I wrote recently about how organizations can use people’s social media feetprints to find talent. There’s also been lots written about how careful people need to be with what they post in the social media sphere lest they inadvertently make themselves unemployable.
Footprints by Flickr user kimba
But I think if you’re looking for a job and you’re not using social media proactively, you’re crazy.
What you can do with it:
- Create a portfolio. I’ve written about this before. Resumes rarely convey your real highlights. They can’t; they’re too stylized. Your social media footprint can do that. On your blog, on your “about” page, you should have a linked, bulleted list of your key accomplishments.
- Prove your reputation. It’s easy to say that you’re important in your field, or that others regard your work highly. But how do you prove it? A list of three references may or may not get called. But if you have been sharing and generally been a good social media citizen, the good will you’ve generated will be on display for all to see. Connect with others in your field, and share tips and ideas with them. Use the usual suspects — Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn.
- Find places to interview. Duh, obvious use. But it’s a biggie. Ask around, keep your eyes open, be in a lot of conversations. You’ll be able to see who’s looking for talent. And you’ll see who knows about such things.
- Research a prospective organization. Before you make an approach, you can check an organization out a bit. LinkedIn is great for this, because you can filter by employer. Who’s worked there? Do you know them? Guy Kawasaki has a great tutorial on using LinkedIn to screen potential employers (to avoid nightmare bosses).
- Watch the prospective organization. Let’s say you’ve gotten that first interview, or even an informational interview. If your statistics systems are set up right (that is, you should be using statcounter or sitemeter on your blog so you can see where people are coming from when they visit your site), you can gauge their interest. Are they checking you out? Doing a good job of monitoring can also help you decide whether the fit with a given organization would be a good one.
- Control follow up. Of course, the follow up letter is a time honored way of making sure the impression you left your interviewers with is actually the one you want them to have. (“As we discussed when we were together, I am a rock star in these four ways…”). If you use email, it’s also a way to leave hooks. Include relevant links to things you’ve written. Watch to see if they click on them. You can tell how interested they are and also calibrate your own responses by watching your stats.
- Stay on the radar. Hopefully, you have gained a sense (by asking in your interview or through research) of what, if any, social networks the hiring managers are a part of. It’ll be either Facebook or LinkedIn — in each they may be a part of a subgroup. Don’t be weird and in-you-face about it . . . but be active in ways they may see. Connect these efforts with your stat-watching. Share links, using url-shorteners that allow you to see traffic stats.
The overall approach is to be active, be visible, and monitor. Don’t just send in the resume, get the interview, and leave it at that.
From the moment you decide to consider working at a firm, you are in a relationship with them, so be proactive about it. It may not get you the job, but it’ll put you higher up on the list.