Monthly Archives: February 2009

Laid off? Job looking shaky? Now what do you do? 5 Tips to Build Your Network Right Now.

If you are reading this, then I am very sorry for what you are going through. Allow yourself time to mourn being laid off and feeling bad. It is part of the process. Just know that it will get better.

I have been laid off twice in my thirtysomething life. It sucks, and no matter what anyone says, you take it personally. Here are some things that will help you build your network if you are laid off or think you might lose your job in the near future. (Everyone should already be building their network a little bit each day, even if you don’t need one right now.)

1) Create accounts (if you do not already have them) on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. Post your profile and mention in your status that you are on the job hunt and for what particular job/industry you are in. Your network is anyone and everyone that you know and making these connections can be valuable in many ways. Search for friends and previous coworkers on LinkedIn & FB, join relevant industry groups, ask and answer questions and get references on LinkedIn, follow industry leaders and people in your profession on Twitter and join in on the conversation.

2) List your resume on job boards – Monster, Careerbuilder, JobFox.com, Craigslist, etc.. Don’t just list what tasks you did at previous jobs. Think benefits. What skills can you offer an employer? Think if you were hiring someone, what qualities, experience and strengths would you look for? What do you want in your next job? Is it a good time to make a switch to another career or do you want to stay in the same role? Do some soul searching and talk to friends for advice.

3) Search indeed.com for jobs on multiple web sites. Create email alerts with it and other job search sites. Create Twitter and Google keyword alerts. Search blogs on Technorati about jobs in your industry.

4) Create a blog. Identify and follow/read the leaders in your industry. Read the local newspaper. Start reading and learning all that you can about your industry and write in your blog about it. Share your thoughts and expertise. Link to your profiles on Twitter/Facebook/Linkedin/JobFox listings. Read other blogs and comment on them and link back to your blog. WordPress offers free blogs.

5) Face time. Utilize the resources at the unemployment office, local churches and if your former employer offers job assistance/outreach. Go to local networking meetings and talk to people. Don’t just rely on the computer and internet. You need face to face time as well. Ask around for a local recruiter in your industry and make a connection. Check the newspaper for local networking meetings, find tweetups and check meetup.com for local groups of interest. Get a personalized business card at MOO to hand out while networking.

There are so many things you can do. Remember, most jobs are found through networking. Get connected and get going! Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

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Five Low-Cost Small Business PR Tips

Getting the word out about your latest company news whether it is a new product announcement or customer win is tough. If you don’t have a marketing or public relations department in-house, use a freelancer or outside agency, the task can be daunting. Where do you begin?

First, make sure what you are going to announce is newsworthy. Write your press release with all of the key components of who, what, when, where, how and why included in the first paragraph. This way if it is edited, all of your important news is included.

Once you have a release that is ready to go out, set up an account on Pitch Engine. It is free and you can create and distribute compelling social media press releases online. It even appears on Google News when it is posted.

What is a social media release? It is simply your press release with relevant links to graphics, video, web site links, etc. It offers a wealth of information for those interested in finding out more about your company.

You should also have a targeted media list of relevant contacts in your industry and for local, regional and business news, if relevant. Building your list is an ongoing project and if you don’t have a subscription to a database like Vocus or Bacon’s, you can still build it from going to media web sites and finding the journalist that covers your particular industry. Be sure to read a few articles to make sure they are the right person to contact.

Once you have this list, also send a short pitch with bullet points and a link to your Pitch Engine press release. Include your contact information as well and don’t include attachments. When writing your pitch, think from the perspective of the journalist and ideally, their readers – “What’s in it for me? Why should I care about this?” To learn more about pitching, check out the Good Pitch BlogBad Pitch Blog and see an example of a great pitch on Peter Shankman’s Help A Reporter web site.

You can also post your press release on a blog, include keywords as tags and then go to Technorati and claim your blog. This helps when people search your industry keywords. WordPress offers free blogs and a neat dashboard feature to track web traffic.

Set up a free Twitter account and find and follow people in your industry. Listen and engage in conversation – not to sell but to be part of the community. Offer expert advice and links to relevant industry news. LinkedIn also has a question and answer section where you can help people with relevant questions in your industry.

If you want to take it a step further and try to pitch journalists looking for story sources, subscribe to Help A Reporter (HARO) a free PR newsletter, and look for relevant queries. There are strict rules and if someone pitches off topic, you will be removed from the list.

And that is a great start into the world of public relations. Small steps. It is also a doorway into social media – the best way to learn it is to try it. One step at a time. You might like it!

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Peanut butter and Peanut-Containing Recall List

The peanut recall continues to grow and here is a great resource list tracking all of the products. It is amazing to see how many things contain peanuts. I have learned as my daughter has a peanut allergy so we try to steer clear of these items. But even pet food and other items can contain peanuts. 

Be careful. Jif is still safe! Sunbutter is also a great alternative.

http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/peanutbutterrecall/