Tag Archives: Google.

15 Questions to Ask in an Informational Interview

By: Lara Greenberg

What most college students don’t realize is the power of the informational interview. Informational interviews are not necessarily geared toward acquiring a particular position but they can be a beneficial learning experience, help students in picking a major, set career goals or gain experience when talking to executives. While it can be quite frightening to initiate an informational interview, you never know what results it can yield. In order to make these interviews a little less scary, be sure that you are prepared. Dress to impress, bring a hard copy of your resume and a notepad and bring a list of questions to guide the conversation. Pay careful attention to what is said by the person you interview with and ask questions if something isn’t clear. You will find that people are often happy to discuss their positions and willing to provide you with an abundance of information. Here are some prospective questions to ask during your informational interview:

  1. Why did this type of work interest you, and how did you get started?
  1. How did you get your job? What jobs and experiences have led you to your present position?
  1. What does a typical day look like for you?
  1. How does your company differ from its competitors?
  2. How has your job affected your lifestyle?
  1. What kinds of challenges do you encounter?
  2. What is the one thing you spend the most time on?
  1. How well did your college experience prepare you for this job?
  2. What are the typical entry-level job titles and functions? What entry-level jobs are best for learning as much as possible?
  1. Where do you think the field is headed?
  1. How do you think graduation from a private or public university is viewed when it comes to hiring?
  2. How important are grades/GPA for obtaining a job in this field?
  3. What are the major rewards aside from extrinsic rewards such as money, fringe benefits, travel, etc.?
  4. Is there anyone else you suggest I talk to knowing my interests and skills?
  1. Is there any last advice you can offer me?

Here are a few additional tips when organizing for an informational interview:

Manage Your Time

Usually, informational interviews are brief, so concentrate on what questions you want to get answered. You could even highlight or place a star next to any important questions so you can find them easily when time starts to dwindle.

Follow Up

After the interview, verbally thank the interviewee. A thank you note should be sent within 24 hours of meeting your new contact. Be sure to keep in touch from time to time.

Remember, be professional, be confident and be yourself. As always, I welcome any comments and if you like what you read, be social and share.

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Grammar Game

By: Gina Mason

Word traps…there are a lot of them out there and you would be surprised how often people fall victim to common grammar mistakes. (We are all guilty of it!) Whether it’s something as simple as the misuse of a homophone such as “their, they’re or there” or mixing up the definition of a word such as irreverent or irrelevant, it is important to make sure your grammar game is strong (especially, when writing a big email or working on a presentation). For some grammar snobs, the misuse of a pronoun or verb can send them through the grammatical glass roof and may cost you that big deal.

I recently read a great article in Forbes that had a useful breakdown of some of the most common grammar missteps in business. Here are some common words and some easy-to-remember tricks to ensure (see example 1) we stay on the right grammar track:

“Ensure vs. Insure

You insure a car or a house. Think: insurance.

You ensure the company will be a fit for you by doing your research.

Capitol vs. Capital

The Capitol is a building in Washington, DC. Do note its proper noun status.

Capital is money, as in a venture capital firm. It’s also what you’re referring to when you ask someone to stop emailing in ALL CAPS—and the spelling you’d want to use if asked to list all of the state capitals.

Perspective vs. Prospective

You have a unique perspective, or take, on events.

Prospective means potential, as in, the prospective candidates are impressive.

Gauge vs. Gouge

You’ll gauge your client’s reaction to the new slogan (i.e. take his or her temperature).

You’ll gouge out your eyes if you have to stare at your presentation slides much longer.

Moot vs. Mute vs. Moo

The point is moot—or, in other words, it doesn’t matter.

The TV is on mute.

And if you think the point is moo, you’ve watched too much Friends.

Prosperity vs. Posterity

Prosperity means wealth, so if you’re toasting to prosperity, you’re celebrating your fortune.

Posterity means future generations. You could toast to posterity as well, so long as you know you’re raising a glass to your descendants.

Principal vs. Principle

You went to the principal’s office when you misbehaved in school.

Principal can also mean main, as in principal investor.

And a principle is a tenet you believe in.

Tenet vs. Tenant

While we’re on the subject, a tenet is a rule.

A tenant is a renter.

Rein vs. Reign vs. Rain

You rein in your tendency to overreact, much like you use the reins to control a horse.

Meanwhile a monarch reigns over his or her empire, while rain falls from the sky.

Solidarity vs. Solitary

You show solidarity by joining or supporting a cause or social movement.

If you’re the solitary member on a project, you’re the only person working on it. (Note: Solitary often includes a connotation that means lonely or isolated.)

Weary vs. Wary vs. Leery vs. Leer

Weary means tired. It can also mean jaded, which is why some people confuse it with…

Wary, which means suspicious. You’d be wary of a candidate with terrible references.

Leery also means suspicious. You would be rightfully leery of a hiring manager who never showed up for your interview.

Finally, to leer is to stare in an inappropriate way.

Accept vs. Except

You accept an offer from your dream company.

You would go to the upcoming event, except you already have plans.

Broach vs. Brooch vs. Breach

You’ll broach the subject tomorrow, while wearing your grandmother’s lucky brooch.

Neither of which has anything to do with a breach of contract.

Fleshing vs. Flushing

You flesh out the findings by going into more detail.

You flush something down in the restroom.

Banal vs. Blasé

The topic is banal, a.k.a., boring.

He’s known for his blasé attitude—meaning he’s never flustered and seems generally unconcerned.

Skim vs. Scan

When you skim a document, you’re glancing at pretty quickly.

Scan can be used as a synonym for skim, but it also can mean reading something in detail (much like the oft-misused peruse). Scan can also be used in a medical context, e.g., a full-body scan.

Underserved vs. Undeserved

Underserved communities suffer from a lack of resources.

Undeserved means something was not merited, like an unwarranted dismissal.

Proceed vs. Precede

If someone says, “let’s proceed,” he means “let’s get started” or “let’s continue.”

Something that precedes something else, comes first (e.g., winter precedes spring, spring precedes summer).

Intents vs. Intense

Your intents are noble.

But your intense gaze is creeping the interviewer out.

Squash vs. Quash

You might eat squash after a game of squash in which you squashed your opponent like a bug. (What an eventful lunch break!)

On the other hand, you’d quash a merger that you’ve reconsidered and decided is a bad move.

Irreverent vs. Irrelevant

You might think irreverent just means colorful, but it often connotes something that is disrespectful, rude, even blasphemous.

While something that’s irrelevant doesn’t relate to the matter at hand.

Amused vs. Bemused

If you’re amused, you’re enjoying yourself, whereas…

If you’re bemused, you’re confused.

Farther vs. Further

Farther and further both measure distance. But farther is more often used for a distance you can actually measure. So, my favorite lunch spot is farther from the office than the sandwich spot up the block.

If you don’t want to go there, we don’t need to take this conversation any further.

Elicit vs. Illicit

If you’ve read this far, you deserve to know that elicit means provoke, as in elicit a response.

Illicit means illegal or forbidden—illicit activities have no place in the office (or, really, anywhere).”

I’m sure most of us have all fallen into these grammar traps and the best advice that I have for those who are unsure of the proper use of the word is USE GOOGLE! Google can pretty much tell us everything these days and if not, use two of my favorite grammar websites are Grammar Girl and Grammarly for quick and dirty grammar tips. I hope you found this post to be helpful and this will help us all step up our grammar game.

As always, if you like what you read be social and share.

I Wrote This Blog and You’ll Never Believe What Happens Next…

By: Dallas J. Short

Working in public relations, I’m a bit of word nerd and am constantly writing. There is a new version of Merriam-Webster’s unabridged dictionary and 1,700 words have been included, along with 3,200 new examples to add context. After this, all I can do is SMH at WTF and NSFW being added. The one that bothers me the most though is clickbait, not because I disagree with it being a word, but I disagree with even having clickbait (as what it is) exist.

Clickbait (noun): something (such as a headline) designed to make readers want to click on a hyperlink especially when the link leads to content of dubious value or interest.

There are two mains reasons.

The first, it’s lazy journalism, which is very unprofessional and should not even be labelled as journalism. If you can’t judge a book by its cover, you should definitely still be able to know what a story is about by its headline. Integrity is extremely important to me and has seemed to fall by the way side, as people are more focused on getting clicks so they can pad their traffic stats and get more money for advertisements. It’s lying and disrespectful. It might sound crazy, but when you actually create quality content for your audience, they will not only trust and respect you more, but your positive engagement will increase. While some people will always be bored and out to troll, the majority of comments on a “news” story should not be outrage because of the author’s misrepresentation of facts and details.

The second, the internet and the world in general are fast-moving and unfortunately there are some people who just read headlines and form their own stories, without taking the time out to read the whole thing, put it in context or do research. Ah yes, ignorance is bliss and we should be a more educated society, but putting nonsense out into the world is part of the problem, not the solution. These misleading titles can also cause people to be upset and spread hate, as well as misinformation. Writers understand that words are weapons and a quick Spiderman refresher “with great power comes great responsibility.” Readers deserve better.

Clickbait has become a bad game of follow the leader, it works/worked to increase the number of page clicks and so more and more people keep doing it. Online publications do rely on advertising money, so they do want more clicks and that is understandable. There are other ways to go about it and it comes down to knowing your audience and writing in ways that appeal to them. It could be through intelligence, wit, sarcasm, actual satire or other styles.

In PR, your reputation is everything. I like my news delivered to me clever and honest, how about you? As always, I welcome your comments and if you like what you read, please be social and share.

Let the Madness Begin!

By: Dallas J. Short

March Madness is upon us. If you have not filled out a bracket, time is running out, but be warned: the person who does not watch college sports will probably win. It just happens. If you do not have an interest in the NCAA Tournament, sorry, but it almost becomes unavoidable. There is still a good chance it is the big buzz around your office or by a lot of people you know, it is especially a huge deal on social media. Expect the hashtag #MarchMadness to be trending for the next 3 weeks.

While Facebook will definitely include predictions, outbursts, and reactions – people will be on Twitter and keeping with up the action in real time. According to the research Twitter has done with DB5, “75% of sports fans on Twitter use the platform to follow their favorite teams and athletes, and 61% follow their Twitter feed and/or Tweet while watching sports on TV. Nearly half (49%) say they feel as close to the action following games on Twitter as they do watching them on TV.”

Last year, Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings found that in the US, TV broadcasts of the tournament generated 14.1M Tweets and 1.6B Tweet impressions.

Even if your team was ripped off and wasn’t selected for the tourney (Miami Hurricanes, Temple Owls), this is an exciting time in sports. The college players play with not only skill, but so much passion and heart – that it is not as easily predictable as the major professional sports. Anything can happen and there will be “madness” indeed. Duke (3) was upset last year by Mercer (14) and Twitter exploded and it actually became more tweeted about than even the Championship final. Duke is a #1 seed this year, people love to hate Duke, so let’s see how they do this year. Another story to follow is Kentucky, also a #1 seed – they went the entire season undefeated, how long will the ride last?

There are so many experts and self-presumed experts on Twitter right now, it is easy to learn more about the players, the coaches, the matchups, predictions and more. It becomes fun and addictive to stay in the know and follow along as it goes. No matter if you are using Twitter for personal or professional use during #MarchMadness, you will want to be in the know.

In 2014, Twitter users were as engaged on game days as they were on non-game days, so this a great chance for brands to be involved and jump into the conversation as well. Be prepared to be locked in until at least April 7 (Championship game is April 6), fans are watching and responding, they want a brand they feel like they are watching the tournament with, not being sold to while trying to enjoy it. Brands need to respect the intensity of the game and the fans. People tend to have deep ties to college sports and it is not just a random or forced association.

As I said in my blog for Get in the Game: Tips for Tweeting on Super Sunday, this is an opportunity for you and your brands to connect and engage on a more natural level and develop meaningful interactions and relationships. With games starting March 17 and ending on April 6, this gives you a lot more time to build and strengthen those bonds with fans, followers, and possible/future fans and followers. Do not waste any more time, jump in now.

As far as who my predictions are to win? Well, we are doing an office pool and I believe in the jinx. So, let’s talk more in a few weeks. When I’m not at work, you can be sure I’ll be tweeting along. @Meddafore If you feel like throwing your predictions out there, feel free to do so. If you think there is a better platform for #MarchMadness engagement, please let me know that too.

As always, I welcome any and all comments and if you like what you read be social and share.

Quick and Dirty Tips to Improve Media Outreach

By: Gina Mason

In honor of the release of Forbes’ annual billionaire list, I thought it would be appropriate to quote the world’s wealthiest man. “If I was down to my last dollar, I would spend it on public relations.” – Bill Gates

Mr. Gates knows the value in public relations and acknowledges that media attention is still one of the best tactics to get your brand/company/product out there to the masses. Yes, advertising and social media are extremely useful, but there is no better way to get your brand and message out there than receiving (free) attention in a newspaper, magazine or TV show. However, media outreach and attention can be very difficult to obtain if you don’t have an established PR pro utilizing their media relationships to get that next big media hit.

For those of you DIYers who don’t use a PR firm, here are 12 of my favorite tips from media guru, Jeff Bullas that you can employ to “establish, improve, and solidify your outreach capabilities.” (Caution: for best results leave the media outreach to the PR pros)

1. Be different. If you’re not different, there’s no reason for editors and publications to cover you.
2. Identify quirky components of your company (logo), CEO (hobby), or company culture (You don’t work on Fridays).
3. Find reporters on Twitter and use AllMyTweets to identify topics they like, dislike, etc.
4. Create Twitter lists of editors and reporters and stay informed of their interests regarding developing news and stories.
5. Set Google Alerts for key terms, so you can stay informed about stories the reporters think are important.
6. Set Alerts for names of editors and reporters too to see what they’re writing about (Share their work too!)
7. Read reporters’ articles, blogs, and tweets. Mention their work and create a greater sense of context and logic regarding the reason for initial contact.
8. You’re supplying information but editors are well aware of the benefit of news coverage. Thank them for their time and for (even) considering your input.
9. Provide multiple opportunities for contact – include work email, cell phone, business phone, Skype, Twitter handle, etc.
10. Maintain an excel sheet of sites pitched and reporter contact information. Keep notes and dates (so you don’t re-pitch!)
11. When used for a story or article, become a marketer for them. Help spread the news!
12. Send a follow-up thanks.

To read the rest of Jeff’s article “50 Surprising Tips for Getting Attention in Mass Media” and see more of his great tips, visit:
http://www.jeffbullas.com/2014/08/07/50-surprising-tips-for-getting-attention-in-mass-media/#pzFHefGpuLEUKWxR.99

As always, if you like what you read be social and share.

Watch your Google search, you’re being targeted!

By Karleigh Creighton

Marketers will soon be gaining an edge in targeting social media users as potential clients.

Facebook ad partner, Kenshoo Social, a global software company that engineers digital marketing solutions, has created an ad technology that will allow marketers to pick out keywords from your internet searches in order to help companies target their ads to the appropriate audiences.

These ads have the potential to become very specific to your interests. Companies will not only know that you visited their site, but they will have the keywords from your search query that led you there, thus providing them with specific information about the product or your service you’re interested in.

Creeped out yet? It is a little bit weird to think about companies having the ability to access keywords from our personal searches; however, in the long run this could be a great thing.

Think about it. You won’t see ads for things you don’t care about anymore. The only ads you’ll see are those tailored to your specific interests. Personally, I pretty much ignore the adds that currently come up on the side of my Facebook page and at the beginning of the online videos I watch, they just don’t appeal to me. I send a text, check my Twitter, or even get a snack while these ads are going. However, if something more eye-catching came up, an ad that grabbed my attention with my interests in mind, I’d be inclined to take a look.

Companies will no longer waste time sending advertisements to the wrong clientele. They will have the information they need to target the right audiences. We will not be subject to ads that don’t hold our interests but will be seeing products and services we are likely to find useful.

Advertising on social media is gaining positive ground in the marketing world. With over a billion active Facebook users worldwide, it presents a huge and diverse platform on which to market. The executives at Kenshoo created this technology because they believed that search engines are massive databases of consumer intent that have previously gone untapped, but are filled with potential.

This technology is still in Beta testing, but will be available for Facebook’s company clients within the next few weeks. Start looking for ads that fit your interests soon.

As always, I welcome your feedback and if you like what you read, be social and share.