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Employers Look For PR & Social Media Counsel: Lindsay Olson’s Interview On The Global PR Blog Week

Lindsay olson Looking back in time, even if its only five years ago can give you a perspective on where you are today. And that’s what I’ve been doing while celebrating the 5th anniversary of the Global PR blog week by interviewing a number of the alumni of the event. The blog week was a virtual conference of PR bloggers. But the event did not just attract PR professionals, as we discover in today’s interview with Lindsay Olson, as Lindsay is a recruiter in the PR industry. Not only did I ask Lindsay questions about the conference but also some questions about her thoughts about the importance of social media but also how important social media skills are today for today’s communications candidates. 

Lindsay’s story about the global pr blog week is not just a professional story, the event has great personal consequences as she met her husband through the event.

John: What did you learn from the Global PR Blog Week?

Lindsay: This event brought together many of the early PR bloggers' ideas and experiences into a week of interesting online discussions, which helped me get a better grasp on industry trends. Although I'd always been an active follower of what was happening in the PR field, this event helped shape my views on the importance of having a strong online presence. At that time, I wasn't blogging and even though I was aware of its growing importance, it still took me a few years to come around. The event laid the groundwork for where I am today.

John: Reviewing the post(s) you wrote for the Global PR Blog week, what has changed? What has not changed since you wrote your post?

Lindsay: Social media has continued to grow and the tools PR professionals use are expanding beyond just blogs. The main point of my post was how PR professionals may be viewed in the eyes of a potential recruiter through their online presence. This has become a growing concern for most as Facebook is opening up to the general public and Twitter is becoming a more mainstream tool. Not just bloggers, but everyone, are becoming much more aware of how their tone and the subject they tend to write or tweet about shape their online presence and may affect their career.

John: Recruiting and PR have been two professions that became immersed in blogging early on. From your perspective as a recruiter for the PR industry, why do you think the communications profession got involved so early on with blogging?

Lindsay: Well, communicators love to talk and spread their ideas. Blogging gave communications professionals another platform to quickly distribute their messages to a broader audience - something very appealing to anyone who is in the profession and loves to write.  As blogging and social media gained momentum and the communications industry began to feel the pressure to counsel their companies/clients on how to deal and communicate in a new environment, it grew increasingly necessary to become familiar with and aware of these new types of tools.

John: Looking back over the past five years, how has social media become important to employers and candidates, both for skills needed for employment and for using social media to demonstrate expertise?

Lindsay: More and more of our clients are asking for candidates who are well-versed in social media. Employers expect communications professionals to be able to counsel them about why they should (or shouldn't) be involved in social media. So much has developed over the past five years. Four or five years ago, it was all about blogs and now we have a whole assortment of tools to learn and use to communicate. Knowing when and why to deploy these tools is becoming a concern for organizations. While social media is becoming much more important, it's necessary to note that employers value a well-rounded communications professional. Those candidates who can demonstrate they have both traditional and digital skills are highly valued in the current market.

John: Give an update on what you've been doing in the last five years. What you are doing now?

Lindsay: I've continued to run my public relations staffing agency, Paradigm Staffing. I've moved from New York to Buenos Aires, Argentina and work remotely here with a small team supporting the hiring needs our U.S. and European clients.

As I mentioned earlier, I wasn't blogging at the time of this event, but I finally put an end to that in mid-2008 and launched a blog (http://LindsayOlson.com) about PR and recruiting and to help advise job seekers and companies on the best hiring practices. I'm also very active on Twitter (@PRjobs) and Facebook, and I write a bi-monthly guest column on MediaBistro's PRNewser blog.

On a personal note (yet very relevant to PR Global Blog Week), I got married in February 2008 to Matias Dutto (a 2004 and 2005 participant). We met the week of the 2005 event because of the connection and we were both living in Buenos Aires.  A few years later, we married and we're now expecting our first child in September!