Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How to use Social Media to land your next job

So far this year has been very interesting. Some companies are using these turbulent times to make bold moves, while many are cutting back expenses across the board. An unfortunate side-affect of these cuts is that a lot of very qualified people are losing their jobs.

So that got me to thinking, if I were looking for a job right now, how could I use social media to help my efforts? Here's some ideas:

1 - Join LinkedIn and completely fill out your profile. Add a professional picture and clearly spell out your qualifications. Think of LinkedIn as your online resume, make sure you clearly detail your past experience, as well as what skills and qualifications you can offer potential employers.

2 - Ask your personal contacts to recommend you on LinkedIn. And make sure you let them know which areas you want them to focus on. If you have retail management and brand management experience, which area should my recommendation highlight?

3 - Contribute to LinkedIn's Q&A section. This is a great way to establish your knowledge and expertise, and a great way to help others. Both will get you noticed very quickly. Chris Penn has another great idea, start a group on LinkedIn for your local area and industry, like if you are looking for a marketing job in Wichita, start the Wichita Area Marketers group.

4 - If you are on Twitter, let your network know that you are available for work AND what type of work you are looking for. If there's one thing you can say about Twitter, it's that the users will bend over backwards to help each other. Everyone knows how tough the economy is right now, so if all we have to do is send a RT to help you get connected to a potential employer, almost everyone is more than happy to spread the word.

5 - Get connected to your local network on Twitter. Or the network for the city(s) you want to relocate to. If possible, start attending local tweetups. Social media is great, but offline networking is never going to go away. Use tools like Twellow, Twitter Local and TwellowHood to find people in a certain industry and location.

6 - Pay close attention to what others are doing. When Warren was laid off from his job, he went public with it, and tapped into his social networks for advice and help. Soon after, he was hired by Radian 6 as their Director of Content Marketing. Coincidence?

7 - Use social media to prove your worth. Are you wanting to use social media in your next job? One area where many companies are totally lacking when it comes to social media is in monitoring what customers are saying about them online. Let's say you have targeted Company ABC as one you want to work for. Start monitoring what is being said about them online, especially by bloggers and on Twitter. Then email them and show them what is being said, and advise them on how they should properly respond, and how they can begin monitoring themselves. Many companies are very interested in getting started with social media, but have no idea where to start, or who to approach to help them get started. When you help them solve an online brand management issue by using social media, you are establishing yourself as that person that can help get them up to speed on social media!

The two areas I would try to leverage with social media to help in my job hunt would be establishing my skillset to potential employers, and as a way to announce my availability. And I mentioned LinkedIn and Twitter because those are two sites I am active on. If you are active on Facebook, you can be doing many of these same things to reach out to potential employers AND your network.

How would YOU recommend a job seeker leverage social media to help them land a position? If you've done this, what worked for you? If you've hired someone where their social media usage was a factor, what helped them?

Bonus: Mashable's 7 Secrets to Getting a Job via Social Media

Nother Bonus: Chris Brogan's free ebook on Using the Social Web to Find Work

Spidey heading to work pic via Flickr user Eneas


Anonymous said...

Hi Mack,

Some goos advices. I also use LinkedIn but compared to Twitter I find it to be more difficult to use your network. It doesn't feel that alive like on Twitter. Although I have to admit that I've got more clients from LinkedIn then from Twitter (we are talking about a very small number but there is a difference).

Showing your expertise on these social networks will be the most important thing you can do : consider it to be like a live continuous interview where you broadcast your knowledge.

Thank you

Anonymous said...


This is great, Mack! I think many who lose their jobs don't have an existing network to help them out. In today's world, it is "job security" to create your community, online, BEFORE you need help. To those who lost their job and don't have an online network to turn to... I would create a blog with quality content in the industry you want to work. Creating quality content, online, helps people see who you are through what you know. It's a great way to attract people to you and build relationships that bring you opportunity.

I love your last suggestion, by the way! That's a sexy job seeking tip!

-John Michael Cannon

John Johansen said...

Great post Mack, especially in this environment.

I would actually focus some of this advice towards people who aren't looking for jobs yet. Build the network that will help you when you are looking. That can be through local professional groups and online social networks.

Also, spend some time showing your expertise in the particular areas you want to focus. I would suspect that a major contributor to Warren's quick success was that he'd already proved his capabilities and his network helped connect him with a company that could use them.

Of course, if you haven't had the chance to do that already, and suddenly find yourself looking for work, remember it's not too late to start taking Mack's advice.

Warren said...

Great advice, Mack, and unfortunately so appropriate today. I appreciate you using me as a case study on how to make social media work in your job search. I am very excited to join the talented Radian6 team and we are poised to do great things.

I would add a couple of things:

- A great way to show your skillset to potential employers is to blog.
- Your single focus of your social media persona should be on finding a job.
- So use your status updates on LinkedIn and Facebook to ask for help or let people know what is going on.
- Have a full, detailed LinkedIn profile with a compelling headline.
- Have a social media resume where people can download your resume and see all of your online activities. I patterned mine after Bryan Person and Chris Penn, but you can see my example at http://sukernek.blogspot.com
- Pick up the phone! Social media will help you find opportunities, but you've got to talk to me outside of the fishbowl, all the time.
- And most importantly, as @JLJohansen says, build your network before you need it. When you need it, it will be there!

Anonymous said...

Great advice here, Mack.

Many things that I've taken heed to during my current layoff, and a couple that I could definitely up my game on.

I particularly love your thoughts on no 5. Being aggressive and making yourself stick out of the crowd is what will differentiate yourself with everyone else. The competition is even stronger nowadays, so taking these extra, and maybe unconventional, steps could make the difference.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mark,

this is my first comment here! :)

I have a very different approach, and it worked.

I use social media to learn everything about the companies that I'd like to join, so I can customise my resumee, email as well as questions to do in a job interview (yes, I do questions in job interviews!).

It is a more aggressive way, but let's you bring out the best of you.

Full details:


Anonymous said...

Really good stuff here, including Warren's additions in the comments. I have recently started and promoted a couple of targeted LinkedIn groups and it is a great way to build name recognition. If you not only get your name out, but consistently add value to your network, it will all come back to you as you need it...

Anonymous said...

Great post and great suggestions by Warren. I, too, have created a social media resume which I plan to keep updated even though I'm not looking for a job right now. I included not only my online activities (actually, that's not true--I didn't include Twitter because I don't keep it strictly business) or Facebook (again, social only for me) but a "why should you hire me?" section where I included a video interview with a reporter talking about how journalism is changing, since my field is social media/communications/PR. I also included a section linking to posts people have mentioned me in.

A social media resume is a good idea because it not only shows your qualifications; it shows your qualifications in action. Anyone can put on their resume that they are familiar with social media; a social media resume puts concrete examples of your knowledge and accomplishments at a potential employer's fingertips.

Anonymous said...

Great post Mack and so relevant in this economy. I think even those of us with jobs and don't think the companies that we work for will downsize, it's still good to keep up these resources because you just never know.

Vicky H (@eeUS)

Piotr Jakubowski said...


Great points in here. I'd have to agree with Toma that LinkedIn is a little more dead than Twitter.

The key in these social media job hunt is the development of relationships in the first place. As much as I'd like to believe that one can get a job by joining Twitter and adding people, it's the building and nurturing of this network that allows people to truly feel the need to reach out and help.

That being said, the classic network that is groomed and maintained using other online tools - email, is probably the most effective.

Anonymous said...

Great article, Mack! As someone in the consulting space, I am always looking for jobs. One Linkedin technique that has been very effective is my use of the status update (aka what are you working on?)box. I frequently use that box to offer URLs to articles of value that align with the work I want to be known for. This keeps me top of mind to my network connections while providing value to those who are interested in the topic. This has produced new business and referrals from network connections.

Thanks for a great blog!

Anonymous said...

Illustrating your great article:

Anonymous said...

Mack - great post. :)

I have found that Twitter is a great outlet for me to make connections at the jobs I apply for. If I tweet "know anyone at X company?" - someone is bound to write back. It helps to make a personal connection and get an "in" at a place I'm interested in. Same for searching through LinkedIn for connections at specific companies.

Anonymous said...

Very nice thought, and i never really thought that Twitter and LinkedIn can be so influenced at this far. Btw i stumbled upon your blog and admire your reputation as a problogger and what most surprising me is that you are using free blog host, appreciated!

Anonymous said...


Great stuff! I especially liked idea number seven!

One key is of course to "make friends before you need them".

I am not looking to switch jobs right now, but when I did about a year ago, I had been blogging (in Swedish) about word of mouth, viral marketing, social media etc for about 2,5 years. Basically, what I did was this:

I figured people who read my blog would be interested in the same things I was.
I figured they would be working and connected in the right environments where I would be able to find an interesting opportunity.
So, it was my perfect audience.

I posted a contest on the blog, with the first and second prize being a.. .. ta da.. .. Seth Godin Action Figure! Yes! =)

I got a couple of nice tips and suggestions, and sent out the prizes. The job I eventually switched to was one I had actually already contacted before the contest, but it was also one of the suggestions.

Anyway, the way you can build your personal brand through social media is amazing. But, the time to start is now! Branding takes time. =)

All the best,

Kristofer Mencák

Anonymous said...

Great tips! In a roundabout way, I found my recent Fallon internship through networking over Facebook.

I agree with one of the earlier comments on the 'aliveness' factor of LinkedIn vs. Twiter. Twitter is about the back-and-forth, conversational insights that you can share immediately. I don't think LinkedIn, despite the groups you utilize, are as good for this.

Once I updated my resume on LinkedIn, I asked for feedback on Twitter. No one has Tweeted back, but that's ok. I plan to reach out to specific people soon...