I retweeted this wonderful slideshow on How Social Media Enables the Job Search by Shannon of Shannonboudjema.com on how social media can give you the upper-hand when looking for that job that’s “somewhere out there waiting for you”. I think the slideshow wonderfully highlights that this is far from a passive act, hence my motivation in writing this blog entry after a near three month absence. I’m going to go out on a limb, and maybe some recruiters can confirm or deny, you will Google an applicants name before opening their resume? If the answer you’re looking for doesn’t appear on the first page, do you dig deeper?
Then there was this frightening story from the NY Post today shared that the Labor Department reports 52.2% of young Americans (aged 16-24) are unemployed, the highest rate post-World War II. I’m not going to go into the political debate of this issue, but it puzzles me how in none of my economics classes I took in business school we addressed if an unpaid intern, who has already graduated as is part of the labor force (who is actively seeking employment), qualifies as employed or unemployed. We probably never addressed it because it wasn’t a common reality.
It seems more so than ever that if you want a job in PR or marketing, in order to compete with the surplus of mid to senior level unemployed professionals, you have to offer the total package to be recognized and you have to perform even more exceptionally to earn a reward. Should you not have a slew of work samples or a portfolio ready to present, social media is the obvious answer to make you as a product an accessible, flexible and, sometimes most importantly, a visible commodity. The internet has endless space for you to demonstrate your skill and expertise, where you have the opportunity to become an early adopter, thought leader, or expert in virtually anything, both literally and figuratively speaking. You can do this, first and foremost, with your name. I didn’t think my name was common until I Googled it, and as I’ve mentioned before, I’m on a never ending quest to claim it as my own and win the #1 spot on the results page. You can of course take a different route and come up with your own creation, sometimes a fixed handle you’ve always had on the web (but beware of what it might backtrack to), a variation of a nickname or your initials, or some keyword/phrase tacked on to your name can be pretty catchy too. Whatever you choose, or are thinking about choosing, there are some key things you should research, like the availability of your “brand”. Check for your domain name on a service like GoDaddy, but also register your name across the larger social sites through one of my new favorite finds, KnowEm, this should give you some initial SEO feedback as long as you populate those pages with content. I’m no expert, but try adding relevant data, links, photos, or whatever it is you’re interested in, with descriptive captions, tags and filenames, and you should have the foundation of possible trails leading to you. The only passive part of this social media process is that once you’re visible (and there’s no metric I know of) and you announce your available, opportunities just might start trickling in.
Not sure where to start? In summary, here are a few things I recommend to jump starting your visibility and reach:
- Get that consistent username registered everywhere you deem relevant ASAP. With promo codes found on RetailMeNot and/or FatWallet, a .com domain will run you less than $8 (usually $7.49, from what I’ve seen) for one year. I’ve bought three and haven’t done much with them, but that’s because I’m busy with building everything else first. I bought the three domains I want and I will direct traffic to them later. Yes, I have zero income and can hardly afford groceries, but I will easily substitute buying a domain for eating instant ramen for a week. It’s worth it.
- Show off that objective and analytical brain of yours and what that expensive degree/piece of paper on your wall paid for by tweeting what you’re reading and providing a concise commentary.
- Use that short bio section on your Twitter, instead of putting something witty or obscure, put in a brief sentence about what you tweet about. For example, my profile at the moment reads “Recent college grad, interning at a PR agency. I tweet about mktg, business, startups, events, food & SF. I’m also a Subaru enthusiast, Yelper & shoe collector.” While the last sentence provides some human aspect to the blurb, the first two sentences offer what my expertise/career background is in and next what I’m interested in and can share with YOU.
- Learn the fundamentals of hashtags (#hashtags) on Twitter. They are immensely important so that relevant people can find you as you engage and provide input on topics within the Twittosphere. With this, careful tagging might bring you both quality and quantity in visitors and curious surfers.
- Read, read, read, read, read, and then provide feedback. This gives you the opportunity to engage in a dialogue and gain more knowledge, and on the flipside of that it leaves another imprint of you on the web that people can trickle back to your site through.
- Get out there. RSVP and attend local Tweetups (use resources like Twitter search, Twtvite, Eventbrite, etc.), and depending on your area of interest you may look into mixers/networking events, industry happy hours (though, take it easy on the alcohol), guest speaker events, company/product launches, book signings, professional association meetings, expos/tradeshows (if you can’t afford admission, research on how to become a volunteer; I’ve done this for the PBWC annual conference & quarterly breakfast clubs, the first Twitter Conference [#140tc], the Green Festival, IAA West Best in Show, etc.). RSVPing online through sites like Facebook, Eventbrite and others can serve as another digital trail back to your site and they can maybe help you track down some familiar faces or people you met post-event. I try to attend one of these events per week so long as that it doesn’t break the bank, interfere with my internship or my newest long term commitment, studying for the GMAT.
The fun part? You could even meet some internet or Twitter celebrities.
@GuyKawasaki & I at the #SFAMA Meeting – Advertising, PR, and Marketing Suck! Now What?, San Francisco Grand Hyatt, 8/27/09. He was hilarious moderating the panel with Renee Blodgett (@MagicSaucemedia), Louis Gray (@louisgray), Loic Le Meur (@loiclemeur), & Steve Patrizi (@spatrizi). Not the best photo of me, but I was a little giddy standing next to him!
- Diversify your content into varying forms of multimedia like pictures, slideshows, vlogs, etc. These files prove as prime opportunities to spread your name far and wide as you can tag, comment, link, embed and do a multitude of other things to correctly classify your video so relevant people can find it and strengthen your SEO so it leads back to you, the person behind the creation. I’ll be honest, with I need better discipline myself with this guideline looking at a Google image search of my first and last name — an accurate photo of me doesn’t appear until the third page.
I’m not claiming to be an expert in any of these techniques (as I admitted, I’m especially poor with item #7) nor am I saying that these will make you an overnight success, but these techniques have landed me several interviews with startups and individuals looking for some freelance work, sometimes from stumbling upon my Twitter account or finding me on LinkedIn where they noticed my status update was “seeking full time employment in San Fransisco or the East Bay.” These techniques have helped me tremendously build relationships and gather information more so than not investing time into taking ownership of my name on the internet.
I was having a conversation with my friend Roxanne the other day, and both of us, graduates of the class of 2009, both we’re irritated that our parents and adult mentors alike have this conception that we all think that we can just waltz out of college (and our CSU was by no means an Ivy League), demanding $50k a year. Give me a break! We can’t believe that so many people think that our generation has this mentality! In conclusion I hope you take one of two things away from this blog entry.
- The entire class of 2009 does NOT expect employers to be fighting over them or offering some dream salary to just come to them
- The entire class of 2009 does NOT expect employers to be fighting over them or offering some dream salary to just come to them, however with the right personal branding through social media on the internet, and the more you invest in learning, contributing, and maybe even innovating, something might just come to you.