Elizabeth Keserauskis

Building relationships and making connections

New Implications for Your Job Search: 7 Years on File

All Facebook: the unofficial Facebook resource, posted an article recently (ALERT: Job Screening Agency Archiving All Facebook) about Social Intelligence Corp, which offers a background checking/screening service for employers. From their article:

The FTC decided Social Intelligence complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the same set of rules that keeps your bill-payment records on file with the consumer bureaus for seven years, according to Forbes.


That means your antics documented, photographed, posted and tagged on Facebook will be available to your prospective and current employers for 7 years. I have heard comments from folks saying that isn’t it about time we stopped trying to pretend like people we really aren’t in order to get a job? Sure that would be the perfect world. But do you really want to be the trailblazer to set that trend? If so, your job options will be severely limited–best of luck with that.

So if you haven’t already appropriately adjusted your privacy settings and stopped posting the ridiculous and embarrassing photos and status updates, now is the perfect time. Get your head out of the sand! Seems to me given this development and the recent facial recognition technology addition, folks better start thinking more seriously about their online reputation (especially kids getting ready to enter the workforce in the next 7 years.)

June 22, 2011 Posted by | reputation management, social media | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Facial Recognition Technology = Creepy

I think I agree the title of the  PC World article: Why Facebook’s Facial Recognition Technology is Creepy. The more photos people tag of you or you load and tag yourself, the better the facial recognition technology gets at recognizing you in photos and making suggestions for folks to tag you. How is this not creepy?? It’s starting with Facebook, but will soon be everywhere. Those photos you thought were innocent of you doing keg stands in college? Even if you’ve untagged yourself, it is still findable online and attributed. And don’t say that you can “opt out” of the service…that just means people cannot automatically tag you. But that isn’t stopping the technology from gathering data and refining the ability to recognize your photo.

In addition to my own privacy, my biggest concern is kids/teenagers/college students who already think they are invincible online, and don’t think the first time (let alone twice) about posting compromising, silly photos of themselves on Facebook and other sites. I spend a lot of time with college students talking to them about how to manage their reputation online and to start thinking very early about what their image is online BEFORE they have to start looking for jobs. This will certainly be a part of my presentation from this point forward, but I am only hitting a small number of kids.

I love the suggestion she has in the article–opt out of the service immediately, and start randomly uploading pictures of inanimate objects and tagging them as yourself to keep Facebook guessing what you really look like!

June 15, 2011 Posted by | reputation management, social media | , , , | 1 Comment

The State of Today’s Graduate Seeking Work in Communications

I attended a speed networking event pairing current students (most of whom are about to graduate) with alumni working in various fields last night. The idea is based on the “speed dating” concept, but in this situation alumni are stationed at tables and students rotate among them for 15 minute networking sessions. The concept is fantastic, and I am so glad I participated and could provide perspective to students entering the workforce.

What concerns me after the event is the state of preparedness of the students about to enter the workforce, particularly in communications fields. They don’t have experience beyond their internships, and are about to compete with folks who have much more experience for the same jobs in our economy. Internships are almost critical for students these days. Many of them realize they will likely have to take full-time internships with companies (many without benefits) in order to get their foot in the door.

But the problem doesn’t stop at their lack of tangible experience. To me it is more worrisome that they have not been required to hone their writing skills. Many have not had to compose extensive persuasive papers in their last year of two in school. I have yet to find one who understands just how drastically the internet has changed the strategic communications field. Most of them believe they are going to find a job in “PR”. Well, it’s not just PR anymore. You have to have the understanding of how to help a company establish and manage a reputation, among all their audiences and across all media. It is not just traditional media releases and pitching. Most of them don’t understand the direct-to-consumer conversation potential with the internet. Many of them look at me with blank stares when I ask them if they understand the basics of SEO & SEM.

The best I can hope for is that the sites where these students are doing their internships give them several sips from the fire hose and give them a chance to realize what they haven’t learned yet. Then the most motivated will make it a priority to teach themselves what they can. And in the meantime, I am dreading the day when I have to hire an entry level communications position. I certainly will have to manage my own expectations!

March 30, 2011 Posted by | communication, higher education, reputation management | , , , , | Leave a comment

Speaking of LinkedIn…

Since my last post was about LinkedIn, I thought I would share the groups to which I belong on LinkedIn. I have only included the marketing groups I find useful.

MarketingProfs– Group Profile: MarketingProfs is a community of marketers centered around smart, quick, and actionable know-how and discussion. More than 360,000 subscribers read our newsletters and blog, attend our events and seminars (both live and virtual), and participate in the MP discussion forum. (interesting note: their group profile page has a spelling error! A result of fast fingers on the keyboard I suspect. I did not repeat the mistake here.)

Inbound Marketers– Group Profile: Online group for marketing professionals. A community those looking to reach their best customers online through techniques like inbound marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media. I do feel that it tends to be an engine to drive traffic to their seminars, but you can often find interesting conversations and smart people to follow here.

Southern Illinois Marketing & Communications– Group Profile: When you leave the large market, marketing and communications professionals begin to wear more hats in their career. The group is dedicated to those marketing, PR and Communications professionals who are juggling all three expertises (if not more). Since I happen to be located in Southern IL, I like this group to connect with other folks located or doing business in the area. It’s nice to stay abreast of issues specifically occurring in your region.

Are we connected yet? My profile: linkedin.com/in/bethkeserauskis

Any other groups we should know about? What do you learn from them?

October 28, 2010 Posted by | connecting, relationships, reputation management | , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Easy to Ruin Your Credibility on LinkedIn

One wrong tap on the keyboard, one too-fast click on the mouse–that’s all it takes to put a serious dent in your credibility on LinkedIn. Two times in the last week I saw group postings come through LinkedIn groups with substantial misspellings in the headline. And it’s not like they spelled the championship-winning word for the 2010 Spelling Bee wrong.

“Business Journal rolls out redisigned site”

This was my favorite so far. How well is this positioning the person as a credible source for the business journal? How professional is it making the publication itself look? (Note: the individual posting is an official representative of the publication.)

I can’t find the other one…they must have realized the error and fixed it. Are my standards too high? Is it too difficult to proofread your own material? If you are an admittedly bad speller, have someone proofread your work. Or, if you are posting on a site that doesn’t have a spell checker built in, write your content in MS Word FIRST, then paste into the site.

I have misspelled words before. But it usually is a result of working too fast or trying to do too many things at one time. To me, misspellings in the group situation on LinkedIn is saying that you don’t care enough about my time or interest to spell check your work or go through the same process to ensure accuracy as you would on a direct mail piece. Just because the medium of social media/networking is easy, convenient and lightning fast doesn’t mean that my time online is not as valuable as with more traditional media.

I truly do want to know if my standards are too high. Yes, I can claim several spelling bee championship titles and I realize my standards for myself are much higher than others. But I still stick by my statement that your audience’s time is precious and you should treat it as such by not only posting things that are relevant, but making sure you have checked your work!

October 25, 2010 Posted by | marketing, reputation management, social media | , , , , | 1 Comment

Hunger Strike to Challenge College Rankings

Continuing with the season of college rankings, here is an interesting story about a student embarking on a hunger strike to draw attention to the inadequacy of the U.S. News and World Report college rankings process. I don’t know about anyone else, but I think there are more important issues in the world about which we should go on a hunger strike.

Washington Monthly College RankingsWashington Monthly puts out an interesting college guide. They rate schools based on their contribution to the public good in three broad categories:

  • Social Mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students)
  • Research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs)
  • Service (encouraging students to give something back to their country)

This certainly sounds like a much more worthwhile ranking system for prospective students and parents than the U.S. News rankings based on fame, exclusivity and money.

September 7, 2010 Posted by | higher education, marketing, public relations | , , , , | Leave a comment

Would You Like to be Given a D+?

Drake D+ CampaignIs Drake University’s new ad campaign a bust, or successfully getting everyone talking about the school and its benefits to prospective students? It has been the center of significant attention on the web, including just a few I ran across recently:

If their marketing team’s purpose was to create something viral that everyone would talk about, mission accomplished. However, the fact that people are referring to the education you can get at Drake as a “D+” grade is probably not the image they were hoping for.

I also found it interesting that the marketing team did not even include their own staff and faculty in the testing of the new campaign. Your internal audience does not necessarily have to approve everything you do, but you can certainly create a sense of ownership and buy in if you involve them in the process where appropriate. By not including them, the marketing team had to backpedal and be on the defensive, explaining what the ad campaign was about in an internal email that of course someone posted online.

And what does this mean to the reputation of their advertising partner in the process, Stamats? Are they now branded as an agency that can create edgy advertising campaigns, or a team that didn’t include all stakeholders in the testing process or notice that ramifications of a “D+ Grade”?

In today’s communications climate, everyone is searching for the story or idea or campaign that is going to get everyone talking about their product/service/school. Was Drake successful? What do you think?

September 5, 2010 Posted by | engaging, higher education, marketing, reputation management | , , , , | Leave a comment

How *NOT* to Ruin Your Reputation Online

I work with the student athletes here on campus to improve their skills in working with the media, but also to help them develop their reputation online. Or more immediately- how not to ruin their reputation online. I am always looking for articles, stories and examples of how social media can negatively impact a career, education or reputation to pass on to them. These are the most recent ones I have added to the list.

Do you have any articles that would be good for me to share with our students?

August 18, 2010 Posted by | higher education, reputation management, resources, social media | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who’s Behind the Curtain??

Have you ever gotten excited by a technological advance on a website where you are trying to do business, only to have your hopes dashed by the fact that it is fake?? You nearly had to peel me off the ceiling this morning when I was paying a credit card bill online. I was irritated by the fact that they were charging me a $10 fee to make a same day payment, whereas two days later it was free. I fully understand that the credit card companies need ways to monetize their products, but irritating nonetheless.

They almost redeemed themselves when they had a live chat window to confirm the amount of your same day payment–here was my chance to complain about the fees to a customer service rep! The minute I strayed from the “script” they expected from me,  I got the “please call this number and we will answer your questions.” Aaaah! There was NO real live person behind this chat! They even made up names, because I got a different name the second time I went through it! I would far rather they just don’t give the appearance of a live chat option than to bait and switch me! A lower tech site would have impressed me more, because they would not promise me anything they could not deliver.

So what does this mean for a business and marketing? A lot! Bottom line- don’t pretend you are something you are not, and don’t promise things that you cannot deliver!

Getting back to Marketing 101- hopefully you have defined a brand promise and value proposition for your customers. But can you deliver on that promise? The fastest way to destroy your brand is to have your customers lose faith in you. Shall we talk about Toyota? BP?

Your brand platform/promise is not only driving your external marketing, but it also serves as an internal compass driving the operations of your organization. If your employees do not understand your brand promise, how can they possibly be delivering on your promise to your customers? Thoughts?

July 21, 2010 Posted by | connecting, engaging, marketing, relationships | , , , , | 1 Comment

The Importance of Doing the Right Thing

I know, it sounds like a lesson you learned in kindergarten. Unfortunately, many companies still don’t understand it though.

I’ve had several conversations lately about the PR implications of negative actions taken or substantial errors made by companies or employees. And inevitably, there is always a suggestion that we figure out how to “cover this up”. I shake my head, and my response is typically the same: has anyone thought about perhaps admitting an error, issuing a heartfelt apology, and outlining the steps you are taking to fix the problem and safeguard against repeating history?

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. Wouldn’t you find it easier to forgive a company for a wrongdoing if they apologized and fixed it, versus tried to cover it up? How about Toyota’s recent mechanical problems–they were slow to speak in the public and apologize, but once they did, it focused the conversation away from trying to catch them to talking about how the problem is going to be fixed.

Yes, there will be a time when their brand will suffer. However, they have worked very hard in the past to build relationships with their customers, to the tune of significant brand loyalty. It will take some time, but it will be easier for them to rebuild trust than if they had not built that relationship foundation.

Sorry for the brand loyalty digression, but the message is the same. If you do the right thing to fulfill your mission and satisfy your customers, handling times of crisis becomes so much easier. So when we ask ourselves what we are going to do about a particular situation, the answer to me is easy: what is the right thing to do for our employees, our customers, and our other publics?

June 12, 2010 Posted by | leadership, public relations, relationships, reputation management | , , , , | Leave a comment