erinism: #socialmedia and other explorations


I suck.

Posted in jobs,Uncategorized by Erin on December 16, 2009
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Ok, ok. I know I said I would dedicate more time here and bring ideas to a reality, and so far I haven’t delivered.

But I do have some news.

Last week I started a new job…A new job which I love.

I have a new post ready to publish–ok, so about 90% ready to publish–I have just been busy adjusting to the new job and haven’t had time to even open my Macbook at home. Yes, it’s feeling lonely and shunned.

New post soon, my friends.

Lessons Learned From the Unemployed

Posted in jobs,Uncategorized by Erin on November 24, 2009
Tags: , , ,

It has plagued growing number of Americans. It may seem like the end of the world to some. Some may feel embarrassed, like a failure. No, I’m not talking about the latest STI. I’m talking about unemployment (dun, dun, dun!). For whatever reason (for most of us, it’s the economy) 15.7 million have found ourselves in this situation. I’m one of them. For those of you out there who are still gainfully employed, first of all: congrats! Secondly, I am turning my envy into motivation and writing this blog post. Ah, yes: wisdom from some chump who doesn’t have a job. But, I beg you, hear me out. What I’m saying does have some traction. I give you: Lessons Learned From the Unemployed.

Continue to assume normal business hours

One of the first mistakes I made during my unemployment was staying up late and sleeping until mid-morning. Sure, I would get the recommended eight hours of sleep a night, but at what cost? It was hard to get my motivation up and my butt moving when I did finally wake up. I’ve learned the hard way that by keeping at least similar hours to those I would have if I were employed, I might lose a few precious moments of sleep, but I gain so much more in productivity. It’ll also make the transition into employment that much easier.

Set personal deadlines

If you’re anything like me, you thrive in a fast-paced, deadline-driven atmosphere. There’s nothing like being under the pressure of the clock. Well, in unemployment, the one luxury you’ve got is time. At first, I had all of these plans, lists of things I yearned to accomplish during my permanent vacation. However, I wasn’t actually translating that to results. Once I started keeping a calendar and to-do lists with actual due dates, that all changed.

Assess your personal motivation, optimism, and yes, balls

Being unemployed will test you. Period. It’s not easy to have to force yourself out of bed everyday full of motivation and determination in the job search (especially in this economy). You’ve got to put yourself out there and really make yourself stand out from the other hundreds of applicants wanting your job. Looking good on paper is no longer enough to climb the latter that is your career. You’ve got to stay positive. While you might not land every job you feel confidently about, negativity begets negativity. And no one likes a Debbie Downer.

Market yourself

This is especially important for those of us in the PR/marketing/advertising industries. It’s one thing to have the skills to promote a Fortune 500 company, but can you translate that expertise to marketing your party-of-one? It can be at times thankless (there will be no “You’re doing a great job! Thank you so much!” emails from your client), but in the long run, you’ll only have yourself to thank when you land your next job.

Expand your horizons

People with full-time jobs can sometimes get stuck in the same old routine (but hey—they’re busy). Now that you have a little—ok, a lot—more time on your hands, take the opportunity and do some things you ordinarily would not get to do. Even if you’re on a strict budget, there are plenty of free things to do (especially in New York City). Check out free museum nights, free concerts in Central Park, hell, even volunteer (walking dogs is my new weekly hobby). Who knows, you might even find a new passion or meet someone with knowledge about a job.

Question your standards

Sure, we all might think our poo doesn’t stink. That we could walk on water if we really tried. I hate to break it to you, folks, but the competition is pretty stiff out there. Even if you’ve taken a year of your life to teach English to children in Africa, there’s someone who’s done it for two years. You might think you deserve the corner office with a view, but don’t be afraid to take a position that is slightly less than your dream job.

Get by on less (Or, as I like to call it: Ballin’ on a budget)

As New Yorkers, we sometimes get a little spoiled, especially in the food & beverage and shopping domains. If you’re used to ordering take out or eating out every night, I’m sorry to break this to you, but that thing in your kitchen is not just a place to store your sweaters in the summer. It’s called an oven—use it. It’ll most likely be good for your waistband, too (and, no, I am not calling you fat). By the way, I know you’re used to $50 bottles of wine…but that $10 bottle will not kill you. (This post wouldn’t have been written without a $7 bottle, in fact.) And, I promise, it won’t kill you to withdraw from your weekly SoHo shopping trips either.

Test your personal relationships

The thing about losing your job is, it doesn’t just affect you. If it goes on long enough, it will probably have adverse effects on those around you as well. This is another thing I’ve had to learn the very hard way. The stress and constant anxiety of the job search caused me to alienate my family. They would keep on asking me if I’d found a job yet and offer their unsolicited advice; I, of course, took this as them nagging me negatively, but in reality, they were just showing they care. It also has tested my relationship with my significant other. Our lifestyle together changed drastically with the loss of the second income; instead of nights out wining and dining in lower Manhattan, we now have movie nights at home with Cup Noodles. It might not sound glamorous, but I really think it’s brought us closer together. There’s nothing like the threat of alone time in the silence of your own apartment that will test your love.

Make time for self-reflection

I use the term “make” here tongue-in-cheek. You won’t have to make time. There will be plenty of it. And a lot of it will be spent looking back at what you’ve accomplished, what you could have done better, and what you wish you had done. A lot. Self-reflection, I think, has saved me a few trips to the shrink. It helps keep even the most jaded New Yorkers sane.

Network

This goes without saying and should be done even if you do have a job, but for the unemployed, it is that much more important. Network online, IRL (in-real-life for those not savvy in internet lingo), at the grocery store, and when volunteering. Your networking switch should never be off. I’ve made so many contacts and, yes, even friends, that may seem by chance, but in reality it was through networking and not being afraid to put myself out there.

Credit: bloggersbase.com

Take it from me, being unemployed is tough. It sucks. While I am not one who is satisfied with sitting at home all day—I have that urge, that need, that itch to work—it makes me sleep a little better at night knowing I can at least carry these lessons learned with me in the future and to my next office (or cubicle).

A Guide: Finding a Job on Twitter

Posted in jobs,social media by Erin on October 7, 2009
Tags: , , ,

You’re in your mid-twenties and out of work. Instead of hitting the classifieds or even traditional job search websites, do as the Gen Y-ers do: use social media to your advantage.

When the rate of unemployment is 9.8 percent, it can be frustrating trying to find a job and having all your leads escort you to a dead end. However, in today’s real-time world of immediate updates and instant gratification, it’s easy to use social media to do anything, even find a job.

Here are my five steps to finding a job via Twitter.

1. Personal Branding

Everyone knows Kashi is all about tasty, natural foods and Vogue is the face of luxury. But who are you? What do you represent? If you’re a PR pro, tweet about things happening in the PR, marketing, and journalism industries, providing links to case studies and news articles. In the healthcare industry? Tweet about the insurance debate and the H1N1 virus.

2. TweetBeep Alerts

Much like Google Alerts, TweetBeep allows you to set up personalized keywords so you don’t have to constantly search Twitter. It scours all Twitter updates for tweets containing your keyword(s). Need an example? I set up an alert for the keywords “pr” and “hiring”—and I receive several emails per day listing tweets with links bringing me directly to appropriate job listings. (Of course, if you only want, say, one email per day, you can change your settings accordingly.)

3. Relationship Building

One of my absolute favorite things about Twitter is the daily interaction. It’s important to not just simply post links—you need to interact with your followers! Retweet their links, comment on their blogs, and, heck, @mention them to see how their workday is going. Doing so builds rapport and relationships organically. That said, don’t go overboard. If they’ve never mentioned their son or daughter to you, or their favored birth control methods to you, doing so will not only get you unfollowed, but also a possible restraining order.

4. Attending Tweetups

It’s one thing to maintain a relationship on Twitter or through email, but converting that affinity to real life is key. It will make your online relationship that much stronger. Tweetups are also great networking opportunities with people you don’t already know. Recently, I attended #SMPR (a group of NYC PR and social media pros) and made a few imperative contacts. One of those contacts referred me to her firm’s human resources department, and the next day I had a call for an interview.

5. In Real Life Translation

I already touched on this in regards to attending Tweetups, but it’s an important point to keep in mind. No matter how great you may seem on Twitter (or on paper), if you can’t demonstrate that same personal brand you worked so hard to create during an in-person interview, it’ll do you no good. If you’re transparent behind the screen (be yourself!), you should have no problem matching that brand in real life. (Please note: this does not mean oversharing on Twitter—we do NOT need to know about your most recent bowel movements or your relationship problems. Save that for Facebook.)

Following these five steps will not guarantee you to land your unrealistic dream job, but it should make the hunt for your next position a little less painful.

What do you think? Any others you would add?