanHillard and Racepoint Global), a small virtual PR agency (PerkettPR) and an ad agency (Mullen).

So just how have these firms “evolved”? Here’s what I took away from the discussion about what’s it like to work at a PR agency in 2014:

Agencies today offer a mix of disciplines

As FleishmanHillard’s Seth Bloom pointed out, it used to be that no matter what client they were pitching or what the business objective happened to be, agencies primarily offered some flavor of media relations as the solution. There was talk about integrated marketing campaigns, but those rarely came together unless you were working with a very large brand that had a budget large enough to grab the attention of multiple sister agencies and could afford the massive amount of coordination work. As an example of how this has changed, Bloom ended his presentation with a short video his team created to tease the launch of a new, waterproof Samsung phone. I couldn’t help but think how the launch would have been teed up ten years ago, most likely with a focus on media pre-briefings.

Now agencies offer lots of different services under one roof. A typical corporate CMO wants a mix of paid, owned and earned media and PR agencies are more and more frequently offering it, rather than just a piece of it. I wonder if this means the new business teams at PR firms find themselves going up against new types of competitors and having to position themselves against different types of agencies? Tom Foremski thinks now is the time for PR agencies to go after ad agency business.

What does this ‘new agency look’ mean for staff? Employees at PR firms are expected to understand the ins and outs of each discipline — as Racepoint’s Dan Carter said, “you need to know what a creative brief is.” Account teams need to know how to package and sell different program elements and also, importantly, how to report the results in a way that a CMO can appreciate and understand.

Account teams touch lots of technology throughout the day

Without fail, these types of events always feature a question about what tools are most useful. I think everyone just wants to make sure they’re not missing anything. The panelists didn’t disappoint – they rattled off a laundry list of technology used by their firms to monitor, manage and report on work being done. The names included tools for tracking sentiment, cross-channel posting, listening, content creation, analytics, email marketing and social marketing. Skyword, Netbase and Hootsuite all got shout-outs, and the bigger agency representatives mentioned the proprietary platforms and software they use, such as FH’s Blackbox, as well as a social media task force (at Racepoint) that evaluates new technology as it comes along.

Employees are more diverse

Although one of the perks of working at a PR firm is being surrounded by co-workers who do the same type of work you do and understand what you’re going through, that may be starting to change. As agencies branch out with a wider array of service offerings, they’re hiring workers with different skill sets. Mullen’s Eric Fulwiler, who has worked previously at VaynerMedia, and the Clinton Foundation, advocates hiring the right talent, which you should identify by gut and then train internally.

The panelists settled on some core skills that remain important for agency hires, including writing skills, media savvy, judgment (empathy), an entrepreneurial spirit, the ability to learn and to work with others who have different perspectives. As always, PR agency pros are expected to dive deep into their clients’ cultures. Today they’re also expected to be savvy about indirect competition like pop culture.

Alison Kenney an independent PR practitioner with more than 15 years of PR consulting experience. She is based on Boston’s North Shore and has worked with organizations in the technology, professional services and consumer industries. She writes a bi-monthly PR column on You can find her at Learn more about Alison Kenney.


What’s In & What’s Out in the PR World for 2014


This is a guest post by PR Columnist, Alison Kenney.

Happy New Year! If you’re like many of us, you’re probably eager to see the last of some of 2013’s industry trends and welcome new, better habits for 2014.


Here are a few to look forward to:


Social Media Tracking – Most PR pros I know use a mashed up manual method for tracking social media metrics. It works like this: you start with the metrics your various tools give you, then manually add metrics that are important to your campaign or client to come up with a way to show progress (or not) toward meeting your goals. The last few years have shown us that the data and technology are there, perhaps this will be the year we’ll have customizable apps to help us track and measure social media efforts.

Tear-jerking videos – I’m betting that we’ll see a few more of these this year. Some of 2013’s viral videos were stellar, like WestJet’s Christmas Wishes Granted and Dove’s Beauty Sketches. But some tried to marry their brand with a serious issue and didn’t quite pull it off (IMHO), like this one from Special K.

Budgeting for formerly ‘free’ social media plays – In the second half of 2013, Facebook made some changes to encourage brands to pay to promote their posts. Now that Twitter is a public company, expect to see a push for ad dollars on that platform too.

Female empowerment – Topics like ‘Lean In’ and ‘Having it All’ peppered the headlines in 2013. Will the buzz build or fade away in 2014? Brands are reflecting our interests in the topics, as we’ve seen with the Dove and Special K ads mentioned above, plus Pantene’s Labels Against Women ad, which pretty much rides Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In messaging.

Native advertising – Formerly known as advertorials, expect to see more PR pros pitching media partnerships in which their clients or brands contribute regular content or sponsorship to a media outlet. Even the venerable New York Times is preparing for more native ads in 2014.

Long form journalism – There may be fewer examples of this type of reporting, but the good ones will blow you away – as evidenced by this list of 2013’s best longform writing. The New York Times was so successful with its “Snow Fall” project (a Peabody award-winning feature story about surviving an avalanche told in print, video and multimedia) that the Times created a new position to edit ongoing similar projects.

Tweeting responsibly – This is IN, right folks?


Traditional Media Business Models- By the end of 2013, we learned that hyperlocal crowdsourced news wasn’t the answer (see The Fatal Error that Doomed AOL’s Patch). I doubt 2014 will be the year that everything changes for newspapers although I wish Jeff Bezos the best. Sadly, I think we’ll continue to see newsroom cuts and media consolidations in the year ahead.

Marquee reporters on staff – 2013 was a doozy of a time for top-of-the-pack journalists to leave their long-time jobs. David Pogue departed the New York Times for Yahoo; Dan Lyons left Forbes to work at HubSpot and theWall Street Journal said goodbye to Ben Worthen (who joined Sequoia Capital) and Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher (who moved to NBC).

Social Media Faux Pas – It’s not a new lesson (see my 2011 post, Is Tweeting Hazardous to Your Job?), just one that we seem to re-learn each year. Justine Sacco is 2013’s Tweeting Before Thinking poster child.

Critical online reviews – In this criticism of BuzzFeed’s new policy not to publish negative book reviews, Maria Bustillos suggests that BuzzFeed will therefore become a source of “mere publicity” -or even worse – “a tool for monetizing everything and erasing the line between advertising and editorial content.” Other online review sites – Yelp, Amazon, among others – have faced this issue in the past and consumers have adjusted their expectations for perspective and credibility accordingly when visiting these sites.

Alison Kenney an independent PR practitioner with more than 15 years of PR consulting experience. She is based on Boston’s North Shore and has worked with organizations in the technology, professional services and consumer industries. She writes a bi-monthly PR column on You can find her at www.kprcommunications.comLearn more about Alison Kenney.


10 Holiday No-Nos for the Office

The holiday season — while filled with joy and good cheer — can be a landmine in the office if you’re not careful. Here are 10 potential pitfalls you should watch out for this season.

1. Don’t Overdo it at the Office Holiday Party

While you certainly should relax at the company holiday party, do so within reason. Use it as an opportunity to talk to people other than the usual suspects. For some reason, whenever co-workers start drinking together, embarrassing things tend to happen. Pay attention to your alcohol consumption, and avoid the temptation to put that lampshade on your head.

2. Don’t Give an Inappropriate Gift to Your Boss

It’s perfectly acceptable to give the people you work with small tokens of appreciation for Christmas, but don’t give anything — especially to your boss — whose intent could be misunderstood to mean you have romantic interest in him or her, or simply want to get ahead in your career.

3. Don’t Take Vacation at Crunch Time

If you work in an industry that’s bombarded with work this time of year, try to avoid asking for vacation time unless absolutely necessary. You’ll come off more of a team player if you wait to unwind on the beach after the stressful period of work is over.

4. Don’t Flood the Break Room with Fattening Treats

Sure, most people love munching on your gingerbread cookies,  but when everyone is worried about packing on the pounds around the holiday season, healthy alternatives are appreciated.

5. Don’t Angle for a Promotion at the Company Party

If you’ve been vying for a promotion or raise, bringing it up to your boss at the party is definitely a no-no. He’s there to relax too, and will be put off if you’re spouting off all your accomplishments as he’s trying to do the Electric Slide.

6. Don’t Hook Up with a Co-Worker

We keep coming back to that office party, don’t we? Inter-office romance is a tricky thing, and one-time hookups at the holiday party definitely make for an awkward and strained work environment. Instead, bring a date (even if it’s just a friend) to the party to avoid being tempted by the new hot intern.

7. Don’t Be Exclusive with the Gift Giving

Okay, you don’t have to get everyone in your office a gift, but unless you can subtly hand off a giant wrapped box to your favorite co-worker, try to get something for everyone, even if it’s just a card. This can help dial down the jealousy and keep cohesion in the office.

8. Don’t Grouse About Your Nonexistent Bonus

Times are hard. If you don’t get a bonus from your boss, don’t complain about it. It’s not personal. Your boss will appreciate it if you take it in stride.

9. Don’t Assume Everyone Celebrates Christmas

When giving cards, stick to “happy holidays” messages to avoid offending anyone. And if you know a co-worker practices another religion, find out if she is comfortable accepting gifts before you give one.

10. Don’t be a Scrooge

If you’re not into the festive vibe, don’t ruin it for everyone else. This is one time of year that people don’t work as hard if they don’t have to, and enjoy general camaraderie with others in the office.


More Real-World Stories on Getting Hired in PR

Last month I brought you several stories of folks who had unique ways of getting their jobs. Here are even more!

Telling a Story at Your Own Expense

When Brad Hobbs interviewed at Max Borges Agency, a tech PR firm (where he is now Account Director), he surprised the President with his answer to a question about what gadgets Hobbs used daily. Hobbs’ response was “Just my iPhone.” When Borges was confused how someone interested in tech PR could subsist on only one piece of technology, Hobbs dove into his story about how all his other gadgets burned in “a fantastic blaze of glory,”  as they were all in an RV that burned to the ground.

Naturally, Borges wanted to know the full story, and Hobbs told him:

“I went into the full story of how I came about owning a 1978 RV, how I drove it across country with a friend, broke down multiple times, went through 5 car batteries, slept at a gas station, a Cracker Barrel and across the street from a mobile home that was unrelatedly on fire, got 4.9 miles to the gallon, was pulled over in Alabama and accused of smuggling drugs…..and on and on…..just to get it to Florida, fix it up and take it on its inaugural camping trip where it proceeded to light on fire with me and five friends inside.”

Not to worry; Hobbs and his friends were fine, but the RV wasn’t. Borges enjoyed the story so much, he hired Hobbs within days.

Hobbs said what helped him get the job can help anyone: “Don’t be afraid to show some of yourself, of who you really are in an interview.

Being Open to Serendipity

Sometimes despite all the resumes you send out, your perfect job is waiting for you where you least expect it. When Boomer Beam attended his mother’s 25th high school reunion in her stead, he met many of his mother’s classmates. Among them was Elizabeth Nickol, whose family founded All American Clothing.

“The conversation led to an interview, then an internship and eventually a job that I absolutely love. Enjoying a little spontaneity throughout your lifetime can sometimes lead to good opportunities. Keep an eye out for your opportunity. You just never know.”

Beam is now the Director of Marketing and Communications for All American Clothing.

Sharing Your Personal Passions

It’s not always possible to work in a field you’re passionate about, but when your interests align with your job, you stand out to hiring managers.

Kateri Wozny, who has a background in journalism, was looking to break out of the field and move into public relations. She wanted to work for a company that she could identify with on a personal level. She applied with Consortium Media as a PR Specialist, which turned out to be the perfect fit. One of the company’s major clients was a foster service.

“Although I was never a foster child, I was adopted and understood the personal connection that all children deserve a loving family,” Wozny said, “I made sure I emphasized that in my cover letter and my then boss even mentioned in the interview that she was impressed that I could relate to one of their clients and had some ideas for it.”

Her advice to college grads applying for PR jobs is: “make sure you can in some shape or form actually relate to the client/brand and are passionate about it. If you can see yourself having a fun time pitching the brand/client to the press and can bring fresh ideas to the table, you’ll have a shot at getting hired.”


20 Things You Should Have Done this Year to Make Yourself More Hireable

Are you lamenting over not scoring your dream job in 2013? It could be that you were guilty of not doing one or more of the following tips to position yourself as the ideal job candidate.

1. Network more. It’s easy to say you’ll network, but when it comes down to it, did you regularly attend networking meetings and put yourself out there in the scary world of talking to people you don’t know?

2. Read your resume out loud. Simply tweaking a word here or there on your resume won’t help you really see it from an employer’s perspective. Reading it aloud can help you identify errors and awkward sentence structure.

3. Take someone to lunch. That could be a co-worker who’s higher up the ladder or someone else who works in your industry. This is your opportunity to get insider tips for succeeding in your field.

4. Blog. Blogging is especially useful if you don’t have a ton of job experience. Write posts about your take on your industry, interesting projects you’re working on, and other topics that display your intelligence and interest in your field.

5. Open your search parameters. Perhaps you really want to go in-house, and you declined the opportunity to take an interview with an interesting agency. Some agencies have much smaller account loads or you may even work onsite for one client. Opportunities like this could be a perfect bridge with what you are considering to do long term.

6. Invest in interview clothes. Hiring managers judge you the second you walk into an interview. If your clothes are worn down and cheap looking, it doesn’t say that you take yourself seriously as a professional. In 2014, invest in a few key basic pieces you can wear in multiple ways. This is always a good investment and can be used in many situations, not only interviewing.

7. Connect with a recruiter or two. Recruiters have the inside scoop on which companies are hiring, even if they’re not posting on job boards. A key relationship or two could open up a
new pipeline of interesting job prospects in the hidden job market.

8. Learn a new skill. Rather than waste time hating your current job, you could use it as a launchpad to your next career. Take any opportunity to diver deeper in the business or learn a practical skills that will hep with your career advancement.

9. Attend conferences and seminars. Another way you could have made yourself more hireable this year was to attend industry events where you could not only learn new things but also network with others in your field.

10. Read blogs. Read, read, read, and increase your awareness of what’s happening in your industry. You’ll also get ideas for your own blog.

11. Ask questions. Consider yourself a learning sponge and ask smart questions of the people you work with. You’d be surprised how much you can learn just through curiosity.

12. Update LinkedIn. Whether you’re currently looking for a job or not, your LinkedIn profile should accurately reflect your work experience. Continue to connect to people in your industry and follow conversations.

13. Join LinkedIn Groups. Find a few groups that focus on your industry so you can learn from those who have already taken the path you’re on. Also find groups locally so you can network with people at companies you’re interested in.

14. Freelance. Especially if you don’t have the experience to get the job you really want, freelancing can help you fatten up your portfolio and make some extra cash.

15. Volunteer. Another great way to expand your portfolio is to donate your PR skills to a nonprofit or other organization. Volunteering is a good resume builder and a chance to explore new areas of interest.

16. Go Back to School. You may not need a second Bachelor’s degree, but it never hurts to take some continuing education classes or workshops to bone up on new skills.

17. Ask for the Job. If you’ve met someone who makes the hiring decisions at another company, have you truly leveraged that relationship? While you don’t want to take advantage, there’s nothing wrong with expressing interest in working for the company. It can open doors for you.

18. Be Different. The next time you apply for a job, do something different like create a video explaining why you want to work at a company (if that approach fits the company culture). Be memorable in a good way.

19. Look Internally. Rather than seeking a job elsewhere, see what opportunities lie in the company you currently work for. You’ve already proven yourself in your current role, and many companies prefer to hire internal candidates.

20. Be Diligent. You can’t give up after your first 10 resumes don’t net anything. Look for ways to constantly improve yourself, but remember, the search for the right job doesn’t happen overnight. j


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