The HAPPO birthday

Arik C. Hanson and Valerie Simon were tired of seeing so many of their friends and acquaintances out of work, so they decided to do something about it. Being communication professionals, Hanson and Simon naturally used social networking. And voila, Happo – or Help A Pr Professional Out – was born.

After two weeks of preparation, the first Happo twitter event took place for four hours on 19 February, bringing jobseekers together with potential employers.

The job hunt was helped along by “champions”, the term the initiators used for the employed PR bloggers who helped the project along both by promoting it as well as acting as mentors and sources of information.

The event seems to have been a tremendous success. Job seekers demonstrated their creativity by posting blog entries, video resumes and even a powerpoint presentation all to answer the question: “Why should an employer hire me?”

At the same time, the more than 30 champions held CV auctions and “Happo hours” to help people connect. And that was what it was all about.

Some people came away with actual jobs on the day, but Hanson – principal of his own digital communications firm – and Simon – senior VP at PR firm BurrellesLuce – said the event was mainly about building relationships, with participants glowing about the value of the contacts made and the mentoring and advice provided.

So popular was the event, that another is scheduled for 30 April, this time focused on networking for college leavers seeking entry-level positions.

With all this love going around, the only negative thing to be seen about the whole Happo experience is that so far it is limited to the US. Perhaps there are some PR pros in IABC Europe wanting to help or be helped out.

If so, contact Arik Hansan or Valerie Simon.

Happo has a website at http://helpaprproout.com, and a facebook page. You call also follow the hashtag #HAPPO and @helpaprproout.

Also check out the podcast of the IABC interview with Hanson and Simon.