Preparing your Facebook profile for a job interview

Public Relations is an extremely competitive field. We all know this. Our teachers preach it to us every day in class. They say, “you have to stand out from your classmates” and “you have to be professional at all times”. So, in a field where the average job posting is answered with 200 applications, how are you going to stand out?

Definitely not by portraying yourself as a drunk on Facebook, right?

Right?

Right guys?

Yeah… unfortunately, most students don’t realize the things that they post on Facebook, even if they have their personal settings on private, can be seen by potential employers. But, I truely do believe that this is because most people in general don’t understand how the Facebook privacy policy works.

I don’t even understand it fully. I try to. What I do know is that a lot of employers use an application called Openbook, and if you haven’t heard of it, you need to check it out.

Basically, the application allows anyone to type in search terms (for example: Jessica Bedore drunk bar crawl) on the page and any status update, photograph, event RSVP, comment, like, or video that you have ever been associated with will show up… as long as it was marked public.

So, you are now in either one of two groups as you’re reading this.

Nothing but claaassssss

Group 1: “WOAH!!! What the heck?? Crap I knew I shouldn’t have posted those pics from the kegger last weekend! hil hephwfrfgyccj iij jfiwg cdkohv ivgeqvnfepv hiv ge [and so on]”

or…

Group 2: “Yeah, whatever man. My stuff is private… duh.”

I have to say, I used to be in group 2. I never realized that anything that you do on an application/ game on Facebook is public information. So, any information that I gave or any update that I posted to my wall about MyTown or FarmVille or whatever else that I was doing to avoid my homework is out there for anyone to see. The bad thing is that there’s not much you can do about it, either. That’s why they ask you permission before you can play a game.

It’s not just games, though. Really, there are a ton of things that you may think you are posting privately that are actually public.

My main advice is to go into your privacy settings on Facebook and make certain that every thing is set to private before you go on an interview. I can assure you that before you are even called in for the interview, your interviewer has already Googled you, checked your tweets, looked at your Flickr photos and Facebook stalked you more than 13-year-olds stalk Justin Bieber.

OMG he is so dreamy! LOLZ LYLAS... HAGS?

Ok, well maybe not that much. But you get the point…

If an employer has 200 applicants for an open position (and many do!), why wouldn’t they research you?  They are looking for ways to thin out their pile, so make sure that your Facebook presence doesn’t give them a reason to throw your application away!

Chat with PRSSA!

Hello!
I am just letting you all know that there is an awesome opportunity on Wednesday (February 23rd) for PR students to network and chat with PRSSA national committee members! (@PRSSAnational) All that you have to do is log onto your Twitter account and follow the chat’s hashtag, #PRSSA. The chat will begin at 8 p.m. EST (so for all of my Wisconsin PRSSA friends that’s 9 p.m. here!) and will continue until 9 p.m. EST when the PR Student Chat will take place (#PRStudChat). Both chats are excellent opportunities for college public relations or journalism majors.

Why?

You can network!
There are countless PR students from around the country, as well as some PR professionals, and the PRSSA national committee that will be on the hash tag looking to connect. It will allow you to add people to your professional network! Who doesn’t want that?

You can get your questions answered!
If you are wondering about anything PR or PRSSA related, this is the place to get answers. Instead of sending an email and having to wait a few hours/ days for a response, you have the opportunity for immediate feedback from other students or prominent PRSSA leaders.

You can learn!
This week’s topic is ethical branding. Ethical brands take their social, environmental and corporate responsibilities seriously and always adhere to the PR code of conduct. It’s a great topic to talk about, especially with the recent Kenneth Cole disaster as a prime example. If this topic interests you, or you are just looking to connect, join us on Wednesday. We would love to meet you!

*Remember, it’s 8 p.m. EST! Make sure you recalculate that for your specific time zone.

For more information on PRSSA visit http://www.prssa.org. For questions about the Twitter chat, leave a comment here or tweet either @kimkabob or @laurenkgray.

What the heck is Klout?

I’m sure that you have been hearing the buzz about Klout, or have possibly seen your Klout score on a Hootsuite profile. When I began using Hootsuite about six months ago, I was immediately curious about the score and decided to do some additional research. To this day, it is something that confuses and perplexes me, but I can’t stop monitoring it!

Klout profile

Click here to calculate your Klout score.

Here is what I have come to understand about Klout so far. Hopefully it can be of some help to you!

1.) Klout is a tool that measures the power of your online influence. They look at things like the strength of your engaged network, the likelihood that your tweets will be acted upon and the influence level of your engaged audience

2.) Your Klout score is given on a scale of 1 to 100, and a higher score represents a wider and stronger sphere of influence. The people at Klout define influence as “the ability to drive people to action”.

3.) Klout scores will fluctuate a lot, and they are constantly improving whatever algorithm that they use to figure out what your score is. It can be frustrating because right when you think you are starting to figure the system out, they change it.

4.) The website has an interesting feature called “Klout Perks”, which offers special deals on various products to people who have high Klout scores or a specialized audience. Starbucks, CoverGirl, Virgin Airlines and Dove Body have all partnered with Klout to offer promotions to online influencers. My understanding is that by offering a deal, the company is hoping that you will tweet the product to your online network and influence others to go out and buy/ try it. In my opinion, it’s genius. Why hasn’t someone thought of this earlier?

5.) There’s also a new feature that allows you to measure your Klout score for Facebook. I don’t know much about this because I just signed up for it tonight, but I will share more about it when I get more information!

What are your thoughts on Klout? Did you go to the site and get your score? I’d love to hear more about this if there are any experts out there! 🙂

Be inspired. Be the change.

Yesterday, my dad forwarded me an email that had a link to this video:

I encourage you to watch it because it was really inspiring to me. The message that they are promoting is so true, and it got me thinking about a lot of things, including this blog post. So, I will warn you up front that my post today will be a small break from the usual professional matter.

Rosa Parks

But this topic is just as important. We, as individuals, hold incredible power, and that power only increases when it is spread to a group of people. Have you ever sat back and thought about the power of a simple idea? If you have ever seen Inception, think about the theme of that movie. An idea is infectious. It starts small and grows within us and, if it is developed enough, it can infect the minds of an entire nation. It can change an entire nation.

I saw this happen first-hand when I was in elementary school. I grew up with a kid named Anthony, and his story is one that continues to inspire me. When Anthony was 10 years old, his grandmother had breast cancer, and he spent a lot of time in the hospital visiting her. While he was there, he saw a lot of cancer patients who had gone bald due to the chemotherapy treatment. He was saddened by the patients’ embarrassment of their hair-loss and was inspired to do something to help. At the age of 11, he started his own charity called Heavenly Hats, which donates all types of hats to cancer patients undergoing treatment.

One small idea that changed our community.

Since then, Anthony’s charity has grown to be a very reputable and prominent charity for cancer patients in

John F. Kennedy

Northeast Wisconsin. They have donated over 1,000,000 hats since their inception in 2001.

Just like Anthony’s story and the video above show, individuals are very powerful. Even if you aren’t starting a cultural movement, or even a charity, your thoughts are important.

If you have an idea or an opinion, put yourself out there.
If you are given an opportunity, take it.
If you have a dream, chase it.

I try to to live by these words and have been shocked by the power of my ideas. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed if you step outside of your comfort zone and try something new. It is true in every aspect of our lives as college students and as future professionals. We have the ability to move mountains and create change in this country. And even if you don’t create change within others, you will create change within yourself.

So don’t be afraid to step up and share your ideas. You never now if they might be the start of a revolution.

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhi

 

Networking: Why it’s important and how you should do it

There is nothing that I can stress more than the importance of networking with area professionals and putting yourself out there. If it weren’t for networking, I would have missed out on many opportunities that I have been lucky enough to take part in. In fact, I somewhat credit the fact that I got an interview for my internship to networking. Back then, I really wanted an interview; so, after I sent in my resume and cover letter, I reached out to the president of the company. I can’t say whether or not it it was the reason that I got called in for the interview was because of the tweet that I sent to the president, but I think it may have been a factor. Either way, networking is a vital key to success.

Is this you?

So, you may be wondering how you should network with professionals. It can be quite intimidating to think about striking up a conversation with a prominent professional. Trust me, though, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Here are a few tips that I have learned since I began networking:

1.) Before you do anything, make yourself some business cards. This is extremely important because you never know when you will run into someone important. You may miss a chance to network if you can’t exchange information. To make free business cards click here.

2.) Create an opening pitch. This is similar to an introduction, but it has objectives. It states who you are, where you go to school, what your major is, and what your job goals/ intentions are. It should be two sentences maximum and include all of the necessary information. A good and bad example of an elevator pitch can be found here.

3.) Show respect for the professional. Just like when you are tweeting, make sure that you follow the 80/20 rule. Let the professional talk 80 percent of the time and you give your insight 20 percent of the time. This may not always be possible but it is a good exercise in listening. Often times, we are nervous when talking to someone important and this allows us to listen and take the conversation in. It also makes the professional feel respected.

Lastly, remember to be yourself! Above anything, professionals are going to remember a stand-out personality. Try not to let your nervousness get the best of you, and charm them with your pearly whites!

Below is some advice from one of my favorite public speakers, Lauren Berger (a.k.a. the Intern Queen @internqueen). I was lucky enough to meet her while I was in Washington D.C. for the PRSSA National Conference (@prssanational) and I was really inspired by her story (she had over 10 internships before graduation!). Anyways, she’s awesome. You should listen to her!

Your Twitter Image: What’s beneficial? What’s damaging?

It’s no secret that public relations students who have a solid Twitter presence (along with presences on other social media sites) are more likely to secure a job or internship faster than those who don’t. Being able to show potential employers that you can use the tools you will be working with on the job is a huge advantage.

However, there is a right way and a wrong way to position yourself in the Twitterverse. I can’t even begin to explain how frustrated I get when my feed is clogged with seven tweets in a row, from the same person, that say things like, “Just got out of the shower. Felt great!” or “Signing offline! Have a great night Tweeps!”. Ugh. It’s making me cringe as I am writing this.

Neat-o!

 

And actually, I am not the only one who feels this way. Talent Culture, a recruiting company, posted an article entitled “Ten Ways to Kill Your Twitter Brand”, which stated that “spamming” followers with personal updates was the number two way to damage your image. So, what should you, as a PR student, be doing to create a good image for yourself and your potential employers? Here are some things I hear from the PR professionals that I come in contact with:

The Do’s

  1. Do make sure to keep your tweets 80% professional and 20% personal. Like I said above, there is nothing worse than tweeting about your recent peanut butter sandwich or the fact that you just made your bed while talking to your grandma. I do not care. Your followers do not care. And I can definitely tell you that your future employers do not care.

    I'm sorry?

  2. Do engage with your followers. Respond to mentions, thank them for retweeting your post and always answer their questions.
  3. Do try to update your twitter at least once or twice a day. It is estimated that over one fourth of current Twitter accounts are inactive and you don’t want this to be you! Make sure that you are always updating your followers with relevant information.
  4. Do help promote the causes of your Twitter community. If you see a fellow Tweep promoting his/ her blog or an event that their company is sponsoring, help them out by retweeting their message to your network. It will be much appreciated.

The Don’ts

  1. Don’t tweet inappropriate or offensive things. Although the fact that you ran from the cops last night to escape an underage drinking ticket may be funny to you, it won’t be to the professionals in your industry. Remember that employers will always check your Twitter/ Facebook/ LinkedIn (and even your Google results) before you come in for an interview. Make sure that they don’t find anything embarrassing. For example, this is inappropriate:

    It just makes everyone feel uncomfortable.

  2. Don’t change your Twitter picture very often. Think of your picture like a personal logo. This is how your followers recognize you and if you change it a lot, they will become confused and may not even recognize that the person on their feed is you!
  3. Don’t follow more people than follow you. If you have a wacked-out ratio of followers to people you follow, you may loose some credibility and your klout score will go down. (For more information on Klout, check back next week!)

*And just for my own sanity, don’t be a walking stream of pointless thoughts, for the love of God.

Have you come across any ridiculous tweets lately? Post a comment or screen shot!

This guy gets it —> 

View From the Bottom: How Interns Can Benefit Your Company

Hey everyone! As you may know, I am the PR intern for the Weidert Group, Inc. in Appleton, WI. We are required to blog each month about a relevant topic that is of interest to us. Here is what I wrote for this month. To view the original post or Weidert’s website click here.



My email inbox has recently been filled with inquires from fellow PR students who are wondering how I got my internship at the Weidert Group and what they can do to land an internship of their own. At UW Oshkosh, there are internship opportunities available for journalism and business majors, but there are still a lot of driven, motivated and ambitious students who haven’t discovered their perfect fit. These students are always looking for opportunities to gain much needed experience and they could be a huge benefit to your company. If you are an organization that doesn’t currently have an internship program, I encourage you to consider the advantages of creating one. Here are some of the reasons why you should consider adding us to your team:

We can increase your productivity. We sit in class everyday and learn the valuable skills needed to succeed in the real world and we are dying to get out there and use them. Unlike you, we haven’t yet experienced what it is like to have a “real” job, and any opportunity that we get we will most likely jump on. We will come into the job fresh, enthused and highly motivated to complete tasks in a timely matter.

We can help you establish new relationships. Whether you want them to or not, universities and other companies have a perception of that they think your organization is all about. Whatever that perception is can be very important when hiring college graduates, since that view of your organization is all that they have to base their opinions on. However, if you have an internship program, we will have to report back to our university about your company. If our time with you is successful then you will automatically have a good reputation on campus, thus, making more new grads want to apply for your openings.

We can support you during your busiest times. Unlike full time employees, we can start whenever you need us to, and we can be done when you want us to be done. If you know that the spring months are going to be a very busy time for your company, but you don’t have the time or the resources to recruit a new employee, consider hiring an intern. The experience will be a huge help to our resume and we won’t be mad if you don’t need us after three months.

We can make your employees become better leaders. Leadership is recognized as one of the most crucial qualities for employees to possess. Good leaders are more productive, produce higher quality work and will usually advance to higher positions within an organization. Although we probably won’t be developing a lot of leadership skills in an internship position, the employees that you designate as our supervisors will. Having an intern is a great way for employees who aren’t in management positions to gain these much-needed skills.

We can bring new ideas and skill sets. Through our education, we are learning the most cutting-edge techniques in the industry. For example, as a public relations student, many of my classes are focused solely on the use of social media in the business world. If your company is not as tech-savvy as some of your competitors, interns will be able to help you in this area. The same applies to other innovations in different industries. We will be coming to your company with the most up-to-date knowledge that is needed for success.

We can help you cut recruitment costs. A lot of time and resources are spent looking for, and hiring, a new employee. However, if you have an internship program, you will have a pool of past interns who would jump at the chance of being employed full-time by you post-graduation. There would be no need to spend time conducting multiple interviews either, because you would already know how we are as a worker. Plus, we know the past, present and future of the company so training and other orientation costs could also be waived.

Adding an internship program is a big decision, but as a motivated, enthusiastic and driven intern who was lucky enough to secure a great internship, I encourage you to consider hiring some of my colleagues! For more information on starting an internship program contact Weidert Group’s internship coordinator, Abby Gutowski at (920)731-2771 ext. 224 or agutowski@weidert.com.