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Getting Creative with HAPPO: A Chat Recap

On Thursday, May 2, public relations pros and job seekers gathered for the #HAPPO chat on Twitter. The topic this time around was “Creative Job Search Strategies.” The job market can be a tricky place to maneuver, so the more advice you have, the better off you could be.

Here are some great tips from pros that took part in the chat.

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Jason Ginenthal’s point is a terrific one to keep in your job search/application quiver. Show an employer you “get” what they are doing.

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This isn’t asking to “pick your brain.” What Abbie Fink is saying here is that it’s a good idea to get to know someone. You never know where it could lead.

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Believe it or not, there are hiring managers that are NOT on social. Keep Alyssa’s tweet in mind when applying for a job.

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Talk about being creative! I included this to show you that Richie was thinking outside the box. Sometimes that is what it takes when looking/applying for a job.

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This point from Anne discusses LinkedIn invites/connections. Don’t just go for what LinkedIn gives you. Personalize your message and show you care enough to connect.

Do you have other creative job search strategies? Let us know in the comments and thanks to everyone  for participating on May 2. As always, use the hashtag #HAPPO if you have a job or tip you want to share.

Getting Creative with Your Job Search

As we inch towards May, the sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance” can be heard. It’s a time of great joy and excitement. College is over and the real world is waiting for you. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean a job is waiting for you. Statistics show that very recent grads may be at a higher risk of unemployment. Look at the Class of 2011. By October of their graduation year, about 5 months post-commencement, 14 percent were jobless, according to a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

Not exactly reassuring, right? Well, here is where I and a group of other great PR pros hope to help you out. On Thursday, May 2 from 9-10 p.m. EST, I am moderating the HAPPO Twitter chat on “Creative Job Search Strategies.” What is HAPPO? It was started by Arik Hanson and Valerie Simon to connect job seekers in the PR field to those that could help in some way. We hope that some of the ideasJob hunting that are tweeted can help you in your search. Before next week’s chat, here are a few ideas on getting creative with your search.

  • Keep Your Eyes Open- You never know when a great opportunity may come upon you. Never just dismiss it; think about the pros and cons. I always do a personal SWOT analysis at every opportunity.
  • Spread Your Wings- As much as you may not want to, considering a job in another city or state could be the perfect move. It offers the challenge of learning a new area and making a name for yourself. Plus, meeting new people always helps to challenge us. This may not sound “creative,” but some grads just think about staying near home.
  • Be Strategic- Some say to “pepper” firms/agencies with you resume. This isn’t the best move. By focusing your search and your resume, you give yourself a better shot at impressing a recruiter. Don’t use the generic cover letter. Show passion in your writing and your approach.
  • Don’t Doubt Yourself- This sounds easy, but it isn’t always the case. You are the one that knows your skills best; believe in yourself and know that even though you may not know it all, you can still be a success.

If you have more creative ideas for the job search, leave them in the comments and join us on May 2 on Twitter! You can find me @JasMollica.

The Value of Mentoring

On Monday night, Feb. 18, various PR pros gathered for the HAPPO chat on Twitter. The HAPPO community are PR folks from around the country who help new and current pros with career guidance and information on the job market. HAPPO was co-founded by Arik Hanson and Valerie Simon in 2010 and, since then, has helped many a pro. I’m lucky to be part of HAPPO as Buffalo, N.Y.’s champion.

Monday night’s Twitter chat focused on how to build and sustain a mentor in public relations. I couldn’t have been more excited about this because I enjoy being a mentor to future and current pros. Whether it is a simple phone chat or reviewing a resume, your advice and guidance can be invaluable. What makes a good mentor? Here are my five things that I believe do.

MentorMentee1.) Trust- There’s no doubt that trust is the first one here. If you don’t trust your mentee or they don’t trust you, there’s no relationship. Understand that your actions (on both sides) will help shape the future. If you show a potential mentee that trust doesn’t matter, you’ve failed.

2.) Honesty- It doesn’t help you or your mentee if you just sugar coat everything. Be honest in your assessment of their resume, cover letter, approach to interviews, etc. Your mentee should want that honesty because it’s going to help them in the future.

3.) Make the time- If you agree to mentor someone, stick to it. Don’t say you’ll talk and then blow them off. It shows that not only are you disingenuous, but may also hurt your relationships with others.

4.) Touch base often- If I haven’t heard from a mentee or chatted in a few weeks, I’ll reach out with a short email, direct message or tweet. I never want a mentee to feel I’ve forgotten about them. It’s also a great way to see if your mentee may be struggling with anything.

5.) Think about the future- Your chats and resume reviews may end up being a great asset. As you continue the relationship, you’ll be able to (possibly) assist a colleague in filling a position or even a position in your own business.

Keep in mind you can not force a mentor/mentee relationship. It has to work on both sides!

Monday Minute: Internship advice

It’s that time of year for college students. Yes, for seniors it means focusing on graduation and (hopefully) getting that full-time job. But for underclassmen, the end of the spring semester means looking forward to internships. This Thursday, April 26 from 2 to 3 p.m. EST, our next HAPPO chat will take place to discuss internships and how to rock them. Today’s Minute offers some advice.

Our host for the chat is Pittsburgh, Pa. HAPPO champ, Deanna Ferrari (@DFerrari). Feel free to join in and share this information on Twitter, Facebook, or your blog. Use the #HAPPO hashtag on Twitter as well.

“See” you there!

An “AH HA” moment

During last night’s #HAPPO Twitter event, I was looking at all the advice given out to and for public relations pros (Thanks go out to Valerie Simon and Arik Hanson for their leadership on paying it forward in our field). I’m proud to be a HAPPO champion in the Buffalo, N.Y.-area.  But, I learned a valuable lesson as the tweets came flying by a like speeding bullet that Superman is faster than…

I DON’T KNOW SQUAT. You can unfollow me on Twitter if you feel it necessary.

For a few minutes after the chat, I was a little embarrassed.  Here I was giving information and trying to help fellow pros and I’m doubting my skills.  You know what though? It’s alright.  It was one of those “Ah Ha” moments that mark our lives.  Sure, I never thought I knew it all. I always want to keep learning.

The minute we stop learning is the time when we begin to think we are better than we really are.

And that’s the one thing I never want to stop doing.  The more I learn, the better I get.  Every day, I pick up something new.  It may come from a client email, a tweet, or even a phone call.  Great ideas and teachable moments can come in any size package.

You may not always agree with what you learned… that’s good.  You can learn something from disagreement. I’ve been in positions were I didn’t always see eye-to-eye with people.  Sure, it caused some pretty stressful times.  But, in the long run it taught me to stick to what I believed.  In my current job, we are always tossing around ideas.  It’s a collaborative atmosphere.  High-octane learning, I like to call it.

Do me a favor… take a moment today, whether it be at lunch, on the train, or at home, and learn something new.  Have your own “Ah Ha” moment!

What has your “Ah Ha” moment been this year? Let me know in the comments.

Follow Friday: Help a PR Pro Out (#HAPPO)

Over the last year, you may have heard of the wonderful Help A PR Pro Out initiative. HAPPO (for short) has become a wonderful tool for our industry to help promote those looking for jobs.  Whether it is a tweet about a position at your firm or a job opening via a colleague in the Twitter stream, HAPPO has done a great job at aiding talented PR pros (hopefully) find work.  But, it’s also highlighted kindness. 

In that light, on Dec. 8, we’ll be chatting from 9 to 10 p.m. EST.  It’s an opportunity for all pros to get together on Twitter to talk and see how we can help.  You never know what may come out of this chat.  

I’m handing out my Follow Friday to HAPPO because in 2011, I’d like to be able to do more to help my fellow pros find work.  Whether it is a freelance gig or a permanent position, I’m hoping I can be a small aid to assist you in finding that new or first big gig. 

To check out HAPPO, look for the hashtag, “#HAPPO” on Twitter.

What inspires me? You!

Lauren Novo is a senior at Florida State University with a double major in Media/Communication Studies and Creative Writing. Additionally, she serves as the staff writer for Trusteria Services, a regional company in Tallahassee, and as a public relations staff assistant for RB Oppenheim Associates, a local PR agency. Connect with her on Twitter, LinkedIn and read her blog, Gen-Y PRogress: Lauren Novo’s PR Journey.

Last week, Jason asked what inspired me. He invited me to write a guest post, highlighting why it is I’m always giving back to others, through my blog in particular.

I was flattered. But also taken by surprise. Jason is the one who continuously shares my posts; who leaves encouraging comments on my blog; who asks how my week is going and offers to help in any way he can; who recently contributed to my “Art of” series; and who dropped everything he was doing to write me a glowing letter of endorsement for an award entry.

And he thinks I give back? He wants to know what inspires me?

What inspires me… is all of you. All you professionals who take the time out of your chaotic lives to pay it forward to the next generation of PR pros.

Seriously, think about it. Deirdre Breakenridge is recognized as one of the industry’s greatest thought leaders. She’s written highly acclaimed books and owns her own company. Valerie Simon is a vice president at BurrellesLuce and freelance writer for The Examiner.

Do you think either of these two women needed to start #PRStudChat – a monthly Twitter chat between PR students and professionals—to build up their resumes and portfolios? I doubt it. They have already “made it.” What they are doing is above and beyond. They are selflessly giving back as devoted mentors.

There’s also Arik Hanson, an APR-certified professional who has participated in various local and national online initiatives. Most recently, he teamed up with Valerie to start the “Help a PR Pro Out” (HAPPO) campaign. He has a job. In fact, he owns his own business. He doesn’t need to concern himself with helping PR job seekers connect with employers. It’s a choice. An admirable choice.

I could go on and on, but you get the point.

So yes, I do my best to give back too. I use my blog to help my peers when opportunities arise. As an extension of the HAPPO initiative, I’ve started a “PR Job Seeker of the Week” series every Friday. But so what?

I’m only 21 years old. I’m a senior at Florida State University for another month, but a student always. I’ve got a long way to go. There is much more I can and will do, and I have my many mentors—both near and far—to thank for that.

That’s what inspires me.

What inspires you?

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