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The system is down

March 27, 2010

Yep, this blog is definitely on hiatus. I’m enjoying my new job so much that I’m now not so focused on the things I blogged about before, and I’m not online nearly as much as I was. If you’ve read my posts since the start, you know this is exactly what I wanted. Thank you to everyone who helped me have a pretty good time blogging last year (considering the circumstances). I didn’t make it here without you.

Guest post: 5 easy ways to embrace online networking for the new year

January 1, 2010

I am thrilled to bring you a guest blogger as my first post of 2010. I know Kristi Daeda as a career coach with a super informative blog, and when she generously tweeted her offer of a guest post for a few lucky bloggers, I jumped at the chance.

Kristi DaedaKristi Daeda is a career coach, blogger and personal marketing strategist helping professionals nationwide create their own career opportunities. She is the founder of LaunchSummit, a free web-based educational event for job seekers, and blogs on job search, management, leadership, networking and more at Career Adventure.

There are two types of people who aren’t yet networking online.

The first is the conscientious objector. One friend of mine calls himself “too old and curmudgeonly” to use online tools. (For reference, he’s in his 30’s.) Other friends will adamantly declare at parties that they’ll “never join Facebook.” (Several of them have since succumbed.)

If that’s not you but yet you’re not networking online, chances are you fall into the second group — the “I’ll get there someday” crowd.

You’re not big on peer pressure, but it seems like everyone you know is on LinkedIn and Facebook. Heck, some are blogging, tweeting and writing VisualCVs. Still, it’s never been high enough on your priority list to dive in.

Here’s your chance to get net-active. If you want to take your job search to the next level, prep for a career change or just demonstrate that you’re a professional who can work with new tools and technologies for business wins, here are five simple steps to developing a workable, professional online presence — automated and completely free.

  1. Create a professional LinkedIn profile. This is really easier than it sounds. You’ll want to start by creating a web address for your profile that you can use on your resume and business cards, then let LinkedIn walk you step by step through completing your page. After that, use LinkedIn’s tools to request connections with your e-mail contacts. Last, set your LinkedIn messages to forward to your e-mail address so you can respond to invitations and messages without having to keep checking yet another Web site.
  2. Update your Facebook profile — or create one — with appropriate privacy settings. Job seekers and recruiters alike are increasingly using Facebook for business, so it’s high time for a profile makeover that will help you make professional connections. Reread your profile and update for networking beyond your high school classmates. Then take advantage of Facebook’s new privacy settings to make sure you know who can see what on your profile and in your news feed. Tip: You might not want to select “Everyone.”
  3. Join the conversation, but start by listening. Social media can be a huge source of information on trends, issues, best practices and more, but only if you know where to look. Create a “must read” list of pertinent blogs in a feed reader of your choice. Follow some thought leaders on Twitter. Watch what happens for a while, then look at places to chime in. Respond to someone’s tweet or leave a comment on an online article that you like.
  4. Google yourself. If you’re networking or looking for a job, this is usually the first place someone will check to learn more about you. What do you see? Does anything scare you? Remember that you can control what people see when they Google you by proactively creating an online presence. If you just want to keep track of what’s being said about you, set up a Google Alert to notify you automatically any time your name comes up.
  5. Tap into social media job postings. If you are a job seeker, look for social media job postings. Because posting jobs through Twitter, LinkedIn and Craigslist is free, many companies put jobs in these forums that they won’t pay to post on CareerBuilder or Monster. Find some good sources and set up alerts, if possible, for new listings to come straight to your e-mail or RSS reader.

These are some basic steps to upping your involvement in online networking. You don’t have to go about it this way, though; you may find that Twitter is your best bet for networking, or you may spend more time on MySpace than Facebook. It really doesn’t matter exactly how you get started. Here are the basic rules:

  • Watch what you say and who has access to you and make sure that when someone’s looking for more information about you, they find what you want them to.
  • Once you start, be sure to drop in regularly. Activity is your friend.
  • You’ll be far more effective if you participate in one social media forum well rather than scattering meager efforts across dozens. Pick one or two, and make a splash!

Online networking doesn’t have to take up all your time, and it can raise your professional profile in meaningful ways. How can you enhance your online brand?

A winner is me!

November 29, 2009

Winner

Now that I have a full-time, onsite job, I won’t be blogging as often as I was. I have some ideas in the holding pen for when I figure out how to balance my free time; for now, I’m just thrilled that I’m 1) working a lot and 2) doing meaningful work.

And I know that life changes usually mean dropped blogs. And I know that people say that won’t happen to them. I’m keeping my mouth (typing fingers?) shut.

Photo found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ethanhein/ / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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How long is too long for an internship?

November 19, 2009

calendarSeen in the job board wild:

This internship is part time to full time. Continuation will be evaluated after one year of employment. Compensation is $10/hr.

Ten dollars per hour is not bad for an internship. But I’ve never heard of a year-long internship. Especially at “part time to full time.”

I read the entire internship description. It is specific — this isn’t a general internship. It sounds like a job posting. The internship title even has the job title right in it — just with “intern” stuck at the end. And it’s open to both students and nonstudents. This internship seems set up for someone to transition into an employee. So what’s up with waiting a year?

I can’t imagine a student being able to commit to a year-long internship. I really can’t imagine a nonstudent who has the experience required for this position being able to last a year at that pay. Now, this internship is at a nonprofit, so the job satisfaction would be great, and that do-good mentality makes up for lower pay in the nonprofit sector. But for the workload and responsibilities, $10 per hour is going to start feeling like undercompensation after six months at most.

Who else thinks this internship is unusual? Just me?

Photo found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/natigirl/ / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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Links for job seekers and social media marketers

November 11, 2009

I’m fairly active on Twitter — I at least read actively — and find lots of links to articles and blog posts that interest me enough to retweet them but don’t spur me to write my own post about them. And every time I retweet them, I think about how many links fly around Twitter that never reach a blog. And I just realized, hey, I have a blog! So I’m going through my entire Twitter timeline to post links here for my non-Twitter readers.

Job search

Job Search Tip-Show Up on the Virtual Playground (via Career Solvers)

What to Do When You’ve Run Off Into a Career Ditch (via 45 Things)

How To Conduct An Informational Interview (via Brazen Careerist and Talent Egg)

What the Heck Goes On Behind the Scenes After a Job Interview? (via Work Coach Cafe)

Is there a reason you are not getting a job? (via Keppie Careers)

Social media

3 Things to Tweet that Aren’t About Your Brand (via Communications Catalyst)

How to Channel Your Twitter Voice (via The Wall Street Journal online)

Five reasons corporations are failing at social media (via Mengal Musings)

Invest for Success: 15 Steps to Effective Social Media Marketing and Better Blogging (via Life Without Pants)

The 5 Essential Pillars of a Social Media Campaign and Social Media Monitoring 101, How to Get Started (via Social Media Examiner)

Marketing in social media not off-putting to users (via BizReport)

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Watching a TV ad is not the time for critical thinking

November 9, 2009
Hyphen comic

I’m not one to pick on other people about grammar and stuff like that because that’s what I do for a living, and in my work, I never make it personal against the writer, so I don’t want to bring my job into my personal life. But I will pick on companies because they’re the ones that are supposed to hire people like me to pick on grammar. I have been trying my best to find a certain Mini Cooper TV ad that features the phrase “no cost maintenance” so I could show you instead of just tell you. Either my research skills are failing me or this commercial is just not online, so you’ll have to trust me.

Every time — and I mean, every single time — I see this commercial with this phrase, my brain puts “cost maintenance” together instead of “no cost.” There is no “cost maintenance” with this car. I didn’t say it made sense, and I’m not a hyphen-happy person, but seriously, “no-cost maintenance” needs the hyphen.

The last thing you want to do as a business is make the reader think twice. That goes for grammar, it goes for word choice, it goes for design. My job as a copy editor is to represent the reader and see where a reader might get tripped up. Any impression could be a lasting impression.

UPDATE: I found the commercial online! I don’t need to embed the whole thing, but here is the screenshot.

Image at top courtesy of "The Greys" comic strip.

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Social media is a vehicle for interaction, not control

November 4, 2009

If you keep up with the social media conversation like I do, you’re familiar with the concept of “controlling the conversation.” It’s touted as one of the big benefits of corporate social media use. I’ve even written about it before. (Twice, actually.) Well, PR and social media blogger Lauren Fernandez recently taught me that I shouldn’t use the word “control” because all anyone can really do with social media is initiate and react to conversations. This reaction can try to steer a conversation, but, as Lauren says:

People aren’t robots. They are going to say what they want, how they want about your product.

It’s good to clarify this distinction. A company can delete negative comments on its blog posts (but ethically shouldn’t), thus controlling the conversation in that venue, but it can’t delete negative tweets or really any other online conversation about it. The most beneficial thing an organization can do is respond in a timely, thorough and personable way. No stock “We’re sorry to hear that you’re dissatisfied.” I think people are aware that a company would be sorry to hear that! I wish more businesses would react to the meat of the problem and try to steer the conversation that way instead of regurgitating the old practices of customer service. They no longer have a whole 8 1/2 x 11 page to respond; now, it’s just a few lines, if that.

Go read her post and all the comments. She’s got some smart followers.

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