I am happy to say that living under the bridge is behind us now. The Social Media Job Hunt experiment lasted only five days before receiving an exciting employment offer, and numerous freelance offers to carry me through the interim.
I will miss all my bridge-dwelling neighbors, and will think fondly of our times chasing down rodents… er…dinner, with the kids. Moving was quick. We simply flipped our cardboard house over, put our few belongings in it, and carried it back to the house. That’s what I call a mobile home.
Now for the final update, and a few resources for those of you in a similar predicament:
Though this final wrap up and resource guide is being posted after a four-week hiatus, the experiment actually ended on November 26th, with my final post stating “I have a feeling something great is going to happen this week” – and it did.
Just before closing up shop for Thanksgiving, I had a great conversation with Mark Knowles at Smart Solutions (www.smartz.com). It wasn’t a signed deal yet, but it was pretty obvious we could do great things, so I hung up my hat and focused on meetings, interviews, and negotiations with them.
When you know something feels right, you put all your energy into it. So I quickly turned down other interviews and opportunities. I don’t always recommend that action; but to me, this was the right thing to do. It paid off. The SMJH lasted just five days…then success!
I knew negotiating and putting together final details of an executive position would take a while to complete – so I had to stay silent on the SMJH until I had something conclusive to report. And now I do. Negotiations are complete, final details are in place, and I am now the VP of Marketing Strategies at www.smartz.com – a highly successful software and web development company out of Bend, Oregon.
Let’s wrap it up
Before I go any further, I’d like to personally thank a few people who were instrumental in the success of my Social Media Job Hunt:
Of course, there are so many more to thank for taking part, or even just for paying attention; but these few really stood out and gave the extra effort to help spread the word. So Thank You!
I hope a few tips and a short resource guide will be helpful to others; but I’ll be completely honest – I barely touched the roadmap I had built for an ongoing social experiment. There are dozens of tactics and avenues that I never got a chance to try. I’ll list some of them here, and I’d welcome anyone to put them to the test and let us all know the results.
When this experiment was in initial planning, I figured LinkedIn would be my best bet for success. After all, LinkedIn is a professional networking site right? It’s full of contacts, business associates, and professional groups; all eager to engage one another. Wrong.
I was surprised, in my first couple of days, how flat and unsuccessful LinkedIn was in my quest. I’ll chalk some of it up to not knowing how to use it best; but the rest simply is what it is, a list of a bunch of people that you may or may not have actually met; who you may never speak to again, and who are unlikely to raise a finger to help others in their job search. I realize that is a generalization. I’m okay with that.
A friend told me I should look at LinkedIn job postings. I was told executive positions were sometimes posted in LinkedIn and nowhere else because these employers wanted only to speak to people that were referred by contacts. That’s exactly what I was looking for.
I found six positions fitting my skill-set and I got to work. Some accepted resumes, so I submitted them. Others would only accept referrals from their connections. My network linked me to over 3.8 million contacts across LinkedIn, so I figured this should be easy. As for LinkedIn, they did make it easy. They told me who was connected to each employer, and who in my network were connected to them. This made my initial contact easy and I figured requesting introductions would work well.
Several of my own contacts never replied to my request, while others admitted that they didn’t really know the other person that well. Others did exactly what I asked and submitted introduction requests or even sent personal emails.
Many factors can come in to play here, but the bottom line? Not a single phone call. Not one reply from an inside contact. No calls or emails from employers. No leads for employment through LinkedIn whatsoever.
So what didn’t I try on LinkedIn? In my modified plans, I was preparing to:
1. Try a Google Presentation app to line out “why you should hire me”
2. Create an SMJH group
3. Submit employment or SMJH related questions to the various groups I already belonged to
I didn’t get a chance to try any of these. Give it a shot and let me know how they work for you.
A local friend and colleague warned me that mass-blasting this type of experiment may actually backfire, as recruiters may see it as too competitive and stay away. Wouldn’t you know, calls and emails from recruiters finding me on LinkedIn DID slow down once I started the SMJH.
This doesn’t resonate well with me. Staying away because of competition is a sign of weakness. I applaud the few of you who did contact me and weren’t scared away by a little competitive exposure. Job seekers beware though – it was apparent that this could have been an issue in the long run.
Facebook and Twitter became great venues for updating SMJH follower’s and people interested in the outcome. Posting on these sites also gave me a great deal of exposure and created an influx of contacts from people offering freelance jobs, tips, ideas, and resources. It was very helpful.
As Tamar Weinberg stated in her Social Media Etiquette Handbook, if you’re going to promote yourself or your own interests, you better take part in the social medium in general (not her exact words). Retweet other’s posts, post comments on blogs, and help others gain exposure for their news, posts, and stories. Self-promoting only, without reciprocation to others will backfire in the end. I walked a fine line with this. The whole idea of the SMJH was to see if mass exposure would bring a new employer to my door. Pretty hard to do that without self promoting; yet I was careful to also take part in other communities and topics. Regardless, I think by day five some people may have been seeing the SMJH as nothing more than self-promoting, so be careful.
Also, Joanna Lord says some great things about online job searching in her interview from Todd Mintz of SEMpdx. In her interview, Joanna states that many employers simply won’t “get” social media. I did, in fact, recognize this as a problem in the SMJH. Potential employers will either never see my experiment online because they’re not paying attention anyway. Or if they do see it they may disagree with the idea entirely. As it turned out, I did have a local executive contact me to say he just didn’t understand what I was doing and asked to be removed from any further communication regarding the SMJH.
It never ceases to amaze me; the difference in people and their ideas of the world. The very same day, I was also contacted by a national brand and marketing expert with over 25 international Echo Awards, and more prestigious mentions than I could possibly list here, to say “Nice work…I love it!” We may actually be talking soon about doing some cool things with this experiment. But that’s exactly what Joanna talks about; some people will get it – some will not. The social medium will only make sense for a job search with certain employers; mostly in marketing, media, and online industries. If you’re a hairdresser, forget it – its doubtful online social media will help you in your job search.
So what was the actual winning technique that ended the SMJH? With all the tools, resources, and tips available, it was a single email to my closest colleagues that actually put the word out and got me connected to Smart Solutions. So though I hope to help people with the resources below – for me, it ended up being who I knew – and who they knew, that was the key to success. Old news – but it really does seem to be all about (real) connections.
Okay, let’s get to some resources. I hope these will help in your own job search. If you have additional tips or resources, please comment – let’s help each other end this job drought.
First, I recommend creating a LinkedIn profile. Even if it’s not useful for your job search activities, it is still a great resource to show off your professional side, get recommendations from co-workers, employees, employers…even clients. Once you have a complete profile with employment history, volunteer positions, and a few recommendations – add your profile link to the top of your resume (along with your contact info). It’s an excellent resource that many of today’s employers will appreciate; if not expect.
Feel free to connect to me at http://www.linkedin.com/in/scottorth. I’ll be happy to introduce you to a few recruiters or power networkers in my connection pool.
Job and Resume Posting Sites
It seems like there are a million of these out there. That’s because there are. Here are a few that I found most useful in my own job search.
- SEOmoz Marketplace
- Post yourself on Twitter through Friendfeed
- http://twitter.com/seojobs (if you’re in SEO/SEM) – Or look for similar Twitter resources for your industry
Blogs, articles, and other job search resources
As I said earlier, my experiment only lasted five days, so I’m sure this list can get much longer with your help. The following are resources that were offered to me during my job search. They may be useful for you as well. If you have additional resources, please comment and let us all know.
- http://www.sempdx.org/business/jenuinely-joanna-my-interview-with-joanna-lord/ for social media and online job hunting info.
- http://www.theonlinebeat.com/blog/other/spy-you-sign – It might be a good idea to investigate your prospective employer; the same way they will investigate you.
- http://www.jibberjobber.com A great place to track your job search activities
- http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10073394-2.html – A great list/database of who’s hiring. Posted on cnet
- www.squarepegsolution.com – A good book on some tips and tricks to land your next job
- http://seogurltalk.blogspot.com/2008/10/its-time-for-social-media.html – If you want to create profiles across a mind-boggling number of social sites, here is a great list of all the sites you should care about.
Thanks to all of you who took the time to follow the Social Media Job Hunt (SMJH) experiment. I am thankful that it lasted less than a week. This brings me to my final tip…
If you plan to do a similar campaign on your own, let me warn you; social media takes an incredible amount of time, persistence, and determination. If not for my early success, I’m not sure how long I could have kept up with the minute-by-minute tasks needed to stay on top of it – and to respond to the flow of emails, tweets, and Facebook contacts.
The work is well worth it, as I landed a new position in only five days and lined up a good deal of freelance work as well. Just prepare yourself. I worked harder looking for a job, than I ever did when I had a job.
Best wishes and good luck in your own endeavors.