If you’re hunting for a job, you’ll want to read this. Quite by accident, I stumbled across a number of good job hunting tips at the Geekend conference this morning.
I say “quite by accident” because I didn’t even mean to attend that presentation. I went to the one called “Using the Desktop Database to Simply Your Creative Life,” which I thought would be the one most relevant for work. Turns out it was about Access and similar, stuff I already know. Not that it wasn’t a fine presentation, but I could see I wasn’t going to get anything relevant out of it that I could use at my job. So after about 15 minutes, I snuck out and popped in the room next door to see what was going on. It was a panel discussion with people from Monster.com, BFG Communications, and Memorial University Medical Center. They offered a lot of job hunting tips using social media, and while I’m not looking for a job, I took notes for the benefit of my blog readers who are. Here’s what I got:
– What are the best networks for job hunting? There is no one-size-fits-all answer. You need to find out which networks the recruiters in your industry use, and join those.
– Example of building a relationship: You find out that a hiring manager is on Twitter. You follow her. She tweets that she likes Diet Coke. Later she tweets that she’ll be at a conference. You attend that conference and bring her a Diet Coke.
– Have profiles that are COMPLETELY filled out. Especially on LinkedIn. Recruiters often say, “Well, this person looks like they might be a fit, but we can’t tell because their profile is only 20% filled out.” Then they discard that person as a prospect.
– Make sure your contact info is 100% up to date on all networks you use to job search, whether social networks like LinkedIn or job search sites like Monster or CareerBuilder. You wouldn’t believe how many people seem to be qualified but the recruiters can’t reach them because their info is out of date.
– Update your profile on job search sites and LinkedIn every 30 days. If nothing else, delete your resume and re-upload, even if it’s unchanged. Recruiters will often limit searches to those with activity in the last 30 days, to avoid getting a lot of people who have already found jobs but have not deleted their profile.
– Search Twitter for conversations about your industry using the keywords that are a best fit for you, then follow and join in the conversations.
– To get the attention of people at the company you want to work for, be creative.
One guy bought Google AdWords the company would see when they searched.
Another sent teaser postcards to Disney saying “It’s coming…” and after several of those sent a paint can. Inside the can was her resume, in paper and electronic format.
– It’s all about standing out in that search.
– Absolute most wrong thing to do: Have one resume that you send out for all positions you apply for, without any customizing.
– The new generation of recruiting software scans your resume and creates a word cloud. Then it searches for you on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to develop a more complete picture of who you are. Therefore, get a consistent image of who you are, your goals, etc. on all these sites.
– Ask yourself: What’s the kind of job that I REALLY want? Not the job you need, to pay the bills. Look for specific companies, even if there’s no current opening. Leave comments on their company blogs. Follow them on Twitter. See what they’re interested in. Educate yourself.
– Start a blog. The great thing is, with blogs anyone can have a platform to talk about what’s going on in their industry. It doesn’t matter if you have 1 reader or 10,000. The point is, when you find a job and interview for it, there’s proof that you’re genuinely interested in what’s happening in your industry, because by then you will have been blogging for a while. It will prove that you’re not just saying the right things on your resume and in the interview; you really have a passion for what you do.
– Look for conferences to attend. Can’t attend them? Follow presenters and attendees on Twitter. For example, if you couldn’t make it to Geekend, search for the #Geekend hashtag and follow everyone who is using it. It’s not as good as being there but you’ll get some feeling for what’s going on, and you’ll have people you can contact and ask questions.
– Take an hour a day to read blogs and tweets in your industry.
– Question: Are introverts just screwed job-hunting with the advent of social media? Answer: Not at all. In fact, introverts have an advantage because they think carefully before they say anything.
– Recommended strategy for the “big three” of social media:
LinkedIn – connect with everyone you meet professionally. Think of it as your Rolodex full of business cards.
Twitter – follow people of interest in your industry. Talk to them. If they become uninteresting, you can always unfollow.
Facebook – think of it as “third base” – not everyone gets to go there on the first date. Keep it more private, only let people in you trust. One of the presenters follows 700 people on Twitter but only has 89 Facebook friends.
– Someone asked about having multiple accounts, and I (me, Paul, not one of the presenters) want to chime in. It’s fine on Twitter if you want to tailor accounts to particular interests, or if you want to separate “Professional You” from “Personal You.” On Facebook – don’t do it. This violates their terms of service, to have multiple accounts, and Facebook can suspend both of them. Trying to get an account reinstated on Facebook is like trying to herd cats. They are completely unprofessional and customer service-unfriendly about reinstatements.
On lunch break right now. They served us a catered lunch of chicken fingers and club sandwiches, and punched our badges to make sure that no one pulled The Nuh-Uh Move and tried to go through the food line twice. Back this afternoon for three more small conferences, the TwitPic keynote, and the after-party at SEED.
(Sorry if this contains any typos – on a tight schedule, don’t have time to proofread as thoroughly as usual)