Can the new Facebook jobs application, Glassdoor, add anything to the online jobs hunt? Surprisingly, we think it can…
Glassdoor is the latest online jobs service to flash its way on to my radar. Primarily a Facebook application (although you can sign up without Facebook), Glassdoor allows you to tap into your Facebook ‘friends” professional information (where they work etc) and their friends’ data and so forth. Much like BranchOut, it transforms the social capital of your Facebook connections and makes it professional.
Having recently signed up for BranchOut only to forget about it within a few days, the idea of subscribing to yet another app which has the potential to bug my Facebook friends – most of whom are actually friends rather than simply contacts – was somewhat unwelcome. But, what the heck, I thought, let’s just take a look.
The jobs and connection information is fairly basic which means that Glassdoor, unlike BranchOut, will not be mounting any challenges to Linkedin. But it seems this is not the company’s intention. The real value of the app lies in the other services they offer: shared insider information on companies.
Glassdoor describes itself as a “free jobs and career community that offers the world an inside look at jobs and companies”. In effect, this makes it a professional ‘kiss and tell’ network where people share their own experiences of a company – anonymously, of course. Information is pooled about specific corporate cultures and working environments, salaries and the sort of interview you can expect. It makes for interesting reading. (Surprisingly, most of the reviews are positive, which means that this site, thankfully, is not just a vehicle for aggrieved former employees to bag their old bosses).
Glassdoor should not be relied on simply to find jobs or attract the attention of a potential employer (although there is room for this to happen). However, it could certainly be useful for investigating a company with whom you have an interview or if you’ve been made a job offer. You could also use it to identify companies worth targeting proactively for employment.
Unfortunately, job seekers in Australia will need to wait a little while before they can enjoy the benefits of this employment peep show. While there is a generous amount of information on companies in the US, there isn’t much going on for the rest of the world. Type ‘public relations’ and ‘Australia’ into the site and you go straight to reviews of US companies. The same happens if you change the location to ‘UK’.
So, there is work still to be done. But as a community portal, the responsibility for this lies not so much with the site but with its users. And if the details start being filled in for companies in our part of the world, Glassdoor could prove to be a valuable tool.
Marjorie Solomon is the founder and editor of CommPROs. She has 15 years communications experience and is currently enrolled in a Masters in Creative Writing.
Using an infographic CV could be just the ticket to make a big impression with recruiters and get you a step closer to landing the job you want.
If you are involved with social media then chances are you will have seen countless infographics over the past few months – done with varying shades of quality and creativity – as they just seem to be all the rage. But have you ever thought about tapping into this current trend to promote yourself and your resume by creating an infographic CV?
Recreating a text-heavy resume as an eye-catching graphic is an interesting way to present your professional background and experience and to mark yourself out from the pile.
If you skilled in design software, then you have infinite possibilities before you, but if your Adobe skills are limited or your creative juices are just not flowing then there are other, pre-fabricated (and free) options available to you.
Mashable discusses 4 Simple Tools for Creating an Infographic Resume. Before I posted this piece, I had play with kinzaa and vizualize.me – the former because it told me the process would take only three minutes (it didn’t) and the latter because the comments below the article were enthusiastic about the service.
Interestingly, neither really worked for me.
Although kinzaa‘s presentation was clear and flexible, its graphics were dull and, for me at least, rather uninspiring. It might be interesting to present your CV in a different kind of way, but really, if you are going to go to the trouble, at least make it fun. Having said that, kinzaa gives the option to turn your online infographic CV into a pdf, which is definitely useful.
Much more interesting in terms of presentation, vizualize.me fell down because it’s pre-set education fixtures did not allow me to include the fact that I am currently enrolled in a Masters Degree, which is, in my opinion, quite an important for me to include in my CV. Granted, it’s not such a big issue, but it changed the feel of my professional activity.
If you Google infograpics CV there are a host of amazing design and ideas which you could use to adapt to meet your own needs. Some of them are suitable for remodelling using Microsoft Word if you know your way around the program.
Using an infographic CV could be a great way to get noticed. I will definitely be including a link on my Word CV to the kinzaa infographic CV that I built or perhaps include it as a complementary document. And, should I have a moment of inspiration, I might even try building a unique one with Adobe Indesign. But I won’t be throwing out my MS Word resume just yet!
We have discussed the value of PR/Comms people having their own personal website, now let’s look at how to do this…easily…
As a PR or comms professional, your business is words, spin and promotion. So, your personal website should be more about showcasing your skills as a wordsmith, your career highlights and your PR capabilities and less about fancy, flashing extras. While this might sound boring at first (it isn’t), it means that having your own tailored, personal website will not require the involvement of a web developer or a designer. You can create a professional-looking site without having to bang your head against a wall (too much) and without having to burn a hole in your wallet.
There are many options for building a website, but the three tools that I recommend for beginners are:
I happen to be a huge fan (and user) of WordPress. This free open source blogging and content management system has plenty of room to create tailored websites, with the option to blog or not, depending on your preferences. There are two WordPress options:
A) WordPress.com which is entirely free because it is hosted by WordPress. You choose from a small range of templates (themes, as they call them) and create your site from there. WordPress.com is an easy option if you want something simple to set up and if your site is going to be fairly basic. Your site will be called www.yourdomainname.wordpress.com but you can pay a small fee to direct it to www.yourdomainname.com. WordPress.com is fine for personal websites but can not be used for commercial activity (including generating income via online advertisements).
B) WordPress.org is the ‘grown-up’ version, which gives you more flexibility with what you can create. You have access to thousands of themes – both free or ‘premium’ themes, which vary in price. If you go with this option, you will have to pay for a hosting service and to buy your domain name. You will also need to learn how to set it up, but with help from the WordPress forums and your host server, this is fairly easy to do. (It is also a great skill to acquire for your CV). There are no limits to how you can use your site and you are free to advertise or generate income.
Weebly is a free online website tool which is very popular. Setting up a site is easy as it relies on a drag-and-drop principle – you just choose what options you would like to include in your site (ie. text, pictures, videos, maps etc) and place them accordingly. Weebly offers free hosting with tutorials and support if you have questions. Like with WordPress.com, you can either go with the free domain name option by calling your site www.yourdomainname.weebly.com or pay to have it directed to www.yourdomainname.com. Weebly is a website making tool, but you still have the option to blog if you wish.
Blogger, is another free blogging and hosting service. Although Blogger is, unsurprisingly, primarily a blogging tool, it does have enough flexibility to be moulded into a website service. Of the three services discussed, Blogger is the most commercially accommodating, with easy options for ad placements and revenue raising, and with direct lines into Google’s search engines. Users choose from a range of templates and you can include pages, incorporate pictures and videos easily, as well as other Google options like maps (here’s a list of your options using Blogger). Your site will be a subdomain of blogspot, which means its address will be www.yourdomainname.blogspot.com but you can set up (for a small fee) to have your site address as www.yourdomainname.com.
All three website/blogging tools are suitable for beginners (while WordPress.org is really the best option for people with advanced web development skills or expectations). Just what sort of site you would like to put together will determine which service will best suit your requirements.
Happy web building!
Having a personal website is an innovative way for a PR/comms job seeker to put themselves ahead of the game. Here are some of the reasons why you might want to take this step…
Job seekers should always be looking for ways to put distance between themselves and their competition in the job market, particularly when the market is as tight as today’s. One easy way to achieve this is to create your own personal website – an online portfolio which showcases your skills, experiences and creativity.
I recently started a discussion on LinkedIn about the value to job seekers of having a personal website. There were a range of opinions contributed, but the majority supported the idea for people working in the creative arena. And Smashing Magazine contends that it is essential for people working in the creative industry to have a good personal website.
And while I consider PR/comms people to be creatives, what would a personal website really offer someone in this industry when compared to a graphic designer or web developer? Let’s look at some of the benefits:
1. Show your innovation and creativity immediately
Personal websites are still a fairly new idea, particularly for people in PR and comms. Having your own online portfolio already marks you out as enterprising and creative and that you are pushing the boundaries in the development of your skills-set and career.
2. Make things clear and easy for employers
A personal website allows you to demonstrate your skills and experience in one place, so a prospective employer can gain a comprehensive overview of you as a professional in a way that is quick and easy for them. It is also a great way to show your experience writing media releases or publications, rather than simply list them as part of your experience.
3. Present the best you
You can easily highlight your best work and achievements rather than rely on a recruiter to read through the descriptive text you have on your experience and achievements. Choose the best examples from your portfolio so that a prospective employer can see for themselves the quality of your work and the variety of your experience.
4. Utilise form and function to your advantage
Websites are a much better way of illustrating your depth and breadth of skills. You can organise your personal website to ensure that you project the professional persona you want people to see. You can use pages, categories, social media interfaces, videos, blogs and other tools as a way of best presenting your professional background and talents. A website, with its flexible structure, is a more effective tool than a two or three page Word document. And it beats hoping that the person reading through you CV is paying attention to lists of experience from each of your past positions – or that they read to the end of your CV for things like ‘additional skills’.
5. Give yourself freedom to break the mould
Personal websites are still new concepts, which means that you can be creative in the way that you present yourself. Resumes are written in line with standard expectations of what they should look like and what they contain. But there is no such thing as a standard personal website, so you have more freedom to make it look and behave in a way that best suits you.
Using a personal website is just another approach to getting yourself noticed in the hurly-burly world of the PR/comms jobs market. They should not be developed at the expense of keeping your Word CV fresh and relevant. And there is no doubt that some of the points discussed above could be applied to ensuring that your paper resume is as creative, innovative and representative of the best professional you as it can be.
Just when you thought you were on top of your social media and professional networking, it is time to think again. Or is it? BranchOut, the new professional networking application on Facebook, would tell you it is, but the jury seems to be out on whether it offers anything new or better than Linkedin.
BranchOut, a newish social networking application for Facebook, allows you to make professional connections via your Facebook friends – and then connects you to their friends…and so on. In other words, it identifies the professional and company profiles of your Facebook connections and changes the nature of these connections from ‘friends’ to contacts.
I signed up recently, but unlike with Pinterest (which I have also newly joined) I didn’t sign up because there was a buzz which made me genuinely curious, I joined because I was invited and it seemed a reasonable idea (Why not? I am still looking around for part-time work and it never hurts to make connections…).
There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of online chatter about BranchOut at this stage. When signing up I did a little research (and then again before writing this post) in order to see what people are saying about it. And they don’t seem to be saying much; and when they do, it’s with some negativity.
Forum discussions I came across about BranchOut expressed views that landed somewhere between indifference and doubt. Most people’s reservations appear to hinge on concerns that:
1. People prefer to keep Facebook for personal connections and use Linkedin for professional contacts.
2. Users feel they may have their professional identities compromised if BranchOut contacts have access to their (more private) Facebook information.
The first point is valid and rings true with me – although everyone uses these platforms differently. I certainly find myself connected to people on Linkedin who would really be more appropriate connections on Facebook – and occasionally, vice versa. But on the whole I do use the two sites for very different things, largely differentiating between my personal and professional personas.
BranchOut has ways to combat the second issue and that there are various privacy settings that a person can use to ensure that the overlap between private and public spheres is limited. For example, BranchOut provides an option to use a different (and more professional) profile picture from the one a user has attached to their regular Facebook profile (extremely relevant in my case as my FB profile pic is a colourful ’South Park’ figure with a wand!).
But experience has shown us that a large proportion of Facebook users do not know how to manage their privacy settings properly and very few users keep abreast of the ever-changing landscape of Facebook in order to know when they need to change settings or adapt to the site’s new configurations. This seems an issue of genuine concern.
I would also throw my own additional reservation that this may well be just another social networking site which will take time to utilise and seems, at least at the moment, to offer little worthwhile return. And really, there is only so much time I have for social networking…
The Google + experience has shown that even the most talked about social media developments can prove to be disappointing. The rewards derived from an individual user’s social networking tends to be directly related to the amount they engage themselves. This means time and effort. And such engagement is only worthwhile – particularly for professional connections – if there is a vibrant and active community of users. In other words, BranchOut could work, but only if people use it, and even then it is no guarantee that I am going to land a job from it.
But despite all this, I do in fact see a number of reasons that would recommend the use of the application, including:
1. Due to the very size of Facebook, BranchOut can tap into a much larger catchment pool. Facebook’s active user numbers dwarf those for Linkedin (as of the end of March 2012, Facebook claimed more than 900 million active users compared to 161 million for Linkedin) and this level of market penetration is a definite advantage.
2. It connects you with your Facebook friends and their friends in a different way. BranchOut focuses on the professional details of connections and highlights this information in a way that most people would be unlikely to do on their own. It gives an existing network an entirely new complexion and utility.
Taking all this into account, however, I am still not sure. I have signed up, but I haven’t yet changed my profile pic (bad) nor have I really explored the possibilities offered by the application. And I expect I am not alone in thinking that now that I have signed up I will simply bide my time until I hear that it is worthwhile to go back and engage more.
And I am still yet to be convinced that its use will connect me with a job. But then to be fair, I am not yet convinced that Linkedin will either.
Marjorie Solomon is the founder and editor of Talking Comms Jobs. She has 15 years communications experience and is probably still a job seeker.
If you are interested in finding government communications jobs in NSW, you need to target the right agencies. Here’s a good place to start…
Everything the public service does is governed by strict protocols and guidelines, including the way that it recruits for government communications jobs. For comms jobs seekers interested in finding a public service position one of the best places to start is to register with one of the authorised recruitment agencies used by the NSW government HR people for comms jobs.
Government communications jobs – like many public service positions – are sought after. They are well paid, the working environments are generally comfortable, they have reasonable job security and offer a real work life balance. People want to work in government, so targeting the right agencis can be a good way to get your head start in finding your next government communications job before the competition gets it first.
For government communications job in New South Wales, the list of relevant recruitment agencies is short. The following companies are preferred recruitment agencies for the NSW Government dealing with recruitment of areas of expertise which (roughly) incorporate communications:
As is often the case with recruitment companies, none of these agencies specifically list communications or public relations categories. But they do have loosely relevant fields and they are certainly the agencies that NSW government recruiters use, particularly for short-term contracts which are not advertised on the larger job boards like Seek or Mycareer.
It is worth sending through your CV to each of these agencies (and follow up with them if you don’t hear back from them) and checking their websites regularly for listings.
Like with all recruitment companies it is not just about whether they have the right jobs on their books, it is also about whether you are on their radar. Recruiters sell job placements. They are dependent on successful placements and on turnover. As a result, they are busy filling one position while working on getting the next one in place. And they deal in volume. So, if you are not on their radar then it won’t make a difference that you may be the perfect person for the job.
Marjorie Solomon is the founder and editor of Talking Comms Jobs. She has 15 years communications experience and is probably still a job seeker.
Your CV can take on a whole extra dimension – and can make things easier and more impressive for recruiters – if you add hyperlinks to show examples of your work experience…
Back in 2009 I volunteered to help promote a Twestival in Jerusalem, where I was living at the time. Due to the social-media-cutting-edge-communications nature of the event it was agreed that we would use all the latest promotional innovations, which at the time included a social media release.
Now, at first I was intimidated by this concept, but for the purposes of promoting the event, it turned out to be little more than a media release with hyperlinks, including links to the Twitter ID of all the volunteers, sponsors and other notables, as well as a few other relevant social media links. (Social media releases often also contain embedded videos or such like, but we didn’t have any of that sort of material to hand.)
This work got me thinking that my CV should really be more interactive, and so, over-time, I have worked to ensure that it is more like an eCV than a straight forward paper version.
This conclusion has since been reinforced by discussions with recruiters and from reading CV and application requirements for more online-focused jobs.
As one recruiter explained recently, if you make a claim about something on your CV, you need to be able to back it up with examples via links from the page. These links could mean the difference between you making it to interview stage or not.
So how do we go about making our CV into an eCV?
It is simple enough and you have probably already worked it out (if you don’t already have it in place). But in case you need a little bit of guidance…
- Insert hyperlinks for all the companies where you have worked (going back to real basics, this means that in MS Word, you highlight the area you want to create a link for, click on ‘Insert’ and then ‘Hyperlink” and then add the URL for the company)
- Link as many projects/achievements etc to online examples as you can. For example, if you have media releases, publications or websites, link them in to where you have listed them.
- Make sure all your social media IDs are included with hyperlinks.
This is an ongoing process. Only a couple of days ago I visited my CV to update the hyperlinks and make sure everything that could be linked was linked. I am already thinking of a few more things I need to go back to update.
Hope this helps!
Marjorie Solomon is the founder and editor of Talking Comms Jobs. She has 15 years communications experience and is probably still a job seeker.
I was recently pleased to discover an email in my inbox from a recruiter who had found me online and wanted to chat about a vacancy he was looking to fill. It is always nice to be head-hunted (conceptually speaking, of course), but I was also excited because I was under the impression that the contact had been made as a result of my new Linkedin summary, the subject of a previous TCJ post.
But no, I was all wrong: my recruiter had not found me via Linkedin, but via the similarly-named, Australian recruitment site, LinkMe. To be completely frank, I had no idea what he, the recruiter, was talking about at first so just kept assuming he was talking about Linkedin until he eventually took a moment to spell it out for me (…the ignominy of belated comprehension!).
Anyway, it turns out that I had registered with LinkMe some months before when I had first decided it was time to look for a job and had done so (if I remember correctly) with a vague idea that the site was somehow connected to Linkedin. I forgot about it until the recruiter’s email arrived in my inbox and all was, eventually, revealed.
Now, the recruiter and I met, had a great interview and both walked away feeling that the job was not for me and I was not for it – which happens. However, there were a number of other interesting things that came out of that meeting, some of which I may write about soon, but most relevant to this post is the fact that this recruiter actively uses LinkMe as a way of finding candidates.
He cited a number reasons for this approach including:
- The higher quality of applicants on LinkMe, in particular that they tend to be more tech and social media savvy.
- The shorter timeframes for filling vacancies.
- Avoiding the deluge of irrelevant applications that comes with advertising on one of the big job listing sites like Seek or MyCareer.
The last point is a recurring theme that I hope to discuss more at length soon, but the basic principle seems to be that serious, smart recruiters tend to avoid Seek, MyCareer and their like and try to hone in on quality candidates – and avoid the white noise – via:
So, my advice for today would be, for those who have not already done so, take a moment (it should take no more than half an hour) to register and fill in your profile on LinkMe. And who knows, maybe you too will get one of those emails in your inbox – perhaps even one where you suit the job and the job suits you…
For me, the experience of browsing for jobs both online and in print (although I rarely do the latter now) is perhaps more laborious these days, even though there are certainly more options. Trawling through all the online jobs sites is time consuming and usually leaves me feeling as though the return on time invested is disturbingly low (that’s why a one-stop-shop like Talking Comms Jobs can be so helpful!).
Signing up to email lists for jobs notifications can be useful, but my experience of this is that the email filters can be somewhat inflexible and often the same jobs – or jobs from the same recruitment agencies – appear over and over again.
Linkedin offers a number of ways to get you appearing on radars without setting off alarms back at base-camp (and on your boss’ laptop).
1. Have Linkedin a profile. It’s an important start – it is a professional networking site after all.
2. Join and participate in relevant groups (even better, run one) which could catch the eye of potential recruiters and head-hunters.
3. Get your personality out there by having a profile summary with character (it shouldn’t be a comedy skit, but don’t frighten people off due to excessive boredom).
4. Connect to people – try to avoid being a mindless contacts-junkie but be aware that networking online can be extremely useful.
I use Facebook more for personal than professional interactions and the professional activity I do is largely channeled through FB pages, but many people use their Facebook profile (or profiles) as their primary social media interface. Here are my thoughts:
1. Maybe I am paranoid, but I believe in the importance of demarcating between public and private out there in the great big wide world. Check your Facebook privacy settings to make sure that information that you may not want everyone to know – like that you are looking for a new job – is not being shared with the wrong people (i.e. your boss).
2. Get involved in groups that interest you professionally and connect with people.
3. Actually attend the events you are invited to if you think they are good networking opportunities. Or maybe they even look like fun.
I think the boundaries between corporate identities on Twitter and the individuals who work (and tweet) for them are a little confusing sometimes – as in the case of the guy who was sued by his former employer over ownership of his Twitter followers. In fact, I am still not entirely sure how a person can really project a complete identity in between tweets about their employer and the products/services/concepts they are promoting. Having said that, the following can help:
1. Join conversations that are of interest to you personally and professionally – without getting too distracted and going off message with your corporate tweet focus. Not all tweeting should be consumer/business focused – it’s boring and not how it’s meant to be done.
2. Have conversations with people whose attention you would like to grab. Naturally, employ all the appropriate social skills so that you don’t look like a cyber lunatic.
3. Get your personality into your tweets. You are a person, not just a loud-speaker, so give people a bit of an insight into whose behind your 140 characters or less.
But don’t forget there is life beyond the internet!
I know, I forget this sometimes too. But occasionally the old fashioned methods are the best. Network and meet people face-to-face. Go to conferences and professional events, but also be an interesting professional in social environments. And don’t forget:
1. Always carry business cards.
2. Ask questions and be engaging. Oh, and be nice.
3. Make arrangements to contact someone later if a lead comes up in a social setting rather than hammering the point home on the spot and ruining everyone’s time.
I will sign off here before I get too preachy. But in many ways the game has not changed so much. Being awake and involved in the world and on the look-out for new and exciting possibilities is no more or less relevant now than it was before the internet.