Create the experience you don’t have

For all you PR/comm folks, there’s a new blog in town to add to your reader if you haven’t already done so: PRevolution. It’s run by Arik, Dave, Kasey and Lisa and should be a good source for finding persepectives on all corners of the industry.

I was happy and excited to be asked to contribute, so I wanted to direct you all to the post I wrote for the young professional and job seeker called, You Don’t Have Enough Experience For The Job – Now What?

Check it out and let me know what you think!

High Risk, High Reward

It’s that old saying: everything will work itself out. Sometimes when you’re in a moment of anxiety and distress that’s the last thing you want to hear from someone. But when it’s all said and done, it’s funny how things usually do just fall into place.

Two weeks ago I gave my notice at my employer, Scarletta Press. No, I did not have a Steven Slater moment. I wasn’t looking forward to it at all. In fact, I didn’t sleep the night before. The thing that made it so hard was that I’ve had a great experience working there. The people I worked with were smart and fun. The responsibilities I had taught me so much about project management, self-discipline, and not being afraid to bring new ideas to the floor. I had the opportunity to take on a lot as my first real job out of college and I’m so grateful for my time there. And after two years of finding my groove and taking on my position, it hit me that it was time to move on.

It’s crazy what you can learn about yourself in two years. The people I’ve met, the projects I’ve worked on — they’ve all played a part in helping me figure out where want to go. And after two years, I realized my direction had changed a bit from when I first moved back to Minneapolis from Milwaukee. Reasonable thinking led me to believe that leaving a job before I had something else lined up was not smart, especially in this economy. But based on my new outlook, I decided to take the risk.

And that’s where that old saying came into play. I barely had a chance to tell the people around me of my decision to leave when an opportunity popped up in my inbox for a social media position at a health and wellness organization. It sounded perfect, I sent in my resume, I interviewed, and I was hired.

Umm, what? I’m kind of in shock. But more excited than anything. It just goes to show that sometimes you need to do what doesn’t look good on paper to make something happen.

Starting this week, I will be working for iMobileWellness as their social media manager. iMobileWellness is a community based site launching next month focused on providing helpful information for physicians, patients, and their families.

While I’m sad to leave Scarletta, I’m excited to get started in this new role and put to use what I know about the social sphere and building a community online. Not to mention experience a completely new industry.

Also, I’m looking forward to being able to add my two cents to the conversation when I get together with all my Marquette girls next. Hey, it’s rough being the only PR girl at the dinner table with a bunch of nurses, speech pathologists, and audiologists ;)

To those who have offered their advice and support the past couple weeks (you know who you are), thank you. Really.

Now on to the next!

Getting social with your job search

Who isn’t looking for a job these days? I’m sure just about everyone knows of someone who has been laid off or is trying to find their first job out of college in this economic climate. Even people who are employed are cautiously looking elsewhere just in case things don’t work out at their current place of work.

Kate-Madonna Hindes - girlmeetsgeek.com

With that said, looking for a job has evolved into somewhat of an art. Crafting the perfect resume and cover letter could be the difference between whether an employer calls you for questioning or tosses your list of achievements into a bottomless pit of resume rejects. Basically, the competition is fierce.

There’s no doubt that social media has started to change the game of job hunting. Today, you can find just about anything on anyone using a variety of social sites. We’ve all heard the horror stories about employers finding questionable photos of applicants on Facebook or tweets about how they aren’t working on the job. If you’re currently job hunting and haven’t cleaned up all your profiles – do it now.

On the other hand, social media can actually work in the favor of job seekers. Kate-Madonna Hindes (or @girlmeetsgeek) is a writer, speaker, and resource professional for the Workforce Center of Minnesota. She’s a social media enthusiast and knows a thing or two about helping job seekers stand out to employers. Not to mention, she’s one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

So I decided to ask her if she’d be willing to provide some ideas and tips that I could share with all of you. I’m so grateful she agreed to help out. She’s passionate about what she does and is someone that people in any stage of their career can learn a lot from.

Here’s what she had to say:

Why should job seekers embrace social media?

I understand the questions of “why,” but instead I think we should all be asking “why not”? According to Mashable, 81% of employers are already screening their candidates online. The big word for companies right now is “innovation.” Innovation to me, means being fluid with new ideas and technology- a faster runner in a race. Don’t jeopardize your potential employment by not being willing to become fluent in change or innovation.

How can you make your social media profiles more attractive to employers? What are they looking for in an online presence?

They’re looking for a well-rounded candidate. It’s more than simply just filling in the blanks. Recruiters WANT recommendations. They want your strengths to shine out from others’ words. It makes you more believable as a candidate and one that doesn’t seem like such a risk. We’re coming out of a huge period of financial risk. Companies are hiring contract employees more than full-time employees. Make yourself worth their risk.

What are some common mistakes job seekers make on social sites? (Beyond avoiding posting inappropriate pictures of yourself or tweeting about how you don’t like your boss)

Biggest mistake? Not being on LinkedIn or Twitter. Both have recently partnered with Google and Microsoft Bing to offer profiles near the very top. You want to be found: Because you want the job.

LinkedIn is the major professional social site. Many people have an account but don’t do anything with it. Any tips for how to get more out of a job search using LinkedIn?

LinkedIn isn’t for getting the job, it’s for getting the connection. Jobs come and go- connections stay. To be successful at online networking, especially LinkedIn, you need to bring something to it’s table. Simply filling out a profile and expecting someone to hire you will never happen. Go under the Answers tab, answer the questions and set yourself apart by proving you know your content. Recommendations are especially important. Upload your resume using Box.net. Never mistake online networking as more important than in person actual networking. A face is much more important than a profile. LinkedIn helps you get yourself in the networking circle.

Are there any strategies or sites you would recommend for reaching out to potential employers? Is acceptable to contact them through social media?

Hiring managers and recruiters are busy. Any job posting could generate thousands of resumes. What better way to make a statement than to connect with them through social media  first? Value their time: bring something to their table and give them a reason to give you a second look. When you use social media you broadcast what you know and what you bring. It’s almost a no-brainer that they’ll want to connect with a fluid innovator, such as yourself. Remember: content and connection win the meeting while your personality and knowledge land the job.