Math, smath

If you’re in PR, Marketing, Social Media, Journalism or any other word-centric profession you might think math, who needs it? Turns out, you really do.

You’ll be seen as an asset to your company if you can measure a campaign, turn likes and follows into actual hard data and can explain the numbers to your bosses. You’ll be able to contribute to the company’s overall business picture and reiterate your importance to the team.

Anyone can tweet, post to Facebook and search for the newest social channels, but not everyone can use math to provide justification for their efforts. You will likely learn the basics in college: statistics, media impressions, market research, campaign measurement, etc. With those tools you can delve into any new analytical arena that pops up. By the time you graduate you should have a good idea of how to translate those skills to new media and social media. How to evaluate if a social channel is worth your company’s time. You should be able to read a Google analytics report and understand what it all means and then tell your bosses.

Reviewing the analytics should keep you from continuing to invest in a strategy that isn’t working and ultimately save your company money.

In case you need a refresher, check out this Poynter News University course on math for journalists.

How do you use math every day?

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Are paper resumes outdated?

A recent article from CNN makes a pretty good case for the single page, double spaced resume to go the way of cassette tapes.

The article quotes Gretchen Gunn, a principal at MGD Services, a staffing firm in Stockton, New Jersey as saying she doesn’t accept paper resumes and instead asks for them electronically.

Further, potential employees are becoming more and more creative in their applications. Like this Living Resume by Rachel King, “An ongoing collection of decidedly cool things I’ve done in my career, side gigs, and other projects.” The novelty helped her land a job at Adobe, according to the article.

Separating yourself from the other candidates is important. If you can do that in a creative way, you’ve got the attention of the hiring manager, who’s next step is probably going to be to check your social profiles.

Social sites like Facebook and Twitter give hiring managers a better sense of a “person’s judgment, personality and communication skills” thus making the formal resume obsolete. In the era of verifications, a quick Google search can reveal more information about a candidate’s work history and personality that type on a piece of paper.

The obvious first place for online resumes is LinkedIn. Though job seekers would prefer a job search function on Facebook, according to this Mashable article, the infrastructure isn’t there yet.

Facebook doesn’t have privacy screens or a way to separate personal and professional contacts,  the article states. Until Facebook offers these options, job seekers should look to the established sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor.

The answer of whether or not paper resumes are outdated can be best answered by the trends in the industry you’re applying to work in, so do your research. As always, you should read the job descriptions carefully and look for keywords like electronic, email, and look at the LinkedIn profiles of the person who is most likely to receive your cover letter.

Unlike in the past when all resumes looked the same, when it doubt it might be in your best interest to err on the side of standing out, rather than blending in.

Background Checks Now Include Twitter, Facebook and more

More and more employers are checking the social media profiles and posts of potential hires.

Any post or group that could be taken out of context, or construed to make you out as “somebody who likes a racist joke, drinks too much booze or maybe is a bit too fond of guns” can be grounds for an employer to pull your application, according to this recent ABCNews article states. And it’s all legal.

“The Federal Trade Commission has just given the okay for Social Intelligence Corp. to sell these reports to employers and the file will last for seven long years,” the article states.

Even if your profiles are squeaky clean and you actively manage your public information, consider your friends. ” It’s still possible that among your Facebook friends, unbeknownst to you, there’s someone with a criminal record,” the article continues. “An employer could turn you down for having iffy friends and not run afoul of any employment discrimination law.”

Potential employers aren’t getting this information by friending or following you. Often they are outsourcing their research to companies like Social Intelligence Corp. or checking in with friends of your friends to see what you may have hidden. Remember, there is a huge difference between a photo album on your shelf at home and one online, even “protected.” Some employers are going so far as to require potential employees share their usernames and passwords. Whether or not you choose to share this information depends on the position, your personal opinions and how much you want to work for that employer. Before you log in, in front of your future HR Manager or boss, consider this, do you really want to work for someone who would ask you to do that?

While slightly outdated, this CareerBuilder article from earlier this year includes information on how many employers search social media profiles as part of a background check.

The only way to really protect yourself is to be mindful of what you post in the first place. Be sure to check your history for inaccuracies, strange settings, old comments. Ask yourself, out of context does anything seem strange? Make it a habit to check this once a month, when you Google yourself.

How to know when it’s time to go

The recent Quora question: How do you know when it’s time to leave your current company and move on? is a good post to read no matter where you are in your career and regardless of your happiness level in your current job.

As many of the respondents point out, there are red flags on both sides: your employer/boss and you.

In terms of your employer, use your observational skills. Are you being passed over for promotions, projects or new equipment? Has your daily interaction with coworkers and your supervisor become perfunctory? Have you had a recent review or are on a professional improvement plan? If you have had a review or are on a professional improvement plan, do you want to make the changes necessary? If you don’t, that’s a very clear indication that you should begin immediately looking for something new.

Regarding the you portion of the equation, are you still learning? Do you dread getting up in the morning? Do you watch the clock tick slowly toward 5 p.m. or the end of the day? Do you want to perform your job responsibilities or functions better? Is the reason you joined the company or organization still relevant to you?

If you can’t accurately assess your situation or happiness on your own, ask a trusted friend. Once you have a good idea of where you stand within the company and what your priorities are, make a decision. Then think about that for a full work week and decide if you’re happier knowing you plan to leave or plan to stay.