Monthly Archives: January 2012

Should job seekers really start their own blog?

This week I’m back to my first love – blogging and this caught my eye – 7 reasons why every job seeker should blog.

Do you blog – do your teenage kids? Most people are too damn busy keeping it all together quite frankly. But this article comes up with 7 whole reasons why anyone looking to move jobs this year or who is starting out on their chosen career, should start to write.

One of my concerns is about the prospective employer – is he or she really going to be impressed with your blogging efforts – do they have the time to read the musings of every wanna be in their industry? What if they think blogging is a waste of time and what you should really be doing is getting a lot more hands on experience? After all, pontificating on something you barely know about could make you look stupid.

So what to do?

The business world is moving forward at a very uneven pace where the social media arts are concerned and there are still many dinosaurs out there who think it’s a load of nonsense. But don’t despair – I actually think blogging is a really good idea!

Here’s why.

First and foremost, it forces you to organize your thoughts. You have to sift through your ideas, put them into some sort of order, examine them and look around for back up – this is what will help you with your job search. Through the process of writing and researching you will become better informed and you will have a whole range of ideas at your fingertips. The brain can cheat us into thinking we have something all worked out, but it’s not until you speak it or write it down that you discover it’s a load of nonsense – inside the interview room is too late.

Writing a blog is an opportunity to slaughter a few industry sacred cows – taking on outmoded thinking and proposing new ways of doing things is a useful way of making yourself stand out but I would steer clear of stunts. I don’t think the girl who wrote a letter of ‘rejection’ to the Oxford College which had intimidated her did herself any favours. Petulance is not the same as coming up with fresh ideas.

So go ahead and show them what you’re make of – build your brand – extend your reach and all the other things mentioned in the article but don’t get too downcast if your prospective employer decides not to actually read the thing. For you , it may have already done its job.

If you’re going to do it – do it right…..

Have you noticed how many people have made a new year’s resolution to ‘do’ social media this year?

The friend requests started to show up soon after my return to work.

And jolly well done too. A bit blinking late but not too late to join the party and get clued up (just in time to have a right royal row about Google plus – if you are interested read this .)

I really hope they stick at it because it is useful, fun and rewarding as well as being a potential time-suck!

I could offer reams of advice on how to do it, but my blogging back catalogue does that quite well, from how tos on Twitter and Facebook to blogging. But I will say one thing about LinkedIn, because so many people are doing this – please, please, please add a personal message when you ask to connect.

My husband, who takes an average amount of interest in social media says he never links up with someone if he doesn’t know who they are, and that includes lots of people he actually does know if he stops to think about it. If you are really busy you are not going to stop to realize that the person who has just asked to link with you is the woman from swimming who you know by her married name but don’t recognize from the photo because she is in her work clothes.

It doesn’t take much extra time to add a short personalized note with your request, reminding the person how they know you and why hooking up with you on social media is a good idea. I might not want to share my work life with a sporting acquaintance, but then I might be enticed by the idea that lots of their friends work in my field or that it will make sharing the results of sporting fixtures easier.

Cold approaches are always a bit awkward – why not apply some of the diplomacy to online connections that you would to real life?

 

Rude salesman or realistic businessman?

I am currently trying to spend a lot of money on a new kitchen. A lot for me, that is – but not enough for some it would seem. I have fallen victim to some bad sales psychology and I was wondering what you think.

I was dealing with a very nice gentleman, who although he didn’t remember me the first couple of times we spoke, did ‘get’ the whole idea that I was on a budget. He did not make me feel silly for going into a high-end kitchen supplier with a modest budget. He gave me the idea that we could do business.

Step forward his mate – who I am afraid looked like an old school sales man – with a stripy shirt and a gut. After running through a few options with me he gave me a little speech about how they usually deal with  high-end expensive projects but because of the recession they are trying to be a bit more aggressive on price but that means that smaller projects like mine don’t really make them very much money.

So presumably I should be grateful he is giving me the time of day?

Should I tell him to stick it?

I don’t know what he thinks he told me – I am sure he would not recognise the message that I took away with me – but to me it was quite clear. You don’t really shape up because you’re not spending enough money.

Now I know a lot of you are astute business people and know the psychology of a good sale. Was this a rude salesman or realistic businessman? What do you think and how should I deal with it?

Where is the social media on TV?

One day over Christmas, when the family had gone out to buy a tree or walk off dinner or whatever seasonal activity they’d embarked upon, I sat down to watch a movie.

The film was “You’ve Got Mail” and would be described today as old – but I remember going to see it in the cinema with high hopes that it was going to be as hilarious and seminal as “When Harry met Sally” – it wasn’t.

What this film is though – now – is a period piece about the early days of e-mail, where people met in chat rooms and carried on their anonymous friendships via dial-up connection e-mail. That whir and fizz as the internet connected will resonate with only some of us now – it was a tiny dot in the history of computer-based communication – a moment in time.

When the film came out we were hungry for media that reflected the new realities of the internet age and for Hollywood that meant stories about meeting partners online. ( I did in fact cement my own friendship with my future husband via a BBC internal messaging system very like msn messenger today.)

Now we have movies like “The Social Network” to give us a history lesson but I wonder how well Twitter fares on-screen? I kept my eyes open over the holidays and came up with a couple of mentions on TV which reflected a rather one-sided view of the social media revolution.

First up was Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe Review of the year which included a rant about trying to tweet along to Question Time. I don’t go in for tweet alongs personally but my husband quite often reads out funny quips during X Factor or The Apprentice and I think it adds to the enjoyment. Here we were invited to deride the tweeter as a mindless idiot who trumped his brain farts into the twittersphere only to lose the thread of the onscreen argument completely, leading to a very unsatisfactory viewing experience for all.

If you subscribe to the idea that social media makes an inane and impatient society even more so, then there is your proof. But it is not my experience.

Then there was Ab Fab which did make me laugh (just the once) with the implication that the art of PR is dead now that all you have to do is type – “shall we send out a press release, have a press conference, launch a poster campaign, book some ads – or shall we just tweet it darling?” – I paraphrase.

The fact of the matter is that using social media may look like instant gratification, but if you are going to get anywhere in the world of PR or even in enjoyment, you have to keep at it. You build up followers slowly – it takes a long time to nurture new relationships and if all you want is funny comments then you do actually have to follow people who make them.

You get out what you put in.

So, if anyone sees any interesting portrayals of social media on screen do let me know because I am collecting.