Friday, January 21, 2011

PR job hunting tactics - #HAPPO days ahead

The following is a guest post by Colleen Fischer, who agreed to share her thoughts, experiences and tactics on the PR job hunt scene:
As a PR professional job searching in a new city, I am faced with one of the greatest challenges of my life, yet I treasure the unique opportunity I have been given to truly start fresh. My husband’s career has taken us away from a large professional and social network, an everyday routine, and a calendar full of commitments. I suddenly have found myself with an abundance of time, motivation, and excitement about the unknown. While I deeply miss past colleagues, long-standing media relationships, and the central Ohio community, I see more potential for my career in Fort Worth every single day. This potential is not only found through job listings and interviews, but more importantly, through the relationships I am constantly building. I have a new appreciation for the human component in job searching and the importance of connecting with people in my everyday life.

Communication is the foundation to public relations, which is fortunate for PR job seekers such as myself. HAPPO (Help a PR Pro Out) chats on twitter, linkedin groups, and networking events are a few resources that are not as easily accessible in other industries. The nature of people in the PR field is typically warm, helpful, inviting and social. This is something I constantly have to remind myself, as I ask others for their time and recommendations.

Having spent my high school, college and eight years of my career in one city, the concept of asking favors of strangers is foreign to me. In addition to a welcoming industry, the community of Fort Worth has been overwhelmingly hospitable. The mix of friendly Fort Worth life-ers and fellow transplants is a recipe for a great city to be new in.

In addition to the daily grind of googling and job board searching, below are some of my job hunt tactics:
Blogging- My blog depicts me personally. It definitely has a professional edge, but the purpose it serves is to display my creativity and sense of humor. I want to be hired for these qualities in addition to my professional expertise.

Social Media - Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook are my daily necessities for continuously learning, conversing, and building my community. I am my authentic, witty self on these platforms, with the intention of standing out among the rest. - I was blown away by the amount of PR opportunity in the DFW area when I first discovered this job bank. I have continued to check the listings every day, applying for positions, learning from duties, requirements, and job descriptions, and gaining a deeper grasp of the local PR industry.

Fort Worth PRSA - They key to capitalizing on this group is active involvement. In my new role of Hospitality Chair, I have already connected with chapter leaders and expect to build many more relationships throughout 2011.

Toastmasters - Valuable public speaking and leadership development through practice, this group simply gets me out of the house as well as out of my comfort zone.

Social Media Club - I have found this to be the most laid back, easygoing networking group. The tweet-ups are truly fun and there is a real sense of community as relationships are easily maintained on twitter.

These elements, combined with a great deal of patience, are the keys to my job hunt strategy. I have promised myself not to settle for A job, as I want THE long-term position that is right for me. Putting myself out there as me is the best way to make that match. In addition to working toward my career goals, these everyday efforts are simultaneously helping me to make friends and stay sane.
Updated 1/23/11 - I'm happy to report that Colleen's efforts have paid off as she's recently accepted a position as PR Manager with M/C/C Ad Agency & PR Firm in Dallas.
Check out other musings over on Colleen's blog as she continues her search.

Also, look for more information in the coming weeks from HAPPO (Help a PR Pro Out) as we celebrate the anniversary of this growing network.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

School Districts Get Social Media Guidelines

The Texas State Board of education recently updated the Educators’ Code of Ethics to include provisions for how educators use social media. Teachers must refrain from inappropriately communicating with students through the use of social media under the new requirements. Now that sounds like an obvious, common sense rule, but unfortunately these things must be spelled out for some.

What hasn't been obvious for school districts is how they should develop guidelines and policies. The new Code of Ethics provisions don't provide specifics, those are left for districts to decide.

School districts have had to operate in a system with minimal guidance for social media. More and more districts are waking up and recognizing that social media tools are tremendous assets in education. But it's still a situation where the technologies have continued to outpace the laws and districts are still trying to get caught up. Anything school districts can do to help teachers recognize the potential pitfalls will help us all.

I applaud the state for giving some initial guidance, but without proper application by districts, we're left to fend for ourselves in a lot of ways.

A school PR colleague from New York pointed out a fascinating experiment by a school district that is taking the unusual step of letting the students decide their social media rules:

A higher standard
Educators are held to a higher standard. News reports of inappropriate contact or relationships between teachers and students are jarring and alarming. School districts must provide guidelines to help their professional educators while protecting students and maintaining parent confidence and trust.

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Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Opposite of Influence is Neutral

There has been and no doubt will be many more posts, projects, campaigns and discussions about influence.

Some of them have been enlightening, interesting, and useful for PR pros while others seemed to be not much more than over-hyped failed puffery.

I'm not going to try muddy the waters of defining what influence is. However, I do think influence can be clarified and meaningful for an individual by thinking a little about what it's not.

The opposite of being influential is being neutral. 

Neutral is defined as "not aligned with or supporting any side or position in a controversy; of no particular kind, characteristics, etc.; and not causing or reflecting a change in something." That last part is the one that strikes me as particularly important as we start a new year.

Not causing or reflecting a change in something sounds like a pretty apathetic existence to me. So how can you be an influencer in 2011?
  1. Be a student.
  2. Be a teacher.
  3. Be a mentor.
  4. Be good at what you do.
  5. Be a remarkable spouse, parent, caregiver, and friend.
  6. Listen like you mean it.
  7. Do your work ethically.
  8. Do something outside your comfort box.
  9. Pay attention to the details.
  10. Get off the cruise ship and get on the battle ship for your family, work, and life.
  11. Laugh with (not at) other people.
  12. Share your knowledge.
  13. Help others grow personally and professionally.
  14. Study something new. 
  15. Explore your surroundings.
  16. Share your findings.
  17. Take calculated risks.
  18. Take a stand.
  19. Stand for good.
  20. Go get (finish) that degree, advanced degree, and/or accreditation.
  21. Change your mind.
  22. Help make good changes.
  23. Give good news.
  24. Give of your time, talent, and treasure for meaningful causes.
  25. Let people know you care.
There are plenty of ways for you to be influential. Do some of these and people will take notice. That's how I think you can be influential: Recognize that people matter.  

Neutral is idling with the vehicle running and wasting energy. Put 2011 in Drive then Go.