For a PR professional or someone starting off in the PR industry, there are a few traits that one necessarily needs to project in order to stand out amongst other aspirants. These traits are – excellent communication skills (both written and verbal), credibility, a proactive approach, and most importantly, creativity. Today, is an age when social networking makes it close to impossible to stay anonymous or hide one’s ‘true’ self from a potential recruiter. Research by the social media monitoring server Reppler suggests that 91% of all recruiters use social media to screen their candidates at different stages of the hiring process. Even more alarming is the fact that 69% of all recruiters have rejected a candidate, based on the information available on their social profiles. Although the top most reason to be rejected is that the candidate lied about their qualification, the other big reasons are:
1. Posting inappropriate pictures or comments online
2. Casually mentioned alcohol abuse or drug use
3. Posted negative comments about previous employer
The simplest solution is to avoid doing any of the above, but on the other hand, here are some ways to make social media work FOR you and insure you score better than your fellow recruits:
a. Project your communication skills: Keep your interactions clean and free from grammatical errors. A good command over the language always reflects well and is immediately noticed. If you have a blog then use it as a writing portfolio and keep it well updated with regular posts on relevant topics. Always upload your public speaking or performance videos on YouTube and share them with the recruiter.
b. Be aware, Be credible: Be found talking about current and relevant things rather than killing time on a social network. Use Facebook judiciously and avoid careless status updates. Twitter is a great way to be in touch with journalists and other opinion leaders. Being active on Twitter portrays that you are interested in keeping yourself up to date with current affairs. It also builds a certain credibility that is very useful in this industry.
c. Be an initiator: Keep an eye on the latest and upcoming trends in the industry and be the early adopter of new internet technologies. This will help build an image of you being proactive. Are you using Pinterest yet? It’s a great tool to follow new trends within the PR industry and share information quickly and easily.
d. Be creative: Don’t just be a distributor of content, but be a content creator. Write reviews, opinions, share ideas and help solve problems. Be a member of user generated forums and communities and frequently post useful links and resources. The ability to solve complex problems is crucial for working in PR industry and is a highly favourable trait.
e. Recommendations help: If you are using LinkedIn or Branchout on Facebook then you must understand the importance of recommendations. Collect good recommendations from your earlier job profiles. It projects a good management capability and can vouch that you are a team player.
Written by Koustubh Bhattacharya for Image Management