by: Alex Reichenbach
PR practitioners have always been expected to have impressive writing and communication skills to show on their résumés. Although these skills are important, they are only the beginning of what is expected of PR practitioners during these technologically savvy days.
Recent changes in the World Wide Web have forced a new professional standard — healthy online presence. For some of you, the first thing that comes to mind is social media. While social media has become an essential component in creating online presence, it is a very small part.
There are certain criteria PR practitioners should follow that go beyond the simplicity of creating a Facebook or Twitter page. Following these steps will ultimately change you from the average PR practitioner to a professional who has mastered the new standards of public relations.
LinkedIn: Claiming Your Professional Name
LinkedIn can be considered the professional spin off from Facebook. Instead of using this social media outlet to converse with friends and family, LinkedIn is used to establish connections with thousands of companies and to find potential clients or jobs.
In the article, “The Anti-Social Enterprise” by Gary Steele, CEO of Proofpoint, provider of cloud-based security software, the rising popularity of LinkedIn is proven through statistics:
Sixty-nine percent of Fortune 100 companies have company profiles on LinkedIn, compared to 54 percent with Facebook fan pages and 65 percent with Twitter accounts.
Many believe Twitter serves as a great way to become familiar with various PR practitioners, but this statistic shows that the rise of LinkedIn may make it more essential in the professional world. Although Twitter is still used, LinkedIn gives PR practitioners more opportunities than simply following other professionals; it establishes your professional status through a detailed explanation of your experiences, as well as a brief professional summary about yourself.
Taking advantage of this professional database as a PR practitioner is a vital part of becoming involved in the online “networking” that is ultimately finding thousands of people jobs.
Electronic Résumé: Show Off
A few years ago, simply having a written résumé was enough to qualify for a job. With the recent boom of technology, however, the résumé qualifications have changed. PR practitioners need to upload their résumés online to allow easy access to their credentials. This may seem like a fairly minor task, but the results are huge.
According to the article “The Top Ten Things You Need To Know About E-resumes and Posting Your Resume Online,” 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies post jobs on their websites and expect potential employees to respond electronically. This statistic alone reveals the benefits that come from this simple download.
Your résumé is your chance to show off your skills and qualifications. What better way to do this than having it online for thousands of professionals to see? This simple uploading process can be done through a résumé builder such as Résumé Improved or through a process offered at job sites like Monster.
Blogging: Voice Your Opinion
There are a variety of ways PR practitioners can become involved in the blogging aspect of personal online presence. The most effective way is for PR practitioners to express their own opinions through their personal blogs.
Peter Shankman, social media entrepreneur, has utilized this form of communication to effectively voice his opinion on a wide range of issues. PR practitioners worldwide refer to his blog, “P.S. Peter Shankman” to keep up with the current trends in public relations.
If the idea of creating a personal blog does not seem appealing, your online presence can improve simply by following and commenting on other PR practitioners’ blogs. Blogs were created to establish an informal two-way conversation between individuals. Therefore, anyone can publish a comment on a blog at any time they choose, according to the article, “Website Traffic Series Part 3: Leaving Comments on Other Blogs.”
PR practitioners need to take advantage of this free publishing to voice their opinions on current public relations issues. This is what sets blogging apart from the other criteria for online presence. Unlike LinkedIn and online résumés where professional status is key, blogging is a PR practitioner’s chance to express how they feel.
Wrap up: Establishing Your Official Online Title
PR practitioners who have successfully completed the above criteria have achieved the new standard of online presence. But there is one last step for those who wish to go above and beyond to set themselves apart from others – create an online portfolio.
Take all that you have accomplished and turn it into an online personal showcase that includes previous work collateral, blogs and professional experience.
By creating this portfolio alongside your LinkedIn profile and personal blog, you are showing the world that you are ahead in the PR field, and that you can make a difference.