Hi, I'm Margie Newman. I blog about public relations, social media, careers, productivity and geek stuff.

Friendly reminder: don’t autopost Tweets to LinkedIn

Nothing makes me cringe more than people choosing to use the very public Internet as their very personal diary. It’s altogether worse when folks don’t realize that is what they are doing.

Exhibit A: young professionals who Tweet drunk photos of themselves, not realizing they’ve perviously set their Twitter feed to autopost to their LinkedIn profile. I’ll not “out” this gal here on FlackRabbit, but I did email her and suggest she take down the unflattering photo perched atop her very impressive skills summary and employer information. Then, I Tweeted about it:

I received a flurry of replies, from folks who wanted to know who the gal was (I’ll never tell!) to the social media savvy who strongly believe streaming your Twitter feed shows future employers and peers that you possess a working knowledge of the Internet.

While I agree that having a visible link to your Twitter account makes good sense, I can’t see the logic in auto-posting my sometimes “unprofessional” thoughts/opinions/beer selections to my “professional” resume. I’d much rather a head-hunter see my skills and work history than my excitement over finally getting to try DC Brau’s Penn Quarter Porter. Which, by the way, is very tasty.

Fortunately–thanks to Twitter hashtag magic–we can Tweet about our beer and appear professional on LinkedIn, too, by displaying only the Tweets that include #in. Here’s how my settings look: Read More…

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Stop being so afraid of “job hopping”

One reason I’m always pushing folks to lunch with strangers, network and participate in relevant professional PR association events is that you really never know when a person you’ve met will call you and offer up your dream job. Unfortunately, when presented with this option, many of you will turn down the opportunity because you are scared that “changing jobs” after a year or two at your current gig will reflect poorly on your work ethic.

Really? You’re saying “no” to a communications gig custom-made for you because of what others may think? Are you sure you’re in the right profession?

Seriously! You are a PR professional. It’s your job to message this career move on paper, in pixels and in person, not just let it lie out there and hope folks see and value it for what it really is. If you’re moving up with each move, you have nothing to hide! And your future employer has the right to know how you roll; she may truly need a “lifer” and clearly, that ain’t you. It ain’t me either. For PR job-hoppers likes us, transparency and consistency of message are critical.

You can do this. I simply cannot rest thinking there are folks turning down career-advancing jobs out of fear/shame when in fact, job hopping may actually make you a better, more productive employee.

Here are three strategies to consider when messaging your (many) gigs and revamping your resume:

  1. If you were recruited, say so. My favorite message/resume trick is to brag on the fact that you were recruited into the position. This aptly addresses the inevitable question “Why did you leave?” right off the bat. Plus, it’s human nature to want a person more when you know he/she is wanted by others.
  2. Paint a picture of the ladder you’re climbing. We’ve been over this before: communicate beyond your title and job description. Really outline the increasingly impressive responsibilities, employees and deliverables you have been assigned with each new gig. The goal is to assure that the first-time reader of your resume can easily interpret this “Changing of the Jobs” as The Steady Rise of Your Career. {Insert trumpet call.}
  3. Show confidence in your value and success. It’s important that you and your resume convey 100 percent confidence in your career history and path. If you are going to justify “job hopping,” you’ll not only need to  prove you are movin’ on up each time, you’ll also need to show you leave each employer (and/or client) better than you found it. Stop being so humble. Your resume (and talking points) must communicate that you will bring value to an employer–no matter how long you work in her office. Read More…
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Creating your personal boilerplate

When someone asks you, “what do you do?” What do you say? If you’re like many folks, you reply with your title and place of employment. And you know how I feel about that: communicating your title is not really answering the question and certainly doesn’t promote your talents. It’s time to create your personal boilerplate; your own thirty-second elevator speech; a verbal “About Me” that is sincere, to-the-point and purposeful.

This is an exercise in consistently and confidently communicating your own skills, talents and line of work. Without apology! Without shame! Even if you have a title that you view as demeaning or wrong! This is especially important if you are a jack-of-all-trades and it’s hard for you to explain what you do!

I’ll go first. When someone asks me, “What do you do,” I say something like:

I manage public relations at a national policy shop in D.C.—helping very smart and often long-winded folks succinctly and confidently communicate with media and policy makers. I’m also a technology and productivity columnist, and a go-to gal for the social media curious. And I blog about PR and geek stuff on my personal blog, FlackRabbit.com.

Now, it’s your turn. Warning: it is harder than it looks. The good news: you don’t have to memorize it; it can in should be organic. And it may change according to your audience.

When creating your personal boilerplate, try to think about the following:

What do you do? Notice that I did not ask what your title is. Explain to me what you do in a way that I’ll likely understand, even if I don’t know anything about your line of work. For instance, most folks know what public relations is, but not many folks understand what it means. That’s why I include some detail to nudge them in the right direction. Additionally, you should include skills and interests that make you, you. I don’t write a technology column or pen a blog as a part of my day job, but both are a relevant part of my professional work and skill set, so I include them in “what I do.” Read More…

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How to handle an Internet troll

Nothing brings out the worst in folks quite like anonymity. Under the misguided belief that the Internet was created to catalog negative comments and painfully poor grammar, Internet trolls rant and pillage the Web–and leave in their wake you, with a helpless, panicky feeling.

Every public relations person has a different theory on how to handle ridiculous, demeaning and downright false comments; here’s mine:

Don’t delete: folks have the right to disagree with you–even they are snarky and mean-spirited.  As long as the comment isn’t a threat, patently offensive, spam, bigoted, libelous or keeping you awake at night, leave it be. These are comments from trolls, not statements from the Pope.

Count to 4,567: as bad as the troll’s comment is and despite how angry/hurt/sad it makes you, it’s not the end of the world. Take a deep breath, step away from the computer and think before you respond.

Just the facts, ma’am: should you decide to respond to the the troll in a comment of your own, do so with a level head, refuting the troll point-by-point using factual statements with as little emotion as possible (Trolls hate that). Under no circumstances are you to fight with the troll or engage in it in sarcastic comm-versation.

Use your real name: transparency is key when responding to an Internet troll. When you respond, it should be under your real name. In my book, if your comment is anonymous it doesn’t countand you’ve become a troll, too. Read More…

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Never leave home without a business card

SAN FRANCISCO - JULY 20:  A job seeker receive...

I’ve been in DC nearly a year and have learned that, much like my home town of Nashville, you never know who you’ll run into at any given moment and what that person may mean to your career.

That gal–the one who just asked for your business card, but you told her you didn’t have one–might be your future boss. Rather, she might have been your future boss, but she doesn’t have your number.

There’s a movement around town that I’m happy to see: recent grads,  laid-off folks, freelance PR pros and/or people like me who work for a company that understandably doesn’t want us mixing business with pleasure, are creating personal business cards.

Most folks’ cards are designed and ordered at places like Moo.com. If you’re me, you’ve got a talented hubby who designed them for you. Either way, this mini, paper you should communicate: Read More…

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Three common misconceptions about a public relations career

YOU CAN DO IT!

So you think you can flack? You probably can. Before you jump in–and if you want to do it well–you’ll need to keep these truths in mind:

1. The PR profession about more than just being a “people person”–it’s great that you love people. I love people. But that will only take you so far, as in, through your internship. After that, you’ll also need to be “a good writer” and “a good listener.” You’ll also need to demonstrate a strategic mind and an appetite for winning. A love of people is great, but it does not a PR superstar make.

2. PR is not a 9 to 5 gig–I don’t know who puts the idea into folks’ heads that public relations is a glamorous profession. The most effective flacks I know work long hours and spend at least a portion of their weekends trolling the Internet for news and opinion pieces, social media trends and client opportunitiesNot to mention all the non-billable hours spent defending new/fabulous/sort-of-scary/innovative ideas. You know those communicators that you are always looking at and thinking “how they heck did he think of that?” I guarantee you he’s either A) extremely experienced and or B) lives and breathes his work. Hey, I never said it was a healthy lifestyle, just an effective one. Read More…

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Give yourself some credit: communicating your gig beyond your title

When folks ask, “What do you do?” are you one who confidently communicates your various job roles and responsibilities–or one who simply states your title? While you’re thinking about that, let me share this:

If you are a recent grad/have little work experience, words like Administrative, Assistant and Associate are sure to attach themselves to your name and eat away at your psyche.

Seniority has value; there are many things that may only be fully understood by trial and stunningly horrific error. The trick is knowing how to balance “paying your dues” discipline with an “experience beyond your years” mindset. Read More…

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