It’s graduation season!
Last weekend marked two years since I walked the stage in Reed Arena to take my diploma with my left hand, shake with my right, and look awkwardly in the general direction of the off-stage cameraman. I have several friends graduating soon, and I know a few are still struggling finding a job and experiencing common issues – how to differentiate yourself from others, how to show you know what you’re doing, etc.
I recently read an article from @linkedin (since it’s #followfriday, I’ll note that their twitter account is a really great source for tips on job hunting) on the subject of using Social Media to get a job.
The gist – College career centers are encouraging students to blog, Tweet, and use LinkedIn (remember, this article came from LinkedIn) to aid in their job search.
Jobvite released the results of its second annual Social Recruitment Survey and found that 80 percent of companies surveyed are planning to “use social networks to find or attract candidates.” The top three tools specifically mentioned were LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.
The million dollar question: Does it work?
In some industries (web and marketing especially), it’s true, social media can help you get the job. I’ve heard my boss say it a million times. Most recently at a panel on Social Media for PR professionals put on by Clearpoint Creative (they are a placement agency specializing in the design and creative industry, Schipul client, and one of my most helpful contacts when looking for a job in Houston – before I was ever hired at Schipul):
“the hardest part of hiring is cultural fit & values.” @eschipul on using social media to find passionate people to hire
Using Social Media, companies can find people who fit faster than ever before
The bottom line is that because of the internet, it’s easier than ever before to find people who share your values. This is true for nonprofit organizations looking for support, obscure brands looking for their niche market, and companies looking for the perfect employee.
It’s like the story Ed tells of the Greenpeace volunteers who ride a life raft in the middle of the Antarctic Ocean to block the oncoming harpoons of dangerous whale poachers… for free… and take pictures to put on flickr. Before the internet, people like this would be urban legend. But now there’s not only proof… but a fairly easy way for the group to recruit!
Caveat: NOT having Twitter does NOT mean you FAIL at life
I love this clip from Desperate Housewives a few weeks ago. Tom is interviewing for an advertising job and feels inadequate for not knowing what Twitter is. Do you have to keep on top of trends to be proficient in advertising? Yes. Do I feel that most young people in marketing have the opposite problem and their inexperience is seen as a bigger disadvantage? Yes. But I’m a coddled millennial, so take that as you will.
Twitter is a personal branding tool
Yes, I believe that Twitter is a personal branding tool. Even if your personal brand has nothing to do with your job or occupation… it doesn’t have to. Will twitter help you get the job? Depends. You can use Twitter for anything you want. As a brilliant woman once told me – “In social media there are no rules. That’s the best thing about it.”
It’s not all about you
The number one Twitter rule of thumb is the 3 to 1 rule. Post three things that benefit the community before you post one thing about you. This rule applies to people, companies, organizations, and even cats who Twitter.
It’s not all about business
I graduated from Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, a top 10 public business school in one of the most conservative schools in the nation. In virtually every class, we had a detailed lecture on appropriate dress. Business Casual means close toed shoes and slacks while Business Professional means suit, shirt tucked in, pantyhose, no sling backs, hair pulled back, stud earrings, etc.
I remember when I went to my first career fair decked out in my suit – and under it – leopard print. I remember thinking to myself – “If they don’t hire me because I’m wearing leopard print, then I really don’t want to work there anyway.” You are allowed to be you. Companies are made up of people. And they hire people. Not suits or resumes or hair out of your face. Your Twitter account should be you as well.
You don’t have to be an expert, be an enthusiast
You don’t have to be an “expert.” For me, just a mention of the word “expert,” “guru,” or “wizard” completely turns me off. I suggest you act more like an enthusiast.
Whatever your passion – love it, ask questions, and don’t assume you know everything. So if you don’t know where to start, don’t ask yourself “What topics do I know a lot about?” but “What topics am I passionate about?”
Caveat: Remember, it’s public
Twitter is public. Your tweets will be up for years to come. Your grandma might read them. Your children might read them. Your future employer might read them. Keep this in mind when you post.
Don’t forget, Social Media can also help you lose you the job
Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.
Yup, that shit is public.
The company replied back:
Who is the hiring manager. I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.
And she lost the job. Waa waaa.
If you’re looking for a job, starting a Twitter account or blog gives employers an idea of who you are. Talk about your passions and your perspectives,but always use common sense and know that employers will be looking.