Thursday, September 23, 2010

How to Find a Job Using Social Media

I follow the jobless claims from week to week pretty closely. It's not near as much fun as say, watching to see if Lady Gaga will show up covered in raw eggs and bran cereal, but it's something I feel I need to do for my job. People depend on me to give them job hunting advice that will help them get out of the unemployment ranks.

Today, the news wasn't so great. Jobless claims rose by 12,000 to 465,000, clearly a sign that employers aren't welcoming job seekers with open arms.

Still, some people are clearly getting jobs. How are they doing it? Is it some secret, magic formula? Some strategy they discovered under a rock that no one else seems to know about? It's a question I decided to explore for my Gannett/ column...

When you're one of the nearly 15 million people currently unemployed, it can be discouraging to look for work month after month.

But the truth is some people are finding work. So what are they doing differently to get jobs?

You may still be unemployed for a variety of reasons, but those who have found work say their strategies can help other job seekers

For example, Christine Demeropolis says she landed her new position as an account executive for Wordsworth Communications in Cincinnati through Twitter.

"I heard about the job when they promoted it on Twitter," she says. "I asked for more details and then sent in my resume."

Within weeks, she was called in for an interview and then offered the job.

"To be honest, I didn't ever think something like that could happen — getting a job through Twitter. There's a lot of non-work-related stuff on there."

Mike Maul, Wordsworth's president, says the company decided to post the job on Twitter after being dissatisfied with the response when the job was advertised via traditional methods.

"It's very expensive to run ads, and there was only a small percentage of candidates who applied who had the relative experience," he says. "We thought social media would be cheaper and would reach our exact target since most public-relations professionals are participating in it."

Within about 10 minutes of posting the job on Twitter and Facebook, responses from interested job seekers were arriving, which "was so remarkable and so wonderful," he says.

"We're going to post all our jobs this way from now on," he says.

A CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,500 employers found that about 35% of companies are using social media in some way, with 21% of that number using it to recruit and research possible employees."

"One of the great things about social media for an employer is that it allows you to have a very brief, initial conversation with someone — that's one of the things that I really appreciate," he says. "I'm not wading through a bunch of cover letters where someone is describing how they're a 'people person' and ways they can transform our organization. If they pique my interest on social media, then I'll call and have a conversation."

Online interactions are helping job seekers in other ways, too.

Srinivas Rao, 32, who graduated from Pepperdine University with a master's in business last year, says he "knew sending resumes out was a lost cause," but he continued to do so. He also started a blog, which combined his love of surfing with lessons he was learning in his life.

As he wrote the blog, he realized that he was passionate about social media and began applying for relevant positions. One employer,, called Rao in for an interview after seeing his blog. Two weeks later, he started in his new position with them as director of social media and editor-in-chief.

"They were able to check the stats of my blog and see that I had created an extensive network," he says. "They learned a lot about me from my blog — much more than they would with just a resume. What can you really learn about someone from bullet points on a page?"

He says establishing a blog can be important for any job seeker because "it shows your ability to interact with others and your ability to organize your thoughts and write — what job doesn't need that?"

Dawn Bugni of The Write Solution-Resume Writing and Career Advising in Wilmington, N.C., says that job seekers ignore social media at their own peril. However, she says that using it incorrectly can also cause problems, so she offers these tips:

1. It's OK to lurk — but don't stalk. If you're not sure how you feel about Twitter, for example, it's OK to pick people to follow and just hang around and listen. Don't expect once you jump in to have responses for a while — it takes time to build relationships. Don't rush it or you'll be seen as a stalker.

2. Do your homework. Don't try and friend thousands on Facebook or follow hundreds on Twitter right away. Find those who have similar industry interests, or companies that interest you. Trying to do too much too soon can backfire on social media and make you just seem annoying.

3. Don't whine. Maybe you've been unemployed for a while, and every word is a complaint about your situation. Or you hate your job.

"Get over yourself," Bugni says. "Don't take a needy, ridiculous tone. It's your fingers on the keyboard, so think about what you're saying."

What other tips would you give for finding a job via social media?



Ian Tang said...

Great example of social media success.

Although one point was missed ...
It is to participate/contribute. (such comment, write a blog, be involve in discussions)

Since social media/networking is to connect & build relationship. Just by reading/consuming don't build relationships. (I know, because I consume alot)

To become visible, the person need to take action.

Anita said...

Great suggestion! You're right -- at some point you need to jump in and make yourself visible to others if you want to be noticed.