Social Media Intelligence: Why Your Boss is Reading Your Blog

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I was reading my scriptures when I decided to check my phone (an every 5 minute habit I’m trying to kick. These days, I have to turn my phone off for a moment of peace). As I did so, checked my phone, I saw a post that struck my attention. Colleen, as she always does, posted a link to another great author resource and I could not wait to get the juicy details of why Authors should watch out for this one dangerous trait from literary agents. As I scanned the article, nodding my head and wondering how long it will take my pizza to finish baking and how the beef sausage I sliced on top is going to be the bomb, I was struck by the following statement:

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“In and beyond the writing and publishing industry, the way someone uses social media is often a window into that person’s work attitude and style, and a signpost as to how a potential working relationship will evolve.” – Aine Greaney

I stopped thinking of pizza and thought, “Wow, that is so true!”

This got me to thinking about blogs and Facebook and Twitter. I started to think about how we tend to use them all so loosely. I also started to think about businesses or upcoming businesses. As an author, I thought of course of authors and how being a published author is likened to a business in many ways. Furthermore, this got me to thinking more deeply about the social media world in general.

We all like our personal space and the freedom to post what we want on our blogs. For personal blogs, that’s great. Some people are here to write publicly on a personal level. On the other hand, there are those who are blogging to strengthen their writing or to promote their written / published work. For these individuals, its important to keep in mind that your boss is more than likely reading your blog.

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The Boss. Who is he? This doesn’t have to be your actual boss but it is someone out there with the potential to take you to that next level. Facebook and Twitter may seem like harmless entities but the fact that professionals are trolling through pages and timelines is no conspiracy theory. For those of us online for fun, have at it. But for those of you seeking to become authors or to use your blogs for anything slightly professional, you may want to consider that the blog posts that go viral are usually the ones we least expect to do so. Personality is key of course. It is always good to let your personality shine through and to let us all know that you’re a real breathing person with passions and concerns and joys just like the rest of us. That personal touch brings people together and builds a bridge of commonality that helps us to get to know one another better, which in turn works well with building professional relationships.

And now we’ve come all the way back around. How you present yourself online should be a representation of who you are, but it should the best part of who you are. Cursing people out on Facebook and engaging in arguments and being nasty to people may be fun now but one day you will grow up. And when that happens you’ll want to explore new things and maybe you’ll even want to put some of those talents to good use. The problem is that the past image of you is still saved in social media files and although you have industry knowledge, Mrs. Smith, your future boss, just can’t get over how vulgar your language is. Mrs. Smith can’t see someone fitting into her communications department who can’t control something as close to them as their own tongues.

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I’ve actually experienced this myself. A long time friend of mine (who I am not in communication with but who I have known a while) was launching a new business and sought out support. For the sake of identity I’ll just call this person a she. She promoted across all of her social media accounts and the business itself looked really promising and got some good reviews. As for my friend, having known her for about nine years now, I know her to be very intelligent and knowledgeable about that particular field. In fact, I always knew she would be a business person some day. However, as I scrolled through her Twitter timeline, the one with the beautiful website layout and crowdfunding campaign and call to action, the more I scrolled the worse it got. Eventually, I had gone back a couple years and there was everything there from the use of profanity to sexual language. If I was a professional looking to hire someone with her skill set for my company, I would have been instantly turned off. Even as myself I was turned off. It was as if none of the prior things I saw attractive mattered anymore. My advice to my friend is to create a business account specifically for the business itself without linking it to her private account. Sadly, I’m not sure if that will even work this far in the game. The lesson is a brutal one.

In the end, we all enjoy what we do and I don’t want to leave without stating this fact. Whenever I talk professionalism I get feedback that suggest that in the end blogging should be fun. Of course it should be, but I wouldn’t take it lightly. Nothing on the internet can be. Employers and agents search social media accounts, such as blogs and Facebook, because social media is the largest data collection service to date for collecting and gathering intelligence and people tend to be themselves on these platforms more than they actually are in person. Social Media therefore becomes a valuable platform for employers to seek out potential clients in their natural state.

It’s not about being phony and fake, its about being mindful of your behavior. It’s OK to be yourself on social media. In fact, I would hope that you are yourself. Showcase pictures of your family, display the music you like, or speak about something that is passionate to you. However, keep in mind that thousands of people are potentially reading your blogs everyday and one of them, just one of them, may turn out to be your boss.

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Resume Writing

This post was prompted by a friend who contacted me because she needed help writing a resume. Before I started fiction writing full time, which I am really only able to do financially because of my husband’s financial support and our collective investment, I was an administrative specialist at a community center. One of my primary duties included helping people to write resumes, complete job applications, mock interviews, and basically the overall job search campaign which included sometimes adult tutoring, especially in the area of computers.

The increase in technology has changed the way that we view everything. From book publishing, printing, and even resume writing. Thing is, you don’t have to do so much writing anymore. What happens now is that your resume will go through a screening process by a computer, which looks up Keywords as it relates to that particular market. If your resume “passes”, that is to say those keywords were found, it will move on to the recruiters’ desk. If your resume “fails” however, it will not even be seen by the employer. Sounds unfair I know but that’s the world we live in.

To make matters easy, you really only need a few sections and minimal writing skills to build a presentable resume:

• Objective OR Professional Profile
• Career History
• Educational Background
• Skills

You can add references as well but that’s even becoming extinct in the area of most importance on a resume (most places want your references during the interview or post resume process). What’s the most important bullet point here? It’s not your educational background, not even your employment history. These days, employers want to hire people they can train and mold into their ideal company representative so there’s a lot of people being rejected because of being “overqualified”. That’s because employers are not really looking for the most intelligent anymore. They are looking for someone who knows how to follow basic instructions and who will not challenge the company’s authority more so than how many degrees someone has. Even when it comes to experience, someone with these basic skills can be hired in a larger capacity than someone with years of job experience in that area. The most important section of your resume today is the “Skills” section.

Depending on what kind of job you’re looking for, make a list of your skills as it relates to that particular position. Write it on a spare piece of paper or whatever but just write down as many as you can. Go to your resume and under “Skills” list them all. Here’s an example of someone applying to a job in the area of Social Media Specialist:

• Strategic Planning
• Business Development
• Brand Identity
• Twitter Management
• Digital Asset Management
• Media Planning /Buying
• Facebook Advertising
• Market Research
• Technology Implementation
• Project Management
• Blogging /Blog Commenting

You may notice I included terms like “Blogging”, “Facebook Advertising”, and “Twitter Management”. This may not seem important but it is, leave nothing out. Any skill you have can be listed here. Sometimes people are looking for employment without really having had a job before and they think they have no skills. You’re alive and breathing aren’t you? Then you have skills! Everyone has something they can do or that they are good at. I don’t care if it’s babysitting, that’s something you can write down. It’s all about understanding the language. Turn “I watch my sister’s children” into keywords like:

• Child Care Development                    < you are responsible for their well-being
• Cooking / Meal Preparation               < you cook for the children
• Creative Initiative                               < you have to find something for them to do
• Cleaning / Antiseptic Management   < you clean up after the children

This will ensure your resume gets through the computer screening process. Now all you really have to do is polish up the other parts of the resume. It is also important, in my opinion, to have more than one resume for the different jobs to which you are applying. This is because a resume for Lead Cook at a restaurant will not look the same, or have the same keywords, as a resume for a school teacher. It is also important to update your resume at least yearly. If you change jobs often, every six months.

Remember, the resume is not designed to get you the job which is a truth I think many of us lose sight of. If you aren’t hired it’s not because your resume was bad, it’s because of other key factors that play a role. Your resume’s job is not to get you the job, its job is to get your foot in the door and by foot in the door I mean: past the screening, into the recruiters’ hands and your butt in the Interview chair.

Note: Oh, and if you can, try to limit your resume to one page. It looks more professional. Here’s a sample:

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