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Personal Branding & SEO

Ten Job Search Tips for PR Professionals and Employers
By TopRank® Online Marketing 

candidate searchIn an economy that’s seen significant job loss, business bankruptcy and tanking stocks, there is good news on the public relations front.

Employment of public relations professionals is expected to increase 24 percent from 2008 to 2018, a much higher growth rate than the average occupation according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In order to take advantage of this anticipated growth, public relations professionals — and the organizations that employ them — must evolve with the changing times as the industry shifts. 

Traditional public relations is giving way to a digital future, where public relations professionals must be SEO and social media savvy in order to stay relevant as influence shifts to online channels. When more people rely on the Internet for news than newspapers, according to a PEW study, and 91 percent of business buyers read blogs, watch user generated video and participate in other social media according to Forrester Research, comprehension of digital is no longer for specialists:  it’s a core public relations competency. 

Further, according to a 2009 Digital Readiness Report, 18 percent of employers have no interest whatsoever in traditional public relations.  Yet:

  • 80 percent say knowledge of social networks is important or very important.
  • 87 percent rank blogging, podcasting and RSS as important or very important.
  • 72 percent say micro-blogging is important or very important.

But it’s more than just competency. Both employers and employees need to “walk the talk” to stand out from the crowd. With this in mind, we’ve identified five job search tips for public relations professionals and five tips for employers to stay ahead of the digital curve. 

find a jobFive Tips for PR Job Seekers

The future of public relations will require solid digital knowledge and experience in social media and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). As a public relations job seeker, you can ensure you stand out from other candidates when it comes time for the interview with these five job search tips:

1.  Own your personal SEO
Before the interview — long before the job search even begins — conduct a quick litmus test: Search for your name in the three major search engines, Google, Bing and Yahoo! If your name doesn’t come up on page one, you’re virtually invisible to potential employers.

You can ensure your name appears in prominently in the search rankings by:

  • Publishing content online through a blog with your name in the title tag.
  • Own your name across social network/social media channels.
  • Creating a website for your portfolio, including examples of your work and resume .
     

2.  Create an industry leading blog
Even the most well-written resume can only go so far in convincing potential employers that you’re right for the job. As part of your job search efforts, demonstrate your industry knowledge by creating a blog with posts on relevant tips, news, trends and your industry participation.

To ensure your blog is found by potential employers searching online:

  • Optimize posts with relevant, industry-specific keywords.
  • Promote the blog through social networking channels, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Build links to your blog posts by commenting on other blogs, getting listed on blog rolls or encouraging social bookmarks.

Of course, having a well promoted blog by itself is not enough. Once found, your blog needs to have content that shows a candidate is a star in their field. All the promotion in the world won’t help those who don’t put forth the effort to produce compelling ideas. 

3.  Publish your personal case studies
Bring your resume to life by creating case studies based on previous successes. These success stories can be published on your website, promoted on your blog and used as part of a personal branding plan.

But writing and publishing case studies is only half the story; it’s crucial to optimize all online content. That includes optimizing:

  • Title tags.
  • Meta descriptions.
  • Titles.
  • Main copy.
  • Hyperlinks.
  • Digital assets, including images and video. 

4.  Search/social integration
Today, much of social media content appears in real-time search results, including:

  • Twitter tweets.
  • FriendFeed updates.
  • Google Buzz posts.
  • MySpace updates.
  • Facebook fan page updates.

Therefore, as part of your job search efforts, it’s important to optimize all social content just as other online content would be optimized.

5.  Reputation management
When it comes to the job search, ensuring your name and work aren’t invisible to potential employers online is important. Ensuring that the information employers find online is positive is vital.

To manage your reputation online:

  • Remove any potentially offensive information from social media profiles.
  • Address any negative mentions about you or your work by contacting the source directly.
  • Counter negative mentions appearing on page one of search queries by getting your own content on page one.

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About TopRank® Online Marketing
TopRank® Online Marketing is a digital marketing agency based in Minnesota, serving Fortune 1000 companies nationwide. TopRank provides strategic consulting, implementation and training services with an emphasis on enterprise and mid-market company search marketing, social media and online public relations. TopRank has been cited in numerous books and industry blogs, as well as U.S. News & World Report, Fortune and The Economist for its Internet marketing expertise. TopRank CEO Lee Odden is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, including Search Engine Strategies, WebmasterWorld Pubcon, PRSA International Conference, BlogWorldExpo, OMMA, Media Relations Summit, and the DMA Annual conference. As a respected authority on SEO, PR and social media, TopRank has provided course material for the basic and advanced Search Marketing Certification program offered by the national DMA.