HAPPO, a.k.a. “Help a PR Pro Out,” is a group that was started on Twitter by Arik Hanson and Valerie Simon to assist students and PR/communications professionals of all levels find jobs, job leads, and develop connections to network and learn. I’ve been the Pittsburgh “champion” for some time, and have agreed to host the first-ever live event in Pittsburgh with my coworker Suzanne. There’s several other HAPPO events taking place at the same time in other cities as well. You can check out Arik’s blog for a list of them and more details on the history of HAPPO.
Remember when I wrote the post “Cringeworthy Antics of Some Job Seekers?” Well, I took that rant to an audience last night at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, where I serve as their PRSSA chapter’s professional advisor. Below, see my presentation I gave to the students on how NOT to get a job…and how social media can help them along the way. Also, check me out on the radio! Eat your heart out, Delicious Dish.
Here’s some of the worst things I see in e-mails:
Subject Line: “Resume”
…or even worse: “NO SUBJECT”
Opener: It’s a tie between “To Whom It May Concern” and those who spell my name wrong
Body: “I would love to work at your company. I have XYZ skills. Looking forward to hearing more about your company.”
…ughhh….what company is it you are talking about? There’s no mention of it anywhere.
The art of FOLLOWING UP
Sometimes, students will e-mail me looking for advice. I am ALWAYS happy to help and have made some great connections with them and they are always so appreciative. But one time, a student e-mailed me her resume asking for a position, which we did not have at the time. But I thought I’d give her a few tips for optimizing her resume and cover letter for when she sent it to other firms. I took a good 20 minutes listing out things to update and tips on leads, etc. etc. Then, no response. Two weeks later I remembered I never heard back, so I forwarded her the e-mail again asking if she received it. Crickets. I think it’s been almost a year now.
RANDOM TIP: When you interview for a position but don’t get it, don’t ignore the person. I e-mailed three intern candidates during one of my agency’s rounds of hiring to let them know that unfortunately, they did not get the position. Two of them I still haven’t heard from. Third girl e-mailed me and asks for ways she can improve for the future and why she did not get it. I politely gave her some advice and constructive criticism. Crickets. NOTHING. It’s called THANK YOU, people! It takes two seconds.
And finally, my personal favorite:
Girl on Twitter tweets to me and asks if I work in PR. Never heard from girl before and this is the first thing she says to me. I say yes. She tweets if we’re hiring for part time positions/internships. I say look on our website for more information. She e-mails me. I politely tell her we don’t have anything available but to keep in touch, yada yada. I hear nothing back. A week later I see an interesting internship opportunity she may be interested in and e-mailed her to see if she had seen it. This is her (edited) response:
“Yes I did, not sure if its paid though.
I did interviewed with them back in December for a summer internship.. The ceo of the company I interned with in my last job personally sent them my resume. They are the same type of company I worked for. I followed up numerous times and never heard back. Gave me a sour taste in my mouth since I have a lot of knowledge on their organization and thought it would be a perfect fit.”
Ummm….OK. A simple, “thanks so much” would have sufficed. And it was paid, thank you very much.
In honor of HAPPO (Help a PR Pro Out) Day #2, I am spotlighting two 2010 graduates who deserve a shout-out and are both graduating this semester looking for jobs in Pittsburgh. The Huffington Post just named the burgh as one of the best cities for the newly graduated, which is no surprise due to our bustling city of health care, tech, academia and green initiatives, to name a few. These ladies have impressed me on Twitter with their enthusiasm for PR, news, social media and interacting with other professionals and are deserving of landing a great gig after graduation. In no particular order:
Bethany Rae Cramer
I first discovered Bethany when she started following me on Twitter (or vise versa, I can’t remember) and her cute headband struck my attention in her avatar. 🙂
Seriously though, Bethany is a Senior Business Administration major at SUNY Geneseo with a passion for PR and social media and is using it to her advantage networking and making connections. You can find her official HAPPO post on the “Life Without Pants” blog. The fact that she’s on Life Without Pants is reason enough to hire this chick! You can find Bethany blogging here.
I met Sam via Twitter (how else do you meet people these days?) on the first HAPPO day as she was enthusiastic about participating and interacting with other students and professionals. You can read my first HAPPO post on Sam here and also check out her blog here. She is a Penn State (almost) graduate with an (almost) degree in PR and a minor in English. So clearly she knows AP Style. Sam is totally bummed about missing today’s event due to moving out of her apartment. I am going to help Sam like folks helped Katie Wall on the last HAPPO day and hope something great comes out of it.
For the rest of the class of 2010, read my past post on getting a job through Twitter here. Congratulations on your graduation and good luck! It’s not just about sending someone a resume or a tweet, GET TO KNOW PEOPLE. Make connections, get coffee, have informational interviews and know it will take time. It took me a year and a half to land my first PR gig after college and I haven’t looked back since.
Last night, I had the privilege to go back to my alma mater, Slippery Rock University, and give a presentation to a group of students in their “Intro to PR” class. I touched on how PR pros are using new social media tools to do their jobs, and how it’s reshaping the PR industry, particularly with media relations. The presentation is below.