Taking the leap of faith and joining Dare..

So there you go, I’ve said what I wanted to say for a reasonably long time now, I’m joining Dare. For anyone that knows me, a secret like that is hard to keep. As the ever wise Tom Fishburne shows above, we don’t always know entirely what we’re letting ourselves in for but isn’t that exciting. There’s obviously the fear of the unknown, the change of surroundings and the new people, but leaps of faith have to be taken to move forward, to better myself, to keep me on my toes and to take myself out of my comfort zone. I’ve had a fantastic time with my boss @pbizzle, so this was a tough decision but nonetheless the decision has been made.

Tom describes the image like so:

Most careers are not rung-by-rung linear paths. Instead, they involve a series of flying leaps, not knowing whether those leaps will take you up, down, or sideways. Or if you’ll miss the trapeze altogether. Or if there’s even a net.
It takes courage to take each leap. And patience when you’re not headed the direction you’d like.It takes courage to take each leap.
Thinking about your career in purely a linear way focuses you on all the wrong things and blinds you to the actual experiences along the way. Worst of all, it can make you risk-adverse.

It’s much easier to stand still and be happy where you are and doing what you’re doing. Hey, I am happy where I am and doing what I’m doing. But i’ve always wanted to be constantly developing, being adaptable, taking risks, moving onwards and upwards and making my own destiny. And I guess you only do that by taking leaps of faith.

Risks sometimes don’t pay off. That’s why they are risks.

‘To expose to a chance of loss or damage; hazard’

Here’s one example: The first ‘proper’ job out of Uni that I took didn’t work out. I naively accepted it while I was still at Uni thinking I was clever not to have to worry about months of job hunting. In hindsight I didn’t give myself the time to appraise whether it was the right thing to do. I had a week time difference from finishing Uni to starting work. Within months of starting I was desperately unhappy and found myself questioning what it was I wanted to do, where I wanted to go and how I was going to get there. I’d studied a Marketing degree for 4 years at University which lent itself to the job I was in, within the Marketing team of a large retailer, where I was told that jobs didn’t exist to do with social media. I disagreed. When 4 months later I had quit, I wondered if what I’d studied for my degree was completely useless. Of course it wasn’t but at the time I thought differently.

Licking my wounds I moved to London without a job, just before the economy imploded.  Everyone asked me what I was smoking. My parents said I needed to stick at it. But I knew it wasn’t right. It didn’t *feel* right. So I trusted my instinct and took a risk. To thrust myself in to uncertainty in the country’s capital. Even though the job didn’t work out, the life lessons it taught me were invaluable and accelerated my thought processes to get me to where I am now, I firmly believe that.

After a short and highly enjoyable stint at Splendid, working with some inspirational people, I joined the fold at Consolidated PR where I’ve been involved with some brilliant projects, which Paul mentions here in the inaugural company blog post over at Thatsgreatand.com

I’ll paraphrase the post:

In the last twelve months we’ve set up our digital and social media stall here in the Covent Garden office, commenced an agency-wide social media education and training programme and started integrating social media activity into project and retained campaigns for clients in both London and Edinburgh.  In this short space of time we’ve delivered digital and social media work for a whole range of brands and organisations – MTV, several parts of the Scottish Government, The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, learndirect and Mishcon de Reya just to name a few.  On top of that we’ve got lots more exciting work on the boil with a number of other clients, and an appetite for more in 2010.

So as is evident, in a year we’ve made great progress.

However, I’ve always held a great curiosity and interest in adland. Paul gave me stick for having a subscription to Campaign magazine. But I always felt at some point I’d move in to it. Don’t ask me why, it was just one of those fate type things I felt would happen. Which leads me wonderfully to my next leap of faith. Dare, the digital agency of the decade.

I’m excited about the new challenge, settling in to the role of Social Media Planner and mixing it up with the web trendies.

Let’s hope it’s an upwards leap on the career trapeze. Wish me luck!

How to use Twitter to find your next job.

It was particularly apt that I came across this WSJ article entitled ‘Twitter yourself a job’ today of all days and also incidentally via Twitter. I came across it through Mitch Joel who was retweeting a message from Steve Rubel (phew, that was some mouthful!)

FYI – retweeting is the art of broadcasting a message on Twitter that has been written by someone else but you feel will be of interest and value to your followers.. think of it as a kind of mini chain mail but one that has a use and purpose and doesn’t tell you that you’re going to die if you don’t send this email to 20,000 people in the next 12 seconds.

So why is it apt? Why should I care? Here’s why.

I’m starting work as a Social Media Strategist for Consolidated PR as of tomorrow, Monday 5th January 2009. I was hired through Twitter. No recruitment agencies involved, no external costs, no bells, no whistles. Just me, @PBizzle and Twitter. Well, a mutual friend recommended me to @PBizzle who then sent me a message and it all went from there.

That’s a pretty big deal when you think about the costs of recruitment for one new hire for the average company who would typically be looking in to advertising the position online, advertising in specialised print publications and on top of that, getting a recruitment agency like Reed on the case also. It all costs and learnings can be taken from this. You can eliminate all of those costs in one fell swoop and be seen to be a very forward thinking company at the same time.

You’ve probably seen a fairly heavy emphasis towards Twitter related content recently and that’s because although it’s starting to garner mainstream attention, there’s a lot of people out there who don’t get it. I’m trying to help, to provoke thoughts, to provide a sounding board. I’d be very rich if I was given £1 for every person that’s asked me “Why Twitter?” I’m not saying I ‘get it’ but I’ve been using it fairly religiously for the past few months and it seems like I’m learning something new about the tool daily.

How I did it and how you can do it too.

Due to my limited experiences thus far in the Digital / Social Media / Online PR realm if you’re looking at this and not involved in the slightest with any of the above then it can still be applicable to any industry. Replace Edelman for example with a company of your choice in said industry. They however, may or may not have a presence on Twitter.

1. Sign up to Twitter.com, most have their name @joebloggs, a nickname @joeyb or the name of their blog for consistency @joesblog. Mine’s @litmanlive to tie in with the blog. Using your name is the easiest for people to remember I reckon but I always seem to do things the hard way..

2. Write a bio. I don’t follow people without a bio. It might sound rude but I’m selective with the people I follow. I don’t follow everyone that follows me. Similarly, I like to follow people who share the same interests, more often than not work in the same industry or have a website that I visit regularly. There has to be some common ground or why am I choosing to follow them?

3. Think about the people who inspire you in the industry you’re looking to go in to. A few, if not quite a few of them will be on Twitter, dependant on industry.

For example, some of the first industry people I followed were:

@wadds, @bmcmichael, @chris_reed, @simoncollister & @dirkthecow

Similarly, who do you want to work for? Same applies. Do they have a presence on Twitter?

4. You don’t have to have a blog, but it shows another side of your personality to a potential employer. Put a link to it in your bio. One of the biggest drivers of regular traffic to my blog is my Twitter profile. With a blog, employers can instantly see what interests you (what you write about) and often reveals a lot more than any CV can.

5. Be yourself. Be true. Be genuine. Don’t write about things you don’t know anything about or say you can do things you can’t. It will become evident sooner rather than later. If you talk about the things that interest you then an employer would hire you for being you. They call it being transparent.

6. Bring something to the table. Have an opinion. What do you think about topic X or topic Y?

7. Help people out. If they have a question and you can answer it, don’t hold back, go for it. They’ll thank you for it and it’s a great way to build relationships with like minded people.

8. If someone follows you, say hi, they won’t bite. I engaged in random conversation a few times with my soon to be manager. Completely unaware that a few months later he’d be hiring for a suitable position.

9. Get job alerts on Twitter. Examples, Add EdelmanHR and keep up to date with positions available within the company straight in to your Twitter stream. Journalism.co.uk will also deliver all sorts of jobs, from Entry Level to Editor and ranging from freelance to contract to permanent!

10. Finally, I don’t wish to try and put a square peg in to a round hole, I’ve been there myself. All this online micro blogging malarky is not for everyone. It takes time to get in to, for some, weeks, months or a year! If you think it’s for you then it’s definitely worth the investment.

Would you recommend Twitter as a resource for job finding like WSJ?

My original motivation for joining Twitter wasn’t to find a job through it, I was interested in a new way of communicating, a tool which is a round the clock way of getting answers to questions from all across the world. It’s always on and always useful!

As I was finishing up with this post here’s something you should also take note of when joining Twitter.

4 Mistakes to avoid when using Twitter.

Brilliant advice.. from a 10 year old, they start ’em young don’t they!

Here’s a few more links you should check out.

Using Twitter for finding a job

Living Under a Bridge – Job offer in 5 days

6 tips for Twitter job hunting

Job searching on Twitter