Between You and Me, There's PR

Exploring, learning and using social media, public relations and marketing.

Networking as a “Young Professional” January 27, 2013

NetworkingAwkward. That should actually be the title of this post because there is no better way to truly describe the art of networking. During my job hunt, my dad always pushed me to “ask if they want to meet for coffee” and I always replied, “Dad, I don’t LIKE coffee!” Obviously, the coffee wasn’t the point, but I was so deathly afraid of meeting strangers and asking them for help that I thought my dislike of coffee could be my escape.

Like all children, I regretfully write these words: my dad knew what he was talking about. *Shudders*

The thing is, no one else is looking out for you except you. You have to be the one to reach out to others and ask for their help because how else will they know you need it? I’ve been on several meet and greets that were horribly nerve-wrecking, but once there, definitely not awkward. Everyone has done it and everyone is willing to help (including me, so ask away).

I’ve been reading Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, in which he describes people that are good at networking as “connectors.” These connectors are relationship builders and have friends, or rather, acquaintances, in every corner of their life. I’ve also been watching a lot of Downton Abbey recently and would call the entire Crawley family connectors. If they wanted William in the tipping point hospital they simply went through their list of acquaintances to find someone that knew someone that knew someone who can get him in despite the hospital initially telling them no. They’re connectors.

Networking and connecting do not end once you find a job. Connectors are people that network for the fun of it, with no purpose in mind, that’s not to say it doesn’t come in handy in the future. Connectors simply enjoy meeting people and are enlightened by the variety of personalities and stories they encounter. Networking and connecting are not skills that go away when you find your dream job. It’s something that will (or should) follow you through your life.

I am the only person in my company that is in charge of creating our social media plan and have been appointee as the “expert”.  The pressure of that expectation mounds daily with the inconsistency and ever-changing world of social media. It’s hard to keep up and know what the best online strategy is for our company with no other social media focused people to brainstorm with. To overcome this challenge, I realize the need to network and ask questions with others in my field. What a relief it was to find groups like Indy Social Media and Indy Social Talk that I can ask for help and learn from.

I already admitted to being a big chicken when it comes to this sort of thing, so don’t be fooled into thinking signing up for those meetings and walking in to meet a group of strangers was easy. It wasn’t. But it does continue to get easier and I don’t feel like I am on a digital marketing island all alone anymore.

My New Year’s resolution was to step out of my comfort zone and meet people. It’s a big deal for me to practice these networking skills because it is so much easier to go about my day saying hello to people without building relationships, but it’s amazing how much more enriched my life is by learning more about those people I am surrounded by.

I encourage you to give it a try. Set a goal to be a connector and take an interest in everyone. You can even start with me by commenting!

 

Lessons From a Young Professional January 19, 2013

If you browse through my past posts, you will notice the earliest entries tend to be more academic because this blog was originally an assignment for a class during my senior year of college. After graduation, I took a more opinionated approach where I share my opinions of things going on in the PR world. After this post, I will continue to share some opinions of PR, but am excited to be able to share insight to my first year working in the world of public relations, more specifically, social media.

I look forward to sharing these experiences and lessons with you and hearing some of your own. After 9 months on the job, I can promise you I have experienced both success and my fair share of “lessons learned.” I look forward to sharing my journey with you. To start, let me tell you about how I got where I am…

Things I learned during the last two years (AKA post-graduation, AKA life):

  1. Everything happens the way it is supposed to, even when it’s not what you expected.

We had so much fun watching the Colts during the pre-season at Lucas Oil Stadium!

I lied. I only learned one thing, but that one thing was key to sanity on the brinks of what recent graduates call the freshman year of life. Life, the period after graduation where you are expected to find a career and kiss three month long breaks goodbye.

I live in Indianapolis. That’s 4.5 hours from my family and childhood home in St. Louis, 9 hours from both of my grandmas and 7.5 from my Alma mater. This city was not on my list of dream cities to find a job.

I work in social media for a service company. I didn’t even know I was interested social media until my post-graduation internship. After discovering my passion for social media I made another unexpected transition from a demographic of children and moms to mostly male truck drivers.

Can't live in Indy without a visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway!

You can’t live in Indy without a visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway!

But isn’t it funny how things happen? For instance, of all the middle of nowhere places my boyfriend’s company could have transferred him to; they landed him in a city where I actually had potential to get hired. Ironically, all but one of the interviews I landed were in this city I never considered living, making it hard to ignore fate.

And so began the life I never anticipated but can’t imagine not living. I have the privilege of working for a great company that challenges me, allows me to travel and teaches me about, and even to cheer for, motorsports! In addition to work, I’ve found Indianapolis to be a very welcoming city. From sports to restaurants and everything in-between, this transition has been every bit of enjoyable and definitely fun.

Throughout my journey to this official start to life there were many people that offered their help, advice and listening ears. As I continue this blog and share my stories of my experience as a young professional in a new city, I hope that I can offer support to other young professionals embarking on their freshman year of life.

 

Golden rules for job hunting (#HireSarah) December 14, 2011

Should you take career advice from someone who is career hunting? Don’t worry, I’m just sharing someone else’s tips.

I’ve posted before about a group I am in on Linkedin,#PRintern/#EntryPR. I originally joined this group because I thought it would give me internship and job leads and while it has, the benefits have proved to be much greater than job postings.

Heather Huhman is the group’s founder. She is also the president of Come Recommended and contributes to numerous blogs, websites and organizations to share her knowledge of public relations.

Whether it is her great advice, or other PR professionals in the group, not a day goes by that I don’t learn something new to improve my job search. The greatest gem I have found so far came this morning in a SlideShare from January, 2011. It’s a year old, but I think the advice is still relevant:

I know there are 53 slides, but I recommend each of them. Here are a few things I took away- just in case you are feeling lazy!
There is a free tool that will evaluate your online brand.
My score was in the green, but definitely has improvements as far as getting my name out there more and online networking. The good news is, though my name is super common, I can actually be found in search results! Excellent! What is your score? http://www.mywebcareer.com/
Even things I thought I had figured out, I can improve. 
Sure, I know how to blog, but I was making a critical mistake! I wasn’t tagging myself! Reading that advice was a big “duh” moment for me and I immediately changed my strategy. Even when it comes to cover letters and resumes there was something to learn! I love having examples of cover letters to look at, it’s always the part that takes me the longest when applying to jobs.
Find creative ways to job hunt.
Heather tells real-world examples of how other people got the job. One person spent $8,000 on billboards stating her qualifications and another added a hire me hashtag after her tweets. #Genius. It made me think, what can I do to stand out? Hmmm…
Interview tips for phone and in person interviews.
No matter how many times you hear interview tips, they are always slightly different and benefit you in a slightly different way. Chances are, with the long list of tips in this SlideShare, you are sure to find something you did not know before!
So I have some revamping to do! The challenge is getting noticed. How can I stand out and land an interview? Being unemployed is a tough job. It’s tough to stay motivated and focused. I’ve found that keeping a routine and surounding your self with supportive people are important factors to keep me going.
Nowfor a selfish plug: #HireSarah @ThisgirlSarah #Thanks

 

 
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