This is a guest post by PR Columnist, Alison Kenney.
If you’re reading this you’re probably aware of the PR ups and downs experienced recently by Marissa Mayer and Sheryl Sandberg, two very prominent businesswomen. Sandberg is step-by-stepping her way through a case study on successful book launches, while Mayer ignited backlash and was perceived as setting family/work balance issues back a generation for ending Yahoo!’s policy of allowing some workers to telecommute.
I won’t get into the mixed messages that the media is communicating over whether Mayer and Sandberg are worthy role models for modern feminists or examples of how to ‘have it all.’ What they both are is terrific examples of how to be successful at work and in your career. And their examples translate well in the PR industry.
Picture Marissa Mayer as the new head of a PR agency, one that’s suffered in recent years due to the recession and needs an injection of fresh leadership to reinvigorate its client relationships and to amp up its bottom line to satisfy the bigwigs in its holding company.
PR agencies are in the service business, which means they must be accessible and responsive to clients and their needs. Agencies that are experiencing contractions in business and greater competition are more likely to call ‘all hands on deck’ meetings and stress personal accountability to meet these business challenges. In tight markets, firms may search for ways to combine or consolidate resources or they may try to establish new service offerings and revenue streams. The process innovations they come up with are most likely going to be geared toward helping each employee reach ultimate productivity levels and drive business results. (I realize not all PR agencies are the same; independent firms and virtual agencies, among other types of PR firms, may have different guiding values and different ways to achieve their desired results.)
Mayer gets it. She can talk the talk because she’s walked the walk. She was Google’s first female engineer and the 20th employee for the startup. During her career at Google, Mayer was an engineer, designer, product manager, and executive, and launched more than 100 well-known features and products. She was also in charge of some of Google’s acquisitions. She’s a Wal-Mart board member and angel investor. If anyone can right the ship, it’s her (we think).
Now picture Sheryl Sandberg as a senior vice president of corporate communications. She’s a great boss who brings a broad perspective to the role from her varied and impressive background of experiences. She knows what it takes to get PR a ‘seat at the table,’ too. Even better, Sandberg enjoys mentoring the next generation of internal communications directors with great advice on how to navigate the corporate career ladder.
I’ve written before about how the lines between PR and other functions in an organization can get blurred with PR increasing being measured for its ability to impact sales, customer service and other marketing functions. Sheryl’s experience as COO at Facebook is a good example of how to build inter-organizational bridges among various departments. At Facebook, Sandberg oversees sales, marketing, business development, HR, public policy and communications. She was a driver in uniting these functions to make Facebook profitable, one of her first major accomplishments at the company. Sheryl also understands the importance of transparency and authentic communications, which are essential to corporate communications and brand development.
And who better than Sheryl to shepherd PR through a period of massive change? Technology and social media are changing the PR role, complicating the way we work and measure our results. If anyone can teach us the importance of staying open-minded and encourage us to learn and adopt new methods, it’s the woman who is launching a cultural movement to get women to be better represented in corporate leadership roles.
Like the many places Mayer and Sandberg have worked in their careers, PR can be both hospitable and tough on working parents. I don’t think most working mothers are in a position to follow Mayer’s and Sandberg’s examples of balancing work and family, but both women offer lessons in how to succeed in the workplace.
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 LindsayOlson.com. You can find her at www.kprcommunications.com. Learn more about Alison Kenney.
We often hear about how job seekers can use social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter to their advantage. But what’s sometimes overlooked is the biggest network of them all: Facebook.
We think of Facebook as a way to connect with friends, not necessarily hiring managers or employers. But with over 500 million active users, Facebook is useful for professional networking, too.
1. Follow your target companies on Facebook. Some companies, such as Ernst & Young and Ford Motor Company, have special Facebook pages specifically for recruiting. You might find out about job opportunities on their Facebook pages quicker than finding their postings on a job board or their own career portal. It’s also a place to learn more about the company culture and ask the recruiting department questions about the hiring process. In smaller companies, the page may even be monitored by the decision makers, putting you in direct contact with the person who offers opportunities or hires.
2. Contact employers directly. Facebook allows users to send messages directly to other users even if you aren’t friends with them, which is especially useful if you can’t find their contact information anywhere else. Be careful with this approach though. Some people only want to communicate with their “real friends” on Facebook. Before contacting someone, make sure you’ve done your homework, and send a personalized message making sure to let them know who you are and why you are contacting them.
I got an inquiry from a reader the other day after posting the article about Twitter to find a job article.
Using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. does not seem to help find me leads. I have profiles posted, but no one contacts me whatsoever. What’s up with that?”
LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook aren’t the magic solution to your job search. The leads will not come pouring in because you have a profile up. You need to work at developing your network and improving your online visibility – before you need them for a job search. Social sites are a component of your job search toolbox. You must be proactive to make them work for you.
The value of networking online will never replace face-to-face networking. Some things are better in-person and networking is definitely one of them. That said, online networking has its purpose and is a powerful tool that should be integrated into your overall strategy when it comes to expanding and nurturing your professional network.
Considering geographical boundaries, time constraints, and personal obligations, online networking tools can help you quickly build a network that may have taken you years to build, if ever, any other way.
When we network in person, non-verbal cues help us interact with the other individual. We rely on all of our senses to engage in conversation and form opinions about moving the conversation to further stages. In the online world, we simply don't have as many sensory cues to rely on and, as a result, the game changes.
Autumn in New York full movie I do my fair share of online networking: LinkedIN, Twitter, Facebook, and blog commenting are my main tools. I also participate in a number of online groups and forums.
Here are a few personal tips I've found work well for me when it comes to networking effectively online....
Michael Melcher offers some good advice in the NY Times Shifting Careers blog about staying positive in your job search after a layoff. Being affected by a staff reduction isn't fun for anyone involved and for those who haven't engaged in a job search or interview process for an extended amount of time, they may even feel completely lost.
The typical person's job search starts with a resume re-write and then a scouring of online job boards to see what's out there. Resumes are sent into "the black hole" and with some luck, an automated response like this may be returned:
"Your resume has been forwarded to the appropriate department for evaluation. Should your qualifications meet our current requirements, we will contact you within the next several weeks for additional information or to schedule a personal interview. If there are no suitable openings at this time, we will retain your resume in our active files for future consideration."
But you never hear back even though your qualifications match perfectly.
As difficult as it may be to keep your chin up, it's a key to a successful job search. Melcher states, "People find new opportunities in recessions, but not people who spend a lot of time being depressed, whiny or angry."
Melcher's suggestions for dealing with non-responsiveness:
Act like a human being. The best antidote to feeling disconnected is to connect with people. Manifest as a person, not as an e-mail address.
Lessen your dependence on the Internet. If you are focusing solely on online applications, your job search hasn′t begun yet.
Assume that other people are busier than you are. A non-response isn′t a "no." It′s just a non-response.
In my opinion, the most important of these five suggestions is lessening your dependence on the internet job posts. Many companies do not post their open positions online, especially small or mid-size companies who may not have the budgets to subscribe to expensive job boards. Many recruiters (myself included) won't waste time posting open positions on job boards and chasing the same candidate pool as the job posters.
If you are relying solely on job boards for your job search, you are missing out on the majority percentage of available jobs out there. I'm not saying ignore them completely, but do realize the importance making real connections. Go to networking events (professional or personal), volunteer, be active in your social networks, reconnect with old colleagues and friends (this is something you should always be doing, even if you are happily employed!), meet your Facebook or Twitter friends for coffee, and find and build a relationship with a recruiting firm in your industry niche to keep an eye out for you.
Virgin Airlines was the first to discover 13 employees making comments. According to The Economist, "crew members joked that some Virgin planes were infested with cockroaches and described customers as 'chavs', a disparaging British term for people with flashy bad taste."
Shortly after, British Airways followed suit and "began investigating the behaviour of several employees who had described some passengers as 'smelly' and 'annoying' in Facebook postings."
This is one of many examples of how what one says in what could be considered a private or invite only forum by a user could affect current and future opportunities. Anything posted online is a digital footprint that could follow you for a very long time. A good rule of thumb is to post what you would feel comfortable with others seeing - like your boss, future employer, grandmother or children. If you have to really think if it's appropriate, it's probably a good idea to not go there.
On the other hand, companies need to take responsibility for being very clear with their employees about the online policies towards posting information associated with the company. Companies should trust employees to use these tools appropriately, but they need to be diligent about monitoring what's being said out there on the social web and perhaps join the conversation when appropriate.
LinkedInannounced last week the launch of its own applications platform. Now you can add ten different applications to share your work with your network: recent blog posts, your Amazon reading, upcoming trips, presentations, and other online collaboration tools. Here is a list and summary of the applications or watch the video below:
This is certainly not a new idea to anybody who is a regular user of Facebook or any of these tools. I'm surprised it took LinkedIn this long to launch an application platform (I'm still waiting on the an email toolbar for Mac - please LinkedIN, my productivity would benefit greatly with a similar toolbar for Apple Mail!).
Just because they are late to the game and I can use similar applications on Facebook, it doesn't mean I'm not going to use them on LinkedIn too. It is an invaluable tool in my job and I reach a varied audience in a much different way on LinkedIn than I do on other social networks. And I don't have to deal with invites from my network for silly applications I would never put on my page. Thank you!
Which applications are you using on LinkedIn? Has it changed how you are using the site?
Here's why: You may think of yourself as an Account Executive and define yourself that way in your LinkedIn profile, for example, but a recruiter searching for a Sales Rep might never find you, even though you're a perfect match for the job.
Solution? Embed all relevant job titles and skills in your profile.
If you can't find a way to do it naturally, simply include a sentence like this: "Similar job titles to what I've done include Sale Rep, Sales Representative, Account Executive, and Marketing Coordinator."
As long as you're accurate in your descriptions and don't go overboard, this tactic can get you found by recruiters searching LinkedIn or other social networking sites.
4) Could you join a community service organization and meet local leaders in a setting that lets your altruistic side shine through?Fire Down Below movie download
This is different from joining professional associations, in that community service organizations are not likely to be connected with business. But that doesn't mean you can't turn your volunteer efforts into networking contacts that lead to a new job.
Many of the most influential people in any community volunteer for soup kitchens, church boards of directors, youth mentoring programs, and the like. Why not join one and work alongside the kind of people you need to meet for long-term career success?
To find lists of possible groups to join, Google the phrase: "volunteer opportunities YOUR CITY" or "community organizations YOUR CITY."