Tag Archives: jobsearch

Job hunting is the new black

29 Jun

Today’s job market is a challenge – perhaps more so now than any other time in recent memory. Old rules still apply, news ones are being made, and frankly, social media has changed the game – at least in the world of communications. 7 years ago when I graduated college – or is it 8– yikes – social media was in its infancy. AOL Instant Messenger was one of the hottest things on the planet, Blackberries were for powerbrokers, and Wi-Fi access was considered the golden egg. If you had Wi-Fi you were living large. 

In those past 8 years, I’ve been lucky enough (cursed?) to dive into the job market 3 times. Twice willingly, once not so willingly. One thing that has changed more than anything else is the process. The questions, the etiquette, attire, actions, etc. are the same but how I went looking for a job changed dramatically. In 2003 most of my applications were emailed, but some were printed out on –gasp – paper and either mailed or faxed – I know, I sound like I fart dust talking like this. But it’s true.

Last time around however, everything was different. There wasn’t one time where I mailed or faxed my resume to a company. But there were multiple tweets, an online CV, LinkedIn, emails and a strategy I had to find not only a job, but a job I loved. I did my research, found the companies/industries I liked and got into a rhythm. One thing that really helped me narrow down where I wanted to be was The Conversation Prism

Brian Solis & Jess3 created The Conversation Prism to graphically represent all that social media has to offer. Each “petal” defines tools to be used for a specific goal. I used the petals to ID the branches of social media that best fit my overall goal – finding a job. Below are the petals I focused on:

• Blog Platforms
• Social Networks
• Micromedia
• Twitter Ecosystems

Obviously, not all petals/websites are created equal – certain areas carry more weight with employers or industries than others. Most websites specialize in one aspect of social media – blogs can be an informative way to stay in touch with job trends, Twitter can provide real time employment opportunities, and still others allow you to network with peers.

I also used LinkedIn, VisualCV.com, and Twitter (I followed NMS for example!) to support my search efforts – I was looking for a job, and these sites helped promote ME to the world.

The more I used social media, the more social media used me – I had a blog, a Twitter feed, my resume on VisualCV and I reached out to my network on LinkedIn. By creating profiles on each of these sites, I knew exactly who I was connected to, and, more importantly, who they were connected with.

Note, that while I obviously went by my real name in my job search, I’ve branded myself as “sassing me”. Having a husband in the security business does make one think twice about safety, hence I created my brand around “sassing me” – a little play on words since I can sometimes (always?) be sassy, as well as a quote from a favorite movie of mine, The American President. So think of yourself as a “brand” and keep all of your profiles, usernames, and handles consistent. If you are not comfortable using your real name (like me) create an identity specific to you and use it as your brand.

Get into the habit of engaging your social media tactics every day. It was so much easier for me to set goals in my search because I knew what was happening with every tactic I used. Many of the sites I mentioned above have an RSS feeder that allows you to aggregate materials in one spot – much easier than searching 25 websites each day. This was my secret weapon for keeping all the research I was doing in one place, and making sure I remembered where I had been looking. Looking for a job can be like hunting for a needle in a haystack, and every little trick helps.

Finally, because social media is so versatile, it can easily be construed as informal. Your job search, however, is anything but informal. Make smart decisions about when to follow up. Joshua Wachs at internet strategy firm Echo Ditto believes this is five business days. Any sooner and I may have seemed desperate (a big no no – would you date a desperate person? Probably not, so why hire a desperate person) and any later I might have seemed lazy or uninterested – a very big no no. Follow up with a phone call and chase it with an email or vice versa. Be formal, polite, and above all make sure the employer knows you are serious about the position.

Good luck, and happy hunting!

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