Key Traits of the PR Professional of Tomorrow

•April 12, 2013 • Leave a Comment

PR

If I were hiring a “universal PR professional” to guide strategic communications in 2013 and beyond, here are some of my best practice tips to shape that PR person’s role:

1. Be proactive and don’t wait to be asked: Today, we are looking for people who will raise their hands to get involved. One place to get involved might be the development of a social media policy, training initiatives, and governance—new responsibilities that require PR to participate. You should never wait for someone to give you the assignment, especially if you identify an area in your department or company that needs support. Propose new ideas, do the research, and offer your assistance. The initiative you take will make you stand out among all the rest.

2. Start with good communication on the inside: Take the time to discover how to be more efficient and productive with your teams. Make suggestions beyond simply using email communication on how to finish your projects on time and under budget. Use social collaboration tools inside your company for better internal communications and then take the time to educate your peers on new ways to work together to increase overall productivity.

3. Test technology … always: Don’t fall behind the curve—stay ahead of it. Be ready to answer those leadership questions about “why” and “how” your brand should participate in new social communities. Take the time to “tech test” in different areas including collaborative platforms, applications, monitoring software, influence tools, etc., which will make you a more valuable asset to your organization.

4.Listen to be heard and to be relevant: Gathering customer intelligence is the best way to internalize information and then use it to communicate with meaning, through offline and new media channels. Since starting in PR, I was always told to listen first to solve problems. This is much more apparent today, as a result of social media. By truly “listening,” we can both help people and build stronger relationships with our constituents.

5. You are always on: Social media doesn’t sleep, so your organization’s readiness is key. Creating the social media crisis plan (integrated into an overall crisis plan) requires knowledge and skills. It’s imperative for you to build a system that catches negative sentiment early before it escalates, and to put processes and people in place for different levels of escalation through new media channels.

6. Build relationships by giving: And realize you sometimes have to give more. Before the Internet and social media, PR professionals were known for building relationships. Today, the ability to cultivate a relationship with new influencers and customers in which they congregate is both an art and science. Knowing how to strategically grow mutually beneficial relationships, whether they start online on Facebook or offline, is an essential part of the PR person’s role.

7. Live the brand to protect the brand: PR professionals who are more involved in the development of the brand experience, and who understand how the brand voice translates into the social media brand voice (with personality and transparency), are in a position to educate others. With this understanding you can help to build an army of champions, who can better protect and maintain the brand’s reputation at every touch point.

8. Be accountable with all of your communications, including social media: It’s important for you to understand the different metrics, whether they reveal community growth, reputation issues, increased awareness, or engagement with high-level impact. We also have to use social media analytics, paired with other data, to show return on investment (ROI), knowing that our communications cannot work in a vacuum and must be integrated with marketing and other areas of the organization. Of course, we also have to ask, “Why?” and then make sure the outcomes we are trying to achieve track back to our program objectives, which we measure over time.

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The 3 Biggest Resume Mistakes

•March 28, 2013 • 1 Comment

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With over 200 million resumes on LinkedIn, it will be harder and harder for a maybe to become a yes which is the first step in landing a new job. Great candidates with fantastic backgrounds can get condemned to the maybe pile because the resume didn’t represent them well and didn’t make an impression in the 30 seconds an average hiring manager spends on filtering a resume.

I find there are three big mistakes that usually cause an otherwise great resume to be filtered out in a screening process:

1) Focusing on the wrong thing: Candidates explain their responsibilities and list them in great detail, but forget to highlight their results. The unique things they did that their predecessors had not. What were their specific accomplishments and what sets them apart? The more quantitative, the easier for a screener or hiring manager to understand and select them for the next discussion. Numbers and metrics speak louder than words. Vague generalities are the kryptonite of a resume.

2) Writing a thesis when a synopsis is needed: Mark Twain once said, “if only I had more time, I would write thee a shorter letter”. When writing a resume, it is important to heed these words and take the time to really write succinctly and precisely. The longer and more dense a resume, the harder it is for a recruiter to get to the heart of your achievements and contributions. Precise, clear, factual, numbers driven resumes will always get more traction.

3) Leaving unanswered red flags: Candidates will often wait for the interview process to explain any red flags or gaps that may be on their resume, but by that time it may be too late. In most cases, they won’t make it that far if the issues are not explained on the resume, cover letter or LinkedIn profile itself. Candidates should put on the hiring manager’s hat and look at their own resumes with this filter and then proactively address any of these issues in a clear and unambiguous way. A couple of examples of what I mean:

  • Let’s say someone has moved around a lot in their career. A screener may see this as an inability finish things they start or an indication that they aren’t a committed candidate. It behooves you to explain the reasons for the movement where possible. Was it a corporate change, like an acquisition, that caused the moves? Or is it an indication that you were looking for more of a challenge?
  • Let’s say someone is applying for an engineering role but doesn’t have an engineering degree. This should be addressed in the objectives and the resume should reflect any and all skills that do relate to the job you are looking for. Do you have any relevant certifications? Are you self-taught? Can you link to any code you have written?

It is worth the extra effort to make your online profile rock solid. That’s the only way to convert the page views into clicks on your resume.

Oh and one other thing, in this day and age, there is no excuse for typos and grammar mistakes in a resume. Those types of errors demonstrate a lack of detail orientation and commitment, and may result in your resume going into the no bucket.

East Coast Music Festivals 2013

•March 19, 2013 • 1 Comment

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Summers almost here and music is in the air. With so many options on where to vacation this summer, a music festival might just hit the right note. Summer music festivals offer a unique experience to see all of your favorite musicians in one place, but they can also introduce you to your next favorite band. If you live on the East Coast there are three major summer music festivals that are sure to offer an experience of a lifetime, Bonnaroo, Electric Zoo and The Hangout Festival.

Both festivals are unique in their own way. Bonnaroo is the creme de la creme of music festivals. With past headliners such as Stevie Wonder, Radiohead and Jay Z, the festival’s eclectic lineup makes it a favorite of music lovers of all genres. The festival offers 4 days of on site camping with basic amenities such as bathrooms and shower stalls. Not for the light of heart, the Tennessee heat in June can be brutal, but hydration is the key,and with some basic precautions Bonnaroo can be an overwhelmingly enjoyable experience.

This year’s Bonarroo will take place June 13-16 in Manchester, Tennessee and hosts a sure to be memorable lineup. There will be headliners such as Tom Petty, Mumford & Sons, NAS, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis just to name a few. Also don’t get lost in the festival as the different stages boasts names such as ‘Which Stage’ and ‘The Other Stage.’ But getting lost can be half the fun and a precursor to bumping into your next favorite artist. Another fun aspect of Bonarroo is that it offers an air-conditioned comedy tent with some of the biggest names in comedy. Laughing is great, but laughing out of the mid-summer Tennessee heat is just pure joy. The headlining comedy personality also acts as a master of ceremonies of sorts for the larger musical acts.

Electric Zoo, Randall’s Island Park

Randall’s Island Park is located along the East River between Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx is the home of Electric Zoo. The scheduled dates for 2013 are Aug 30-Sept 01. The grass event space where the Electric Zoo festival is held is an area of about 24 acres for people to listen, party and have a good time. In its fifth year anniversary, Electric Zoo will now have 2 main stages and a total of 5 across the park.

While the 2013 Electric Zoo lineup has not been released yet, expect it to be filled with top artist due to the fact that it is the one of the most popular music festival on the East Coast. Electric Zoo likes to take 100 or so DJs and producers, ranging from Tiesto to somewhat more underground like Maya Jane Coles. Some previous lineups have included Zedd, Skrillex, David Guetta and Kaskade.

The Hangout Festival, Gulf Shores Alabama

The Hangout Festival is a rather new addition to summer music festivals. With its conception in 2010, the Hangout Festival is also one of the quickest to sell out of tickets. What makes this festivals different from the other major music festivals is that it takes place on the beach. Set on the beautiful Gulf Shores of Alabama, you can imagine listening to your favorite band with your bare feet in the sand and watching the sun set over the gulf. It can truly be magical.

With names like Paul Simon, Cee Lo Green and The Faming Lips, much like Bonnaroo, The Hangout Festival has a little something for everyone. It is smaller in scope which can be a positive quality. Sometimes at Bonnaroo there are so many choices and stages, you have to choose between your favorite acts of which one you want to see more. At the Hangout Festival there is only one main stage with smaller stages sprinkled in, so you won’t ever have to miss one of your favorites.

The Hangout festival does not offer a campground however, but the area does have a number of quality hotels and beach homes within walking distance. Obviously this offers more amenities than a campground like at Bonnaroo, but it can be a little pricey. But if done intelligently there are ways to keep your wallet intact. The Hangout festival will take place May 17-19 in Gulf Shores, Alabama and features Kings Of Leon, Passion Pit, Steve Aoki and Stevie Wonder as its headliners.

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So if you’re trying to decide how to spend your vacation this year, remember summer music festivals can be a wonderful experience. Although there are more such as FireFly and Newport Music Festival in Delaware and Rhode Island respectably. Bonnaroo, Electric Zoo and The Hangout Festival are perfect summer festivals for those on the East Coast. Like any vacation just make sure to use precaution and plan in advance. Music is the universal language and nothing speaks louder than hearing some of your favorites on all the same stage at summer music festivals. Remember to be careful, listen closely, dance mostly and always have fun. I have been to both Bonnaroo and Electric Zoo and would love to go to The Hangout Festival at some point. Who knows maybe I’ll see you at Electric Zoo this year.

4 Tips to Job Hunt Using Social Media

•March 12, 2013 • 1 Comment

Binoculars Job Hunter

If you think LinkedIn is the only social networking site to job hunt, you may be mistaken. Job seekers are often remiss in excluding popular social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

There are misconceptions that job seekers should be leaning toward LinkedIn to find jobs. But for companies that are more progressive, they think outside LinkedIn and have been very successful in filling positions.

Here’s a look at four ways you can job hunt on social networks.

1. Follow Companies on Facebook

If there’s a company you want to work for, be sure you “like” them on Facebook, Vitale says. When new job positions open, many companies will post it on their Facebook page, or have a tab dedicated entirely to open positions.

Companies tend to leverage Facebook to share jobs online through microsites or a tab within their company pages. Anyone who follows that brand on Facebook will be the first to know if something opens up.

2. SEO Your Facebook Profile

When Facebook’s new search tool, Graph, was introduced earlier this year, some people worried about its privacy implications. Facebook Graph does make it easier for others to find public information about you—bad if you don’t understand your privacy settings, but potentially good if you’re in the market for a new job.

I think it will take some time for recruiting to catch on to Facebook, but I know some recruiters who will be all over it. One example: A quick search of “People interested in Java who live in San Francisco” returns more than 1,000 Facebook profiles.

As more recruiters turn to Facebook to find talent, it’s important that you update your profile with relevant information. Be sure to update your education section, previous job experience, skill sets and languages you speak.

The more relevant information you pump into your profile, the better off you’ll be.

3. Search Hashtags on Twitter

Not many people consider searching Twitter when they’re looking for a new jobs, but you should.

Twitter isn’t just to tweet and share your thoughts. Technologists want to be with a progressive company, and these companies will often post open jobs on Twitter with appropriate hashtags that are easy to search.

Start by searching hashtags related to your industry and location with “#jobs” or “#jobsearch”. Try a few iterations of that search until you discover some leads.

Another plus to job searching on Twitter: It can be easier to find and connect with someone at that company.

Searching for jobs on Twitter means you literally have the most up-to-date job listings since they’re posted in real-time. If you find a job you’re interested in, reach out to whoever tweeted it. You have an advantage there because posts aren’t as anonymous as they are on job boards or LinkedIn.

4. Don’t Neglect Google+

Some people think Google+ is a flash in the pan, others are all over it. Because of Google+’s integration with its search engine, it’s important to maintain a profile on its social network.

When recruiters are looking for talent they go to Google first because it’s so easy to find people and resumes and associated sites. Because Google ranks Google+ profile pages high, it’s important to fill out yours with updated information and optimize it for your job hunt.

Hopefully, you will consider using these tips to help provide you with more avenues to landing a job.

Tips to Save Money During College

•March 8, 2013 • Leave a Comment


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As a college student, being broke is a continuous state of reality. The living off the few dollars you have, to most, is a new experience. Not being able to come home to your parent’s wallet can be a shock to many college students. But, it can be somewhat of a thrill giving you a sense or survival and wanting to explore new avenues. Most importantly, it gives you a chance to learn something quite important during your 4 or maybe 5 years at college, the value of a dollar. Recently being a former broke college student I understand many of the problems one faces. Here are some tips that I think can greatly help a student save during their time during college.

1. Consider Alternative Book Buying Options

Many colleges and university have a main book store on campus that offers all the course work needed items. All of these colleges and universities are business and will look to make as much money as possible. You can often find the same books you will need for your course on Amazon or EBay. Overall, on a semesters worth of books you could save up to $300 dollars easily. Once you are done with your books you can then sell them online to make your money back.

2. Stay off The Coffee

Have a coffee fix? If you are one of millions of college students ducking into the corner coffeehouse every morning before class to have your daily cuppa Joe, then you are wasting money. Coffee is becoming more and more expense and can add up to a hefty cost, on average a Dunkin Donuts coffee will cost between $2.50 and $3.50. Over seven days that can cost you about $17.50 per week and $70 per month for about $280.00 a semester!

3. Buy Cheap

It doesn’t matter what you are buying, make sure it is the cheapest you can find. For those who live off campus and aren’t on a meal plan, try to spend less than $120 a month for food. Could be difficult, but if you don’t mind eating mac-n-cheese, tacos and pizza often then you could do it. Alcohol, don’t get the $25 vodka when you can get the same amount for $12. Maybe try to split your tab at a bar with one of your friends, either way always think cheap.

4. Get a Part-Time Job

During the summer when you are not at school and back home with your parents try to find a part-time job that can help you get some spending money during the school year. Most students tend to get bored after a week of being home so put your resume out to local business to find some work to do. Not only will you be able to earn money but it will also look good on your resume when you graduate. DO NOT SPEND ALL THE MONEY YOU MAKE DURING THE SUMMER!

You are in the same position as many other college students, just looking to get by for four years. Do your best and try to save as much as you can so you won’t be that much in debt after you graduate. Once you find yourself working full-time, you will look back at the time when you were broke as some of the best time’s of your life.

Social Media Importance for every College Grad

•March 7, 2013 • Leave a Comment

Being active (and appropriate) on social media can help you land your first job, stay in touch with old friends and generally be the awesome, productive member of society we know you are. Here are three tips for social media for the new grad, especially for those who are looking for a career in marketing, PR or communications.

Make Connections Before Graduating

Make sure that you connect with your existing social community before you leave for the great unknown. Facebook makes this easier than ever, but be sure to friend those people you keep forgetting to friend, and get email addresses for your friends, professors, advisors and any other faculty or staff members who have been mentors to you. These relationships are valuable! Plus, the majority of (good) professors love to hear what their past students are up to. Don’t be shy.

I also suggest moving on from your university .edu email address. If you’ve been still using your university provided email, it is time as a graduate to upgrade to a Gmail account. Remember to make it professional and nothing that will make you stand out in an unprofessional way that will lead to your resume being turned away.

Clean Up Your Social Media Presence

Your parents and teachers have been telling you this for four years, and a lot of you still do not listen. Potential employers will look at your Facebook, that’s the world we live in. I’ve noticed a lot of college kids changing their Facebook name to “First Name Middle Name”, presumably thinking that they’re going to avoid being found by nosy relatives and potential bosses. Guess what–both Facebook and Google are smarter than that. You might fool your grandma, but you will not fool an employer that really wants to find you. Scrub that profile, untag pics that will look bad to a future employer, delete any post that may be risky to leave up.

Get a LinkedIn, and Use It

If you’re not already on LinkedIn, you must get a profile. Think of LinkedIn as an online home for your resume: all your education, skills and experience should be here. Do not leave your photo blank: upload a simple, flattering head-shot. Now, start making connections.  LinkedIn allows you to find people in a variety of ways. You can search manually, port over your email contacts and have LinkedIn find your friends that way, or you can find your college or university and browse users that way. Connect with your friends, but also connect with people in your major and in any organizations you belong to, even if you are not close. LinkedIn is not like Facebook–you want to be connecting with people who might be able to help you out professionally in the future, not just your regular crew. You should also connect with any professors who you have a good working relationship with–it’s a good way to keep in touch with them, and if you keep up that good rapport they may send advice, introductions or even job leads your way in the future. You should also join some alumni groups from your college. These are particularly great if you’re going to be moving to another area after graduation. (For instance, the UNH alumni group has chapters in DC, NYC and Austin)  You’ll be able to make some professional connections in your new city, and you’ll already have something in common with them.

It’s vital to be proactive in your social media presence as a recent college graduate. Companies will review the social media aspect of possible people previous to an interview with the company. Make smart decisions to help build your chances to land that dream job that everyone is looking for.