Learn More About LinkedIn

Inspired by another Mashable article I read this morning, this post exposes some features about LinkedIn that you may not have known about. In addition, I’ll offer some tips on how to improve your existing profile and optimize your use of the networking site effectively.

1- LinkedIn is great for conducting a job search. Of course Craigslist is still an option, or in the case of an internship, websites like InternSushi and InternQueen are also great resources for beginning a search. As for me specifically, Cornell offers a job connection website as well–filled with exclusive opportunities for it’s students. All this being said, LinkedIn is another great job search engine to add to your list. Whether you get scouted by a Headhunter,  reconnect with an old classmate or utilize the Jobs section of the site specifically, opportunities are endless.

2-LinkedIn statistics are your friend.  Network Statistics are relevant to your specific professional connections and help you find out which industries most of your friends, colleagues and classmates are in, as well as which geographic areas they represent the most.

3- Take the Skills and Expertise section of your profile seriously. While on a paper resume it’s sensical to leave out the obvious “skills” such as Microsoft Office (Who doesn’t know how to use that these days?), on LinkedIn it’s helpful to include skills as simple as “creative writing” and “public speaking.” These skills are labeled as clickable links (think hashtags on Twitter) so employers looking for particular criteria can search for people who list the skills they desire in their staff. Another reason I personally enjoy the Skills & Expertise feature is because the “More” tab of LinkedIn offers a global skills database. Not only can I see what other skills are comparable to the ones I have listed on my page (This is great for getting more ideas. I may not have thought of something I did as a “skill” but an employer does!) but it also displays a percentage next to every skill. Green stats = good stats. This means that your area(s) of expertise are becoming more & more important, as well as raising the bar in terms of competition. For example, “Hootsuite” is growing by 81% at present. It’s the 84th highest growing skill on the site, and clicking on the skill specifically offers several options. #1) I can see related skills and their comparable growth (maybe the competitors- i.e. TweetDeck- fare better) #2) I can find and join groups of other professionals with this skill #3) I can find Related Areas (In this case, Hootsuite is a web-exclusive, working wonders across the globe. But for something more specific like Computer Graphics, Silicone Valley pops up as the top location for this expertise.)

4-You can, and should, customize your newsfeed.  While it’s great to see what current connections are up to, the “LinkedIn Today” feature lets you tailor your newsfeed to what interests you specifically. Interested in PR and Online Media? Then, follow those industries! The top stories will be featured on your news stream. You can also opt in to the email service, so instead of logging on, these updates can come straight to your email.

5- Try out LinkedIn LabsI personally had no idea what this was until reading Mashable’s article this morning. It appears to be a separate website from LinkedIn, and these labs require your permission before accessing your LinkedIn information. However, as long as you choose to approve specific apps, they can be quite informative and entertaining. Apps include everything from a Resume Builder to WordCloud and a search bar for Google Chrome. Here’s two graphics from my experience with LinkedIn Labs. The first, a timeline of my friends & experiences (that doesn’t quite look the same as a still image) and the latter, a web of my network connections.

The different colors represent different parts of my life (High School, working as a camp counselor, interning, college, etc) and the scattered people who pop up show when we connected on LinkedIn. Pretty cool, huh?

This web shows my network in terms of whose connected to whom. The blue dots represent Cornell, and of course, that’s where most of my current connections are from.

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The Essay That Started It All

Why Cornell?  This essay answered the Cornell University college application prompt of the same question. It was originally written in October 2011 and answers why I always wanted to study Communications and attend Cornell University.

I was never the child who squeezed her mother’s leg on the first day of Kindergarten. Later in life, I never teetered on the edge of an unknown crowd hiding behind the hood of my jacket. Conversely, I have always formed relationships naturally, and started researching social careers since the budding years of adolescence. I painted a picture of my future in reverse; after ceaseless self-assessment tests proved that Communications would be the perfect fit for me, I then began the quest for a college that would best suit my designated career path.

My pre-pubescent fascination with communal interactions inevitably developed into several leadership roles during high school, enhancing my understanding of the field. Close contact with my guidance counselor, principal, yearbook and class advisors extended my school involvement beyond a peer-to-peer level. In junior year, my course selection allowed room for Public Relations, which undoubtedly became my favorite class. This crevice of communications broadened my understanding of how to write press releases, create focus groups and research Public Service Announcements.

“…a large university with an even larger spirit.”

One press release was particularly challenging; I was instructed to defend Tiger Woods amidst weeks of public slander in the tabloids. Rather than focusing on the mistakes he’d made, I highlighted his golfing career, philanthropic work and humble acceptance of sole responsibility for his actions.  Through assignments like this, I discovered that PR was not only enjoyable, but also something I had a knack for. To me, the field of Communications doesn’t just seek a “people person,” it requires one. Only the most effective communicators flourish in this industry, and what better place than Cornell to cultivate an undergraduate’s talents?

The little white envelope that graced my doorstep last October catalyzed my Cornelian addiction; “Randy Rosenberg (’74) and The Cornell Club of Long Island cordially invite you to spend two days on campus as a prospective undergraduate.” Me? Invited to Cornell? I was awestruck, but didn’t let the prestige intimidate me. I was ready.

“The field of Communications doesn’t just seek a ‘people person,’ it requires one.”

Emerging from my host’s dormitory into a hallway of laughing students, I expected to stand idly unnoticed as merely another “Pre-Frosh.” However, reality was quite the contrary; I didn’t blend in, I fit in. Floor Three of Dixon surpassed a freshman residence hall; it was a family that included me with open arms, even inviting me to “Family Dinner” at R.P.C.C. The Red Carpet Society is not a misnomer; while I was graced with royal treatment, I mostly enjoyed the passion students evoked in a wholehearted presentation of the Cornelian experience.

An ember of excitement warmed my conscience; years of hearing Uncle Antonio rave about his alma mater (BS IRL ’83) finally made sense. Cornell opens the gates to a much brighter future. Here, I will transform from student ambassador to CALS ambassador and a hopeful incoming freshman to a full-fledged member of the Association for Women in Communications. CALS offers an intimately specialized education surrounded by a large university with an even larger spirit.

Downtime at your Internship?

Although there’s always something to do at work, I know that sometimes after finishing a project (especially if it’s done faster than my bosses anticipated) I’m left with a bit of free time.

In those instances, here’s a few ideas that I’ve come up with to occupy your time effectively (inspired by Intern Queen’s article on the same topic, which I’ll include at the end of this post).

1) Browse the web: Depending on the specifics of your internship, websites may vary..but I know that as a current Social Media/Digital Marketing Intern I constantly scan http://www.Mashable.com. It’s the social media guru’s version of the New York Times. Speaking of the NYT, you might want to check up on that as well..it’s always good knowing what’s going on in the world. For PR, http://www.prdaily.com is a great start.

-Checking up on PR Firms’ Twitter accounts is always great too. They feature daily tips, inspirational quotes, useful articles and more. Plus, sometimes you’ll even find a good new website to browse!

2) Blog, blog blog!  As I’m doing right now..hehehe. It’s always great to record some of the day’s highlights, as well as the downfalls. Writing things down will help get your mental hamster ball rolling. What did you absolutely love about the day? What cool new things did you learn? Find any great photos or info graphics? Share them! Answering these questions and more are a great way to keep track of your summer internship’s highlights..as well as some of the things you didn’t like much. But that’s okay too, because the negatives can always be improved upon!

3) Ask for more work: It’s not pushy, nor is it annoying (unless, of course, your boss is in the middle of an important phone call). They love to see interns taking initiative, and the more you can get done, the better!

4) Keep Up With Social Media: Depending on whether or not your internship allows you access to the company’s Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter pages and etcetera, you may or may not be able to do this step effectively. I get the passwords for Collective Media and Laffey Fine Homes’ accounts..plus a few of our clients. When I have downtime I pin relevant things to their pinboards, find great articles to post on Facebook, and come up with new Tweets (and reply to people who’ve tweeted at us! Plus it’s always great to thank new followers & always follow back!).

Of course these are just a few of the ideas to spice up your downtime. Intern Queen has come up with her own tips for making the most out of your internship experience. Check out her ideas–the very inspiration for this post– and feel free to add a few ideas of your own to the comment box below!

Intern Queen’s Article: 3-ways-spend-down-time-your-internship

Thanks for reading..now get back to work 🙂

–Olivia

The Importance of Reconnecting

I’ve always been a firm believer of sending out those “Hey, remember me?” messages..no matter how awkward it may seem at first. And of course, you’ll have to be a little more creative than that if you’re trying to get any sort of message across.

Earlier today as I was scrolling through Twitter pages for PR Firms/Agencies to follow (and potentially places to apply for internships next summer..always thinking ahead!)…I came across a greek name that sounded so familiar. A name, much like my last name, that’s both hard to remember and hard to forget. And above all, hard to spell.

So I clicked on this Greek girl’s account and assumed that with over 5,000 followers, it belonged to just another PR Firm I’d heard of way back when. Maybe someone from my high school years above me had an internship there or something. And maybe the Twitter page went by the name of the CEO, rather than X Agency, Y Communications LLC, or Z Public Relations.

Well, the first thing I did was read her bio…still no light bulb had gone off. Once I reached the end of her terse information section I clicked the link to her webpage (MSM Public Relations) and read her “About” section. Within the first 15 seconds I had my aha moment…I shadowed this girl, Margo, when I was just a freshman in high school.

At the time, Margo wasn’t much older than I am. This was probably her first job after college. I was lucky enough to be close family friends with one of her bosses, Jacqueline Precious. She worked as the Merchandise Director at SoHo Fashion. Margo was SoHo Fashion’s publicist..which meant that she was in charge of maintaining positive PR. I remember her calling several magazines to feature SoHo’s products, in addition to contacting celebrities’ personal stylists (Vividly remember her speaking to Rihanna’s) asking them to “do lunch” so they can discuss Celeb X wearing SoHo outerwear Y in Z magazine.

Watching Margo work gave me my first exposure to PR, and I knew right then and there that I’d like to do something similar some day. Now she founded her own Public Relations Firm and is a producer for the Wendy Williams Show. Branching out to telecomm shows how versatile the industry is.

So about half an hour ago I decided to send Margo an email. While the natural progression of this post would probably lead me to saying something like “Reconnecting is so great..now she offered me an internship!” the truth is she hasn’t responded yet. I’m too impatient to wait for that…

But even so, I’ve rekindled a useful connection. I can ask her if they’re hiring for next summer later on this year or do an externship over Winter Break. She can get me in contact with other important people in the industry. It’s basically all about building connections. Reconnecting = another form of Networking.

On another note, I also reconnected with another old friend today–in the spirit of stumbling upon Margo’s new company.  At my younger sister’s graduation I ran into the elderly woman who lived next-door to my childhood home. Her granddaughter was in my sister’s class. Seeing her reminded me of another granddaughter of hers, who’s my age. When Kacie used to visit her grandma, she really came over to my house to play, up until about 3rd grade. So I found this girl on Facebook, crafted a message that would remind her of who I am in as minimally creepy of a way possible, and realized she’s a sister of the same sorority as I am, TriDelta. Funny coincidence!

Moral of the story: never be afraid to reach out to someone from the past, no matter how long ago it may feel. The worst thing that can happen is that they don’t remember you (but who would actually admit that?). At least you tried!

xox

PR: More than party planning and celebrity gawking!

NYC PR Girls, a blog I frequently peruse, has published this list to answer the age old question, “So what do PR girls do?”

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These 10 bullet points are only half of what Public Relations is all about, but this list alone explains volumes about a PR Career. Some of the highlights include:

-Monitoring Media (As a current Social Media Intern, I can attest to the amount of time I spend on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/Instagram…all things social and I’m there!)

-Brainstorming Creative Ways to get Client X Coverage (This is another great point…any communications related field needs a creative mind to be on her toes to come up with the most innovative way to spread her company or client’s message.)

-Maintain Relationships With Media (Maintaining relationships is important for all industries, but particularly so in PR. Networking is a huge part of the field..you never know who you may meet that can get you press coverage where you wouldn’t believe, connections to a new client or invitations to exclusive events. So make sure you maintain those close contacts– and even start to build those acquaintance relationships. Were you featured in a particular media outlet’s publication a few years ago? Reach out! It can certainly happen again if you’re willing to try.)

Thanks again to NYC PR Girls–an inspirational site for us all! Read the full list here:

http://nycprgirls.com/what-do-pr-girls-do