I considered everyone else in my field the competition early in my career. I had to fight them for jobs; they were the enemy. I didn’t really get the value of professional memberships or conferences. I didn’t join STC, the Society for Technical Communication, until I was laid off from my first job, after 12 years in the field that I fell into.
I went to my first STC NY Metro chapter meeting, and right away someone said ‘you look just like Bernard [Aschwanden]’. I had no idea who Bernard was. Now, he’s a good friend and twin. Several years and several meetings later, I connected with someone who got me my current position, which I’ve now held for over six years.
I gave my first-ever talk at the STC NY Metro chapter on Thursday, Nov. 12, about the benefits of social media for technical communicators. The audience was enthusiastic and engaged, and I think everyone learned something and had a good time (including me!).
We covered popular social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, as well as the benefits of having your own blog and/or web site. The Content Content podcast was also a topic of discussion and more than a few questions.
I’d love to get some feedback, or answer any questions, in the comments! I’d also be happy to present it again at other chapters.
At the excellent STC Mid-Atlantic conference sponsored by the Philadephia Metro chapter, security expert Ben Woelk suggested to the audience that they set up a Google alert for their name, so they know of any possible breaches or security issues. I did this awhile back, purely for security reasons (yeah, let’s go with that). Career Sherpa Hannah Morgan also noted at the conference that it’s important to search for yourself to see where and how you come up when prospective employers search for you. Afterward, I found that Google actually makes it easy for you to search for yourself on an ad-hoc basis. You can do this right now:
Expand the Account section on the left, and select Me on the Web.
Click Search Now.
On the same page, you can also have Google send you alerts when new information about your name or email address appears online.
Ben also spoke about the phishing emails that frequently look like they come from financial institutions or other businesses, whose goal is to get your account information and passwords. Many of these emails can look quite convincing.
I’ve found that an easy way to check if email is legitimate is simply to drag or move the email to your spam or junk mail folder. These folders turn hyperlinks into text, so you can see where exactly the email is coming from, and the sites to which they are linking. If the Web address doesn’t look obvious, such as bankofamerica.com, then don’t click on it.
Have additional security tips? Let us know in the comments.