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January 18, 2009

Job Searching 2.0: Looking for Work “New School”

I gave a talk at UBC last week on “uncovering the hidden job market online” - from how to find job listings to how to network on and offline. Whether you're a new grad or just looking to make a change, here are a few highlights from my presentation for the social media savvy job hunter:

Tweet Your Way to a Cool Job with twitter_logo_s

Twitter is a great resource for information and job openings are no exception.

  • As JmakTech advises Use the search at search.twitter.com to find specific tweets about companies and recruiters hiring. Search for specific titles you are interested in like ‘community manager‘ or more generic terms like ‘now hiring‘. Also, check out TwitHire which is a free service that has begun aggregating all job related tweets.”

  • Occasionally, (and when you have built up a good database of followers/connections) mention (tweet) that you are looking for work (be specific about what you want - even writing a Twitpitch for yourself (elevator pitch of <140 characters).  If you can add a link to your portfolio, so much the better. (You might also adding your resume/portfolio/linkedin profile as a “posted item” on your Facebook.)
  • Make sure your profile and picture looks like you’re professional - or at the very least, not nuts (I question the motivations of Twitterers with shirtless pics…).  For the “Web” section, use your blog, website or Linkedin profile - which ever you think would present you best/most-interesting.  If you have any mad design/photography skills you could upload your own background design.  Or bereft of any such talent (as I am) you can look to a “Pimp my Twitter Background” type site, or even get one customized, to make your profile stand out and mesh with your brand.
  • Create real relationships.   Schawbel notes: “Most people get jobs on Twitter by already having hundreds or thousands of followers. For example, I’ve heard of at least ten people getting a job by tweeting “just got laid off, looking for a job in finance” and then receiving a few direct messages with people who want to help them. Of course, these individuals had built trust, credibility and relationships with their followers over time, so they were more inclined to come to their rescue. You can do the same, just start right now!
  • Follow the companies you want to work at (or Twitters who work at that company).  But don’t harass or pester - just be friendly, lay low and see if they tweet about a job opening.  They just might.

rob-cottingham-tweet-social-signal-job2

Obviously Linkedin (which is devoted to making business connections) can be very helpful for job seekers:

  • Linkedin allows you to build an online resume which includes links to your company, blogs etc.
  • From there you can connect to people you know (e.g. friends, present collegues and employers and old collegues and employers).
  • You can ask your contacts to make an introduction to someone in their connections with whom you’d like to connect.
  • You can ask for advice from the Linkedin populace as a whole, or from your friends. (Just remember: If it’s public it’s trackable, so questions like “John at Company X seems like a total douche.  Is he?” might not work so well.)
  • Plus, when you upload your email contact list, you may find there are more people you know that you can  link up with than you originally thought.

(For more tips, see the “Required Reading” list at the bottom of this post).

Better Job Search Sites

  • Sign up for Jiibe. (Full Disclosure: I’m working on some promotion for Jiibe though Capulet Communications, but I would write this even if I wasn’t). I’m all about their theory of finding a job based on your ideal work culture (Mashable called them “eHarmony for Jobs.)  I’ve worked at my share of companies and it’s astounding how much of an impact the people you work with, the work climate and the company policies can have on how much you enjoy what you do.
  • Want to see what’s “out there” in a big way?  Check out job listings on a site like Simply Hired which aggregates the jobs posted on other sites.
  • Search job-specific sites.

Do Some Research - Online

  • You can use the web to research a particular company/position - but it goes way beyond that. Guy Kawasaki remarks: “Companies will typically check your references before hiring you, but have you ever thought of checking your prospective manager’s references ? Most interviewees don’t have the audacity to ask a potential boss for references, but with LinkedIn you have a way to scope her out.  You can also check up on the company itself by finding the person who used to have the job that you’re interviewing for. Do this by searching for job title and company, but be sure to uncheck ‘Current titles only’. By contacting people who used to hold the position, you can get the inside scoop on the job, manager and growth potential.”
  • Ask for advice.  When I was switching careers and considering going into technology, I looked up local technology bloggers and wrote them a polite email explaining who I was, my interests etc., asking them to let me know if they had any suggestions for companies that they thought would be a good fit.  Many responded with suggestions and some even passed my email on to their contacts or met up with me for a coffee to talk about possibilities.  I established relationships with some of these bloggers and kept in touch with several.  It was also easier when I ran into them in person (at tech/social media meetups etc.) to introduce myself, since I didn’t feel like a complete stranger.

As you can see, job searching isn’t limited your local paper, your favourite company’s website or Monster.com. Just try using some social media tools to network and learn and you might soon have your dream job. And perhaps a few new friends.

For more job hunting tips, check out my full Job Searching 2.0 presentation - and be sure to do the required reading below!

Required Reading:

Other Resources:

Sponsored Links

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