Finding the perfect job isn’t just about applying for every position that suits your criteria. Often, you’ll find that the job isn’t all it promised to be once you have it. This is where doing your research during the job search process comes in.
There are several ways to use search engines and social networks to help you find the best job for your talents; all you need to do is start searching. Here’s what you should be looking for:
- Search for job listings.
Chances are, you’re already doing this to some extent. If not, you should be. Don’t get stuck looking at just the large job boards. Check out the niche job sites in your industry. Hoojobs, for example, has agency and in-house listings throughout the United States for public relations, communications, and social media professionals (disclosure: I’m a co-founder of the site). Search hashtags in Twitter. Some of the popular ones include #happo (Help a PR Pro Out) or #prjobs. You can also search Google using phrases such as “wanted” and “seeking” along with the position you are interested in. This will turn up help wanted listings that you might not otherwise see because they are on sites you wouldn’t think to check.
- Find companies and make cold calls.
We tend to shy away from cold calling because it has a higher chance of rejection, but if you want to uncover the hidden job opportunities, you really have to leave your comfort zone. If you are focusing your search for PR agencies in San Francisco and you’re not sure where to start, use Google Maps to quickly list agencies in your area. A simple search for “public relations” will yield pages of results and points on the map, complete with address, phone number, and website. Once you have your short list, contact them to see if they have any positions open.
- Find out who to contact.
Once you know which companies you are interested in, take the time to look for the correct person to contact about a job. Your chances of success will go up considerably if you contact the right person, as opposed to simply sending an application out into the ether. Start with a LinkedIn search for all the people within that company. If you are applying for a PR Manager role, write down all the names of the people who it could report to and contact the person who is most likely to be the hiring manager. You might also find this information in the “About Us” or “Contact Us.” Some companies offer a list of key staff members and may even include contact information such as a phone number and email address for each.
- Research the company.
It’s not uncommon to get the job you wanted only to discover that it isn’t as pleasant as you had imagined. The boss may be more difficult than anticipated, or the company may have policies that you can’t stand. The best way to avoid this is through research ahead of time.Before you apply for any job, be sure to look online for any comments about the company. Previous or current employees may have written about their experiences and this can give you a good idea as to whether or not you want to work there. Glassdoor is a site that allows employees to write honest reviews about their company and is a good starting point. Of course, keep in mind that a few negative comments shouldn’t deter you completely from pursuing an opportunity. The information shared could be outdated and the company’s policies have changed. It’s also important to remember what doesn’t work for one person might be perfectly fine by another.
- Research the staff.
Some people aren’t shy about sharing their opinion for someone online, and this can work to your advantage. Check out the more important staff members by Googling their names and see what comes up. Use http://blogsearch.google.com/ to check for blog posts, too. You can take it step further and search a site like SocialMention to check other social media sites or Backtype to set up and view alerts in blog comments. A little bit of cyberstalking could quickly uncover information you wished you had known before making a decision to work for the company – and don’t think for a second they aren’t doing the same for your name.
Job hunting is a challenge, but with the power of the Internet, we have more options than our parents did. These tools allow extensive research on a job and the key members of any company long before you submit your application.
This is a post from PR columnist, Alison Kenney.
At a recent social media seminar I attended the moderator closed the session by asking the panelists what stage their social media programs are in. For answers, he gave the following options: infancy, adolescence and adulthood. The choices suggested that social media programs are meant to grow and evolve.
For instance, if your social media program is in its infancy, this could mean that you’ve begun building it and are working to attract followers and “likes.” You may have built a Facebook page, developed a blog, started a YouTube channel, used Slideshare to share presentations, claimed a Twitter ID name or started a group on LinkedIn and started curating your followers. If you’ve done this and are wondering “what’s next?” Lee Odden offers some food for thought in his blog post “Five Ways to Electrify Your Social Network.”
The adolescent social media program is one that isn’t afraid to experiment and take risks, probably because it has developed a sense of what it takes to keep an audience engaged, established savvy listening techniques and makes use of advanced measuring tools. Sometimes this is also the stage where social media experiments are abandoned.
Adult social media programs have the wisdom and experience gained from a period of experimenting and can look at the program in terms of its business value to the organization. Social media programs in adulthood are mature enough to understand that trying too hard to shape social media doesn’t work; it’s most important to be authentic. Organizations experienced with social media also use it at multiple points in the organization to enhance sales, HR, customer service and other functions beyond marketing.
Valerie Maltoni, who blogs at ConversationAgent, wrote awhile ago about the lifecycle of a social media program and described the types of actions that resulted in higher and lower levels of buzz and engagement. Maltoni’s post is interesting because it infers that the effort you put into your social media program is not constant and ongoing but rather waxes and wanes over time.
Hmm…I wonder what retirement will look like?
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.
This is a guest post by Derek Pangallo.
Hi, I’m a political scientist in Washington, DC working on and writing about political new media and online advertising. Reach me: derek.pangallo(a)gmail.com
No matter the industry you seek to get ahead in, you want a resume that makes a splash. In this post I’ll share some practices I’ve come up with that make you more appealing to the recruiter, and let you get some passive feedback from them. This isn’t an article encouraging you to add your twitter profile to your resume. In fact I’ll make a point to discourage it. The focus is leveraging technology to make your resume work better.
Every hiring manager has a different process, so we must acknowledge that some people read the resume before the cover letter. It’s also likely you’re resume will never be printed unless you get called in for an interview. For these reasons, the first overall impression of the resume is of utmost importance.
The best way to control the first-impression experience of your resume is to use the PDF format. Word documents look messy with all the rulers and toolbars, plus on a foreign computer’s dictionary, your ethnic last name will get the dreaded red-squiggly underneath. No point in racial profiling yourself.
What’s really great about PDF: using Adobe Acrobat professional, you can set the initial view properties of a document point-by-point. I have my resume set to “fit to page” upon opening, so the recruiter gets a bird’s-eye view before ever deciding if I’m worth scrolling down for. Even though you can’t actually read any of my experience or skills, you have to admit it’s a damn sharp resume. Interest acquired, awe accomplished.
You can also set options on the document like “full-screen viewing” and “hide all controls”; don’t do this. When opening a PDF like this up, Adobe gives the warning “this document is trying to take control of your computer” or something — that’s not the first impression we’re looking for.
Link Click Tracking
There are a couple ways to get feedback once your resume is in the figurative hands of a hiring manager. The easiest is to shorten the links in your resume using http://goo.gl. Add the shortened URL as your link, leaving the display text as the actual destination. On my resume it looks like this:
If you hover with your mouse, you can see the link points to http://goo.gl/cTRpE. For the end user, there is no difference after clicking, but we can now track when and how many times the link was clicked. Just add a “+” symbol to the end to see a link’s analytics: http://goo.gl/cTRpE+
You can use this method regardless of where you are directing your visitors. Periodically checking the “all-time” clicks on your links will give you an idea of how many recruiters bothered to click through to your blog, Linkedin, or portfolio.
If you want even more data about outbound clicks on your resume, you’ll need to be directing traffic to a site you control and have a Google Analytics account associated with it.
Using Google’s Free analytics tool, we can massage out even more data about the appeal of your resume. We can see exactly which job recruiter did the clicking, what city they were in, how long they stayed on your site, and much more. I’ll presume that you have a Google Analytics account and have it installed on your site.
This time around our desire isn’t to make links shorter, it’s to make them longer. You may have noticed longer URL’s with “UTM” codes in them. These are codes that tell Google Analytics where you were referred from. Organizing for America and Twitter both use this prominently in their emails.
For your first tagged URL, use the Google Analytics URL Builder. You enter the URL you will be redirecting to, then enter a campaign Source, Medium and Name (somewhat overkill for our purposes, but all three are requires.) I use one character, “r”, for source and medium, and change the “name” field for every resume I send out. Now you can tell exactly which resumes earned you clicks, drill-downing into that data.
Intelligent Use of Landing Pages
A quick word about where you’re actually directing traffic: make it count. Have a custom page on your blog just for talent-seekers. Also, optimize your LinkedIn profile make an impression. One way to do this is to rearrange profile elements so your recommendations are at the top. And definitely make sure LinkedIn users outside your network can see your photo — this is not the default setting.
What I’ve found
I’ve been utilizing these techniques for a few months now, and here’s what I know for sure: most of the jobs that call you for an interview still only clicked on one of your links. The lesson is that your resume only needs one link. Make it count. Depending on the job you’re looking for, link to your LinkedIn, your blog, or your portfolio. Don’t make it your twitter account unless you’re applying to work at Twitter, or your last tweet is always the first thing you want a prospective employer to see.
Questions/Improvements? Leave a comment or reach me on twitter, @derallo.
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.
That’s what I talked about in my post on US News & World Report this week. 6 Ways to Boost Your Job Search on LinkedIn. Check it out!
This is a guest post by Alison Kenney.
I’ve heard Foursquare referred to as the hottest new marketing tool. But personally, I’m not a huge fan. In fact, according to this Fast Company article, I’m in the apathy stage. I just don’t feel the need to compete for badges and mayorships — and not enough contacts in my personal network use it to make it a useful communication tool. However, I am intrigued by its marketing and PR potential.
Here’s why Foursquare matters to marketers:
Your audience is game. This CNN story on Foursquare creator Dennis Crowley illustrates the appeal of Foursquare to a certain type of consumer — someone such as Crowley — who enjoys playing virtual contests, or someone who loves the challenge of new e-games. Foursquare can be a new way to connect with your target audience or even a way to reach a new audience.
Foursquare can reinforce your brand loyalty. Retailers like Starbucks and Dominos (in the UK) are testing Foursquare as a way to identify enthusiastic customers by rewarding them with coupons and discounts based on the number of times they “check in” using Foursquare.
Mobile and geo-location technologies are the future. According to Yankee Group president and author of the book, “Anywhere: How Global Connectivity Is Revolutionizing the Way We Do Business.’’ Emily Nagle Green says that Google’s decision to put mobile first in their business is a telling indicator. Yahoo! also seems to be throwing its hat into the geo-location ring with its recent purchase of Kropol. A recent report from Juniperstates that all mobile location-based services may contribute a total revenue of $12.7 billion by 2014.
Location-based services are a natural fit for tourism and travel related brands. More than ever people are turning to the Web to plan their travel itineraries, find recommendations and map their trips. Foursquare can be a fun way to engage travelers and tourists during the process. The city of Chicago’s tourism office is encouraging people to recreate a scene from the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off using Foursquare. The state of Pennsylvania is leveraging social media to promote tourism too and has created special Foursquare badges just for Pennsylvania sites and uses Foursquare to provide tips for visiting Pennsylvania destinations.
Content generators now have another medium to reach their audience. The NY Times has aggregated its content for a new free iPhone app for visitors to Manhattan and Brooklyn and also offers integration with Foursquare for convenient check ins, i.e. convenient links to NY Times content.
Event marketers use Foursquare to drive participation. In addition to allowing users to know who is nearby or attending the same event, Foursquare can help event marketers increase participation. Last week fashion designer Cynthia Rowley launched the Cynthia Rowley Bridesmaids collection with the help of Foursquare and gave attendees at its launch unveiling a special gift if they checked in on Foursquare. (Visitors who check in at the store Lovely Bride during the week after the launch also receive 15% off their bridesmaid dress order.)
Whether Foursquare is here to stay, or not, smart marketers and PR pros are considering location-based social media as part of their integrated marketing plan. Are you?
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. Learn more about Alison Kenney.
This is a post from PR columnist, Alison Kenney.
As a solo PR pro, I love any technology or technique that makes my work easier or more affordable. Those that make life both easier and affordable really take the prize!
Following are a few examples of services that are free and also leverage social media to help PR pros collaborate to make their work easier and more effective. Each of these examples replaces or competes with a service that either a) previously cost an arm and a leg or b) was something that every PR team did individually and then staunchly guarded.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO) – Founded in 2008 by serial entrepreneur Peter Shankman as a Facebook Groups page, HARO is one of the fastest-growing social media services in North America.
HARO enables journalists to connect with the right source and grants everyone – from home-based entrepreneurs to large businesses – access to reporters who may write about them. It’s comparable to PRNewswire’s Profnet but can be subscribed to for free versus Profnet’s $3,500 price tag.
PitchWithMe: a new concept from PR pro Heather Whaling that helps PR folks collaborate on pitches to discover potential resources and offer journalists more multiple resources. As Heather says on the PitchWithMe site, “within agencies, this kind of packaged pitching is already taking place; however, freelancers, boutique agencies and small businesses don’t always have these kinds of resources available. Until now.” Thanks Heather!
BloggerLinkUp: kind of like a HARO or Profnet for bloggers and those trying to reach bloggers, BloggerLinkUp was formed by Cathy Stucker as a free resource (via email subscription) for bloggers who are looking for expert sources, products to review or guest posts and for PR reps who have products they’d like reviewed or guest blog posts they’d like to see published. In addition to providing tactical solutions, what I think is so great about these services is that they are also shifting the emphasis in our daily PR jobs from process to content. Now that we all have access to reporters’s queries, bloggers requests and other PR reps to collaborate with, we can focus on creative strategies and hopefully improve the PR services we offer.
What do you think? What free collaborative social media tools do you recommend?
Alison Kenney an independent PR practitioner with more than 15 years of PR consulting experience.Â 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. Learn more about Alison Kenney.
PRNewser is running an interesting series about how to get a job in social media via interviews with public relations and interactive agencies. The agency answers ten questions aimed at giving readers a sense of what an agency looks for in a social media hire and how social media inititatives are integrated in the agency. Lots of great information here for those of you looking for a social media focus.
Check out the interviews posted so far from R/GA, Ketchum, and Porter Novelli.
Digital and social media is definitely on the rise in 2010. Most of the new positions we've been getting in the past few months at Paradigm Staffing have been exclusively digital focused. Currently, we have three open searches - a VP Digital for a PR agency in New York, a SVP for a PR agency in Washington D.C., and a Social Media Manager for a healthcare company in San Francisco
This is a guest post by Kimberly Walsh.
I think it's pretty safe to say that the majority of people who graduated with PR degrees had to learn social media in the great educational institution of life. We've taken our knowledge of creating mutually beneficial relationships through two-way communications and applied it to the many online tools at our disposal.
I'm lucky enough to have landed my dream job. It combines my love of books and of connecting and communicating with people and bringing it all together through technology. It's also a job that didn't and truly couldn't exist before the advent of web 2.0.
My job is essentially running an online book club through Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Book clubs have long been popular in our culture, made even more so by celebrity backings like Oprah in the USA and Richard & Judy in the UK. It's so much a part of society that American network CBS even attempted a failed "reality" show Tuesday Night Book Club.
Anyone who's ever been a member of a book club knows the pitfalls. And that's usually finding the right fit. Some members are hardcore bookworms armed with English lit degrees, some join in order to simply have an adult conversation, while others are there just for the wine.
So, the question in an online version becomes: how to engage a wide audience? And by engage, I'm talking about our precious two-way communications, not just broadcasting opinions. Books aren't exactly niche marketing. Everybody reads. While an online book club (or any club for that matter) can't provide refreshments, it can provide a friendly setting for all manner of discussions. In fact, the virtual world is ideal for the book club format.
First, a little background about the program I'm talking about: Canada Reads started as a one week radio program where five celebrity panelists each choose a book to defend on air during the course of five days. If a book makes onto the show, the Canada Reads "bump" means an average sales increase of more than 1700%. That's second in influence only to Canada's biggest literary award, The Scotiabank Giller Prize.
The CBC Book Club was launched in spring of this year on the heels of a Canada Reads victory by journalist Avi Lewis who defended Lawrence Hill's Book of Negroes (printed as Someone Knows My Name in the USA). Incidentally, the book was recently named one of the top 10 Canadian books of the decade by Maclean's magazine.
With the advent of social media, particularly in recent years where the uptake by mainstream audiences of sites like Facebook and Twitter has influenced strategic communications and marketing plans, the opportunity for conversation is almost limitless.
Some takeaways from the online successes of these programs:
The golden rule of web 2.0 should be know thy audience. The bigger the audience, the more diverse their needs. You're simply not going to be able to force everyone who wants to participate into joining social media sites. Don't punish them for making that decision. Provide them with content in other ways. Use widgets to show them your Twitter stream. Hold their hands a little if you need to by posting how-to tips.
Not everyone is going to be comfortable with learning a new technology. Heck, you might even be nervous about it, too. Let them know they're not alone.
Let your personality shine. Your audience doesn't want to constantly be sold on an idea, product or service. Social media is the wrong platform for that. People want conversation with a real live human being who has opinions. Common sense and a smart code of conduct go a long way.
Content may be queen but a prime minister is needed to manage it. Post all you want, but know that there's such a thing as information overload. More importantly, don't make your audience work to find content. Information architecture are words you should get comfortable with but also think about options for sending out updates. It can be as easy as a well-crafted tweet with an appropriately shortened link, an RSS feed for updates, or a combination of options. Remember each user is different and will experience your content and site in a variety of ways.
Embrace change but know what your breadwinners are. It's all well and good to have a strategic communications plan setting out short- and long-term goals but social media is a moving target at times. You need to build in the flexibility to change with shifting interests in various platforms.
Take calculated risks. When those interests do shift to the next shiny web 2.0 tool, evaluate whether it's the right one for you before making the leap. At the Book Club one of the great value-added tools we added to our toolkit is CoverItLive for moderated chats with authors. Ultimately, it's a win in terms of bonus interactivity but it wasn't without a bit of sweat and elbow grease to get it just right.
What are some of your success stories in building online communities?
Kimberly Walsh (aka @AliasGrace) is a geek girl, bookworm, writer and PR thinker in one. By day, she works as a web content producer and social media manager for the CBC in literary programming.
This is a guest post by Alison Kenney.
It seems that every job description and prospective client wants to work with a PR pro who is social media savvy. Interestingly, this can mean different things to different people. At the extremes it could mean the difference between someone who thinks they are savvy about social media because they actively participate on Twitter and Facebook and someone who integrates, implements and measures SEO in all PR and business communications. Demonstrate your social media savvy-ness by being prepared to answer the following types of questions:
- How personally familiar are you with social media?
- When conducting a job search, which social media, online networks and Web-based communities do you turn to?
- Do you have a search- and social media-friendly Web site?
- Do you blog?
- Which blogs do you read on a regular basis? How often do you comment on blogs?
- Are you familiar with the popular feed readers? Which one do you recommend?
- Have you ever uploaded a video to YouTube?
- Have you ever uploaded digital photos to a site like Flickr?
- What social networks do you belong to? Do you use them for personal or professional reasons?
- How many followers do you have on Twitter? How many Friends on Facebook? Connections on LinkedIn?
- How do you use your cell phone besides making calls?
- Do you use Skype or ooVoo?
- How have you worked with social media for business purposes?
- How do you address both SEO and social media?
- How do you measure the ROI of your social media engagement efforts?
- Do you help clients/companies develop a blog strategy?
- Give some examples of podcasts you′ve developed for clients.
- Have you coordinated Live Chats for clients? What tools/medium do you use?
- Describe a successful blogger relations effort that you were part of.
- Have you ever been blacklisted by a blogger?
- How do you write a social media or SEO-enabled press release? What are the components?
- How do you integrate social media into your PR programs?
- Which key digital influencers do you participate in conversations with and what methods do you use for communicating with them?
- What kind of coverage can you expect when distributing a new social media release?
- How do you track and analyze online coverage and link-backs?
- What do you do when something negative appears about you/your client/your company on the blogosphere?
- How do you discriminate between different social media efforts?
- Which online press release distribution sites offer the best value?
- How do you gauge whether it′s worth spending time with an online community?
- Do some media types rank higher on search result pages than others?
How do you demonstrate your social media expertise?
Alison Kenney is 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 can be reached at alisonkenney at comcast dot net.
This is a guest post by Alison Kenney.
Social media has not only shaken up job-seekers′ lives — it′s also changed the way staffing and recruiting firms operate. Perhaps you linked to this blog from Twitter, or Facebook. Do you also interact with recruiters or staffing firms on those social media platforms?
There are two general ways that staffing firms use social media:
- To build their brand and position themselves as thought-leaders by passing along news, links to articles, etc that are industry-related
- To post open job opportunities
Boston-based temporary staffing firm Hollister is one of the most social media-savvy firms in the industry. Earlier this year, Hollister partnered with 451 Marketing, a Boston-based new media communications agency, and launched its "Recruiting 2.0" for using social media to recruit candidates. The effort includes building more than 30 online communities across LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. The communities are for both active and passive job seekers and are organized by profession to mirror Hollister′s service lines, including Accounting and Finance, Administrative, Creative and Marketing, Technology, and Human Resources.
For example, on LinkedIn the Hollister/451 Marketing team manages groups called Boston HR Leaders, Boston Accounting & Finance Professionals, Boston Creative Group and Boston Technology Hub.
On Twitter, Hollister posts job openings with links to longer descriptions on the Hollister web site and provides links to articles with tips for job seekers. Hollister has several identities on Twitter, including @JobsBoston, @BostonHiring, @BostonTechHub, @AccountingMA, @CreativeBoston and @BostonMarketing.
Hollister also provides content via two different blogs — one for hiring managers (http://bostonhiringblog.com ) and one for job seekers (http://bostonjobsblog.com). Hollister uses its social media communities to position clients′ job opportunities and identify more qualified candidates for job openings, including passive seekers who are more likely to engage with a professional community than visit a job board. Hollister also instructs its recruiters on best practices for creating and using personal accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, enabling them to get a more complete picture of job candidates and build relationships. According to Hollister′s Director of Marketing, Meg Toland, the communities, which have more than 1,000 members, are a strategic way to break through the clutter of job boards and home in on qualified candidates by using technology to interact more effectively.
Adecco Group NA, part of one of the largest staffing conglomerates in the world, has also built a presence on Twitter. Its @adeccoGroup, with more than 2,000 followers, tweets insights on the job market and economy, shares links to relevant news and promotes company news or executive opinions. In addition, Adecco has created separate Twitter identities for promoting job openings in specific fields, e.g. @jobs_accounting, @clerical_job, @jobs_callcenter, @jobs_CS, @jobs_engineers, @jobs_finance, @jobs_healthcare, @jobs_industrial, @job_marketing, @job_scientific, @jobs_operations, @jobs_payroll, @jobs_warehouse, @jobs_technology and @searchandapply (the last is a listing of all Adecco jobs). Regional Adecco offices also tweet under their own identities and post local job openings.
Staffing firms with the heft of a big brand, like Adecco, or those who are first to act, like Hollister, are staking their claims in social media. They′ve identified that the way to recruit candidates and promote job openings is by enabling interaction and sharing content via online communities.
is 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 can be reached at email@example.com.