Job Hunting via Social Media - #HAPPO hashtag

As a PR student, when I am looking for new jobs or internships, my go to hashtag is #HAPPO. The #HAPPO hashtag stands for "Help a PR Pro Out" and is a hashtag focused around doing just what that says, helping PR pros out with jobs, advice and more.

Co-founders Valerie Simon and Arik Hanson are doing a GREAT job with the hashtag and really helping people out!

My favorite point Valerie makes below is that we need to give back. Even though we are all job hunting and trying to get name and content out there, we all still need to help each other and the #HAPPO hashtag does just that.

It's also not only about job hunting, it's about networking and connections [see my next post coming up SOON!!]

Valerie answered a few questions I had about #HAPPO and here they are:

1. Why did you start #HAPPO? 

When we started HAPPO the headlines were dismal. Everywhere I looked it seemed there was a headline talking about how horrid the job market was. I had close friends who were extremely talented, but struggling to find a job. These were people employers should have been fighting over. I wanted to do something....

I was talking on the phone one evening with Arik Hanson, whom I met on Twitter,  about a tweet-a-thon he had recently done to help two individuals he knew that were far too talented to be out of work. We realized that social media provides us with the power to better leverage our two most valuable assets... time and relationships.

We gathered a group of trusted friends across the country who shared our values and commitment (The phenomanal #HAPPO champions- ) Getting to work with them and Arik... well it was a bit like putting together a fantasy team. Great people.Great energy.

We hoped that #HAPPO could offer people support and encouragement, and could empower both PR pros and job seekers alike to help others. Pay it forward, do unto others... it's hard to express without coming across as hokey, but I believe it is important to give back to your profession. I have developed a wonderful network in the PR community and it made sense to try and put that to use.

2. Why do you use social media for job hunting? Why is it important?

Social networking is important for job seekers for the same reasons that traditional networking is so important; a connection or even better a referral, will help you to identify opportunities and distinguish yourself from other applicants. Additionally, social media offers you the opportunity to demonstrate your communications skills and professionalism.

3. What kinds of jobs to people post to #HAPPO?

#HAPPO has become a way to connect those seeking jobs in the field of public relations with all kinds of PR opportunities... from internships through senior level positions. A lot of agency positions, but some corporate and nonprofit as well. Lots of recruiters follow HAPPO and quite a few job boards. But at the core, HAPPO is a bit of the opposite of a job board. It is about relationships, and using social media to leverage your network make trusted introductions and referrals. It is about expanding your network and gaining access you might not otherwise have.

4. Have there been any results from job hunting via social media and the #HAPPO hashtag?

Yes. When we began this initiative more than a year ago, I thought it would be incredible if we could help at least one person actually get a job. Within weeks of our first HAPPO (Feb 19th, 2010) I found out that Weber Shandwick had hired someone they connected with during that event. Since then, many major NY PR agencies such as Lippe Taylor and Burson Marstellar have shared stories with me about how they found new employees via HAPPO. One of my favorite stories continues to be Katie Wall's "Happo'ly Ever After" story And nearly a year later she remains at 360i!

5. What other sites, besides Twitter, can you use for job hunting via social media?

LinkedIn. There are certainly other very valuable sites, but LinkedIn is fantastic for business networking. I have been raving about the value of LinkedIn for years, and feel as though people are just beginning to appreciate the value of the site. Take great care completing your profile and when you receive a recommendation from someone, ask if they would feel comfortable sharing it on your LinkedIn profile. Use LinkedIn to research companies and individuals. LI will not only serve you well in the job search, it will serve you well on the job, offering clients and peers confidence in your background