One of the best job hunting resources just launched on LinkedIn: company profiles (thanks to the LinkedIn blog and Jeremiah for the heads up). It tells you so much information about potential employers that it can make your job research so much more productive. Here are seven ways to do it.
Check out the parent or subsidiary company, if applicable. Understand where a company fits in within the corporate hierarchy. Research them, and pay attention to similarities and differences. Consider applying to one of the other companies if it's a better fit, if you know someone better at another, or for any other reason.
See where people go before and after. It's not a perfect sample, as this only represents what people declare in LinkedIn, but the sample size is tremendous for many industries now. You can also see if you have friends at one of these other companies to see if they have any thoughts on why people are going to or from there, and you can also try to understand why there's a connection (eg an agency may be feeding lots of talent to a major publisher they do business with, or many of the people who came from another agency actually arrived via an acquisition).
Research the top locations. Would you be willing to relocate? If so, they may have different needs in different offices, or they may be trying to relocate some of their existing staff already. Use your flexibility as another asset.
View the popular profiles and Google them. They may be influential in the company or the industry, so whether or not you interview with them, you'll gain points dropping names that you saw them quoted, speaking at an event, or doing a drunken holiday party dance on YouTube.
View the common job titles. If you're open to such a position, whether or not they're hiring, it means there are more likely to be openings in that area.
Did you go to any of the top schools they hire from? Run an advanced search to see which people went there just in case you can meet them, name drop, or make a reference to a college sports team rivalry.
Consider employees' ages, median tenure, and common job titles, but the LinkedIn sample size, age of the company, and industry can all be major factors influencing this. Other suggestions on this list are more universal.
If you're considering new opportunities, send your resume my way at dberkowitz [at] 360i [dot] com as 360i (my employer, albeit unaffiliated with this blog) is always looking for the best folks in the business to join in a number of roles. The fact that you're reading this blog means you must be brilliant, or you have brilliant friends who forwarded this to you. See our openings in New York and Atlanta.
Now that all of 360i's senior management will see this post in the news alerts, I'll note publicly I'm not using LinkedIn in any of the ways described above, though the company pages do fascinate me for corporate stalking.
Okay, I'm not sure I offered any great revelations. Most of it's PR best practices as they've evolved for blog outreach:
->Tip #4. Get to the point
Why are you pitching him? What’s in it for him? The message needs to be front and center, stated early on, so he doesn’t have to scan the whole email.
->Tip #5. Name drop
It’s the first thing that gets his attention. If you represent a known entity or are someone who has said something relevant before, you’ll get a response right away.
Read all the tips at MarketingSherpa. If you have more that apply to your blog, comment away. And to all of you who've taken the time to share interesting links, books, campaigns, tech demos, and other tidbits, thanks for keeping me in mind.
Wired Magazine chief and Long Tail author Chris Anderson sparked debate this week when he published the email addresses of public relations people/companies/lists/bots who send him completely untargeted pitches. I'm not sure I agree with every detail of his approach, but I can empathize to a degree, even if I'm not editing a major magazine.
The conference Ad:Tech provides a great example. There's an event coming up in NY next week, and I'm on the press list - a nice perk they extend to columnists and bloggers. I'm appreciative, and the folks at Edelman have been great in giving me personal attention regarding the show overall.
There are two main pros of being on the press list: 1) I get introduced to some new companies that weren't on my radar, or I get some access to execs at companies who I'm familiar with but didn't have a good reason to meet with lately (not that, as I've told more than a few PR folks, I have much time for meetings this month). 2) I've got a free pass to the show, and access to the press room to boot, so I can get away from the crazier parts of it.
Yet the downside is that I get a ton of pitches, many of them really, really bad, from inexperienced PR people who send a mass mailing to the entire list, sometimes including my name (when they do, usually it's in a different font or color than the rest of the mailing - come on, this is mail merge 101 here; don't these firms do ANY training whatsoever?).
How do I deal with it? The first rule: the week before a conference like this, I don't answer the phone unless I know who's calling. It helps that I haven't been in the office anyway. I had a ton of messages to delete when I finally checked in.
For email though, I take advantage of rules. Gmail makes this incredibly easy. I have a label (Gmail's version of folders) called "crap I don't really need," which I use in a number of circumstances, such as for corporate newsletters that can be useful at certain times but don't usually require my attention. Any time I get a pitch from a company that I have no interest in right now, I'll generally create a rule that says all messages from that PR firm's domain (eg spammingprfirm.com) that include the name of the company I don't care about get applied the label "crap I don't really need," and those messages should automatically skip the inbox and move to the archives. While it sounds like a lot, it takes me about 10 seconds to do this, maybe less. Then, every few days, I can check that label to see all the messages that came in and periodically delete them.
The system works on a few levels: * These messages skip my inbox, so I don't need to be distracted by them. I usually have Google Talk running, so I also don't get the mail alerts for these messages that way. * I still have them in case there's a false positive. Where Anderson blacklists his PR sinners (I'm not blaming him due to the volume of messages he gets), I can simply ignore them, or respond if I'm so inclined. For a handful of egregious offenders, I'll send the messages right to the trash, but that's rare.
The system has worked well enough that I use the same trick with a folder rather than a label for my work email in Outlook, mainly for newsletters I wish I had time for but never really get to read.
I'll defer to you now. Do you have any good filtering/sorting tips for your inbox?
"Just in Case: Alternatives to [insert your product name here]"
The product in question: BlackBerry. The Washington Post penned a timely piece on what happens if legal issues force Research In Motion to unplug the service.
RIM offers updates on its site that are nearly unintelligible without a legal degree. An update consumers can understand would help.
The good news: most of RIM's customers aren't looking for BlackBerry alternatives. They're rooting for status quo. But RIM can do a better job of reassuring its base that all's on the up and up. If a mass customer exodus started to ensue, which is fathomable thanks to all the press along the lines of the WP article that has come out, RIM could take a short-term hit and offer a month's free service to keep its base at ease until the legal disputes pass.
Meanwhile, if I'm a competitor, I'm going on an acquisition feeding frenzy now. Bring on the direct mail, the search marketing, the all-out PR blitz. Now's the moment.
David Berkowitz is Vice President of Emerging Media digital agency 360i. A frequent speaker and media pundit, he has been published hundreds of times in MediaPost, Ad Age, eMarketer, Mashable, and elsewhere. Get to know him in the links below the blog's header.