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My #HAPPO Little Story

Posted by 40deuce on 4:36 PM in , , ,

A wise man by the name of Tyler Durden once said, "It's only after you've lost everything, that you're free to do anything."* So I listened. I left my job and decided to start again from scratch and that's how we got to here.

If you know me online, you probably know me as 40deuce. If you knew me in school you knew me as that guy who looks like he's doing nothing in the back but somehow is getting better marks than me. If you know me in real life you know me as Sheldon. If you don't know me, my name is Sheldon Levine. Nice to meet you.

Two years ago I left my job as the head of the US concert department for a small music promotions company and went back to school to learn the craft of PR. I excelled through Seneca College's Corporate Communications program. I then went on to get my Masters in Professional Communication from the University of Western Sydney in Australia. Both programs were fantastic experiences and gave me solid skills to work in the communications field.

While in school I also became, what some might call, a social media addict. I loved connecting with people in this new borderless world. I loved learning about this exciting new medium. I loved trying new things. I loved that I was part of helping to shape this new way of communication. I can see it's potential for the future and I want to be part of it. It's completely a platonic relationship though, I swear.

The head of Seneca's program noticed my little love affair and actually asked me to help with some ideas for putting together a social media in PR course. It was very flattering, so I of course did it. How's that for a recommendation?

What else can I tell you about me?

Some past work experience includes owning my own company that did club promotions around the Toronto area. We averaged over 150 people per event through online and flyer promotions. I was the viral marketing manager of a North American tour for The Inner City Surfers. This taught me the power of key influencers through my contact with big local bands and music bloggers along the tour route. I was the head of Supernova Entertainment's US concert department. In this role I produced up to five events a month and increased the company's artist roster and fan base through social networking. Currently, I operate
multiple blogs that vary in subjects from online PR to sharing cool finds to writing about whatever is on my mind at the time.

I'm a music addict. I'm a people person. Sometimes I'm too nice. Sometimes I'm too mean. I have a strange obsession with watching curling and darts on tv. I tend to be sarcastic (but always in a good way). I can now surf on both water and snow (you might call it snowboarding). I love reading anything and I probably tweet too much.

So, this brings us to now. I just graduated in November and I'm now looking for a job where I can combine my past experience, my PR skill set and my passion of social media.

With all that said, let's get down to the nitty-gritty here.

I'm looking for a job in the PR and social media field. I'm willing to explore both agency and in-house positions. I've mainly been looking within the Toronto area, but I'm very open to interesting relocation ideas worldwide. I think I'll be great in this field and I hope that you do too now.

Here's to #HAPPO!

If you'd like to know more about me, want my resume, or even just want to chat, feel free to contact me by leaving a comment here, or though any of these networks you should see listed on the right, or email me at 42.fortydeuceATgmailDOTcom.

* Quote from
Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club

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Hungry Hungry #HAPPO

The selfish side of me said, "Shhhhhh, don't tell others about this. Keep it all for yourself and reap all the benefits." But, we all know that I'm a better person than that.

Apparently, I'm not the only person hungry to find a PR position these days. I don't have any hard numbers to back that up, but I'm willing to bet it's true based on the creation of #HAPPO. That lovely hashtag stands for Help A PR Pro Out and was created by Arik Hanson (@arikhanson) and Valerie Simon (@valeriesimon) because they knew good PR professionals who have been out of work for too long and wanted to help them out.

The goal of their #HAPPO project is to bring together companies and agencies that are in need of people with the people who need/ want those jobs. This will be helped along by some key people in certain North American markets, but I'm pretty sure anyone who knows about it can take part. In my neck of the woods, Toronto, we have two great representatives; Danny Brown and as I learned this morning from my RSS feed, Dave Fleet.

I really like this idea because as a job seeker (like myself), you start to learn that you can send out as many resumes as you want, but one of the best ways to find a job and get a foot in the door is through a personal recommendation. The best recommendations would come from people who are already respected in the field, so why not try to get one from them?

The other thing I like about this is the networking possibilities it opens up. While you may not actually get a job on #HAPPO day it should open new people up to each other that previously didn't know the other existed. It could be any mix of PR pro's with jobs, PR pro's without jobs, up-and-coming PR pro's (like myself), agencies and companies. The networking possibilities are almost endless.

While there's a bit of a buzz already going on around the idea the actual event is scheduled to take place on February 19th (this coming Friday) between 11am and 3pm EST. If you're looking for a job like myself you're encouraged to write a blog post for #HAPPO about yourself and what you're looking to do that people can be sent to see. Then, job seekers, job posters and those interested in helping should keep an eye out for anything tagged with #HAPPO for the day.

I have a great deal of respect for seeing a community come together, especially over something like helping each other. I hope that #HAPPO is a great success for everyone involved (and of course myself) and I hope that I can participate again next year but from the other side.

So while my selfish sides says to keep this for myself, the rest of me is telling you to tell everyone you know about #HAPPO that might be interested.

You can watch out for my #HAPPO blog post about myself later this week.

For more info check out the official #HAPPO website.

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Take Your Online Offline

You may have a very strong presence online, but do people know you outside of their computer screens? Do they need to?

The simple answers to those (in order) would be probably not and sometimes.

In my case, looking for a job, I would say that I want people to know me in real life as well as online, and you may too if you're in my situation.

Not to toot my own horn, but I think that I have a pretty strong presence in the online world. On a daily basis I'm communicating with people all over the world. While it may not be possible to ever meet all of these people in real life it probably would be a good idea to try to connect with some key ones in your own area. Especially if that's the area you're looking for a job in.

Since I'm looking for a job in the PR and social media areas, I've been presented with the perfect opportunity. This week is Toronto Social Media Week, which is a bunch of mini-informational-and-fun events that focus around the world of social media. What better place to meet people in the field I want to get into??

These events will give me a chance to meet people whom I may only know from online dealings, some that I may never have known before from anywhere, and of course, touch base with those who I know (both online and off) but don't see often.

The key to having this event help me is that I have to be the same person I am online offline. For me that's not such a problem. I love to talk as much through my mouth as I do through my fingers (that sounds a little weird now that I think about it, but it's still true). The main thing that I'll have to remember is to get my point out the same as I do online. Online I can just post that "I'm looking for work" while in real life I may have to be a bit more subtle. I can't just be walking up to random people, shake their hands and say "Hi, I'm Sheldon and I need a job."

The point that I'm trying to make though is that I think having the chance to meet people you deal with online in real life can be beneficial because then people know you a bit better, can put a face to a screen name, and possibly may be more inclined to help me/you once they feel a bit more personable with you. As well, this gives me the opportunity to possibly make contact with others who aren't currently in my network and bring them in to help.

While this may not be my most eloquently written blog piece, the point I'm trying to make is that I'm not just relying on the online world to help me get a job, I want to be doing the same thing in real life. It's just like I learned in school; the message has to be the same across the board in every medium you present it to properly get it out to your publics.

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