There is a popular myth that two-thirds of all available jobs aren’t advertised, that is to say the majority of vacancies are filled through networking.
But in the current economic climate, jobs are hard to come by, and the competition for those jobs is fierce.
In days gone by, having a degree was enough to make yourself stand out. But nowadays a far higher proportion of A-level leavers go on to pursue higher education, making your degree worth less than it may have done 20 years ago.
But don’t despair – you are a child of the technological revolution! You have a postgraduate diploma in Twitter, a Master’s in Facebook, and a PhD in the internet compared to your grey-haired peers.
What they have in experience is rivalled by your impressive online ingenuity, but don’t think that getting that job will be as simple as writing on the CEO’s Facebook wall or following him on Twitter. You’ll need to be more proactive than that.
The Big Choice shows you the vital tools and methods you’ll need to get ahead in the social media race.
Twitter is a fantastic tool to find like-minded people and immerse yourself in your sphere of interest. Follow anyone who works for the company you’re trying to get the attention of, and follow official company accounts too – they will provide information on themselves and on the industry that will be a godsend if you manage to get an interview. However, don’t spoil your chances by tweeting offensive remarks or boring breakfast choices. Sites like tweleted.com can recover deleted tweets, so don’t say anything that you wouldn’t want any potential bosses to read. Get round this potential dilemma by creating a secondary account that you keep clean. Finally, communicate! There’s no point reading all of that industry-talk if you’re not prepared to chip in with your two cents. Twitter is brilliant at facilitating two-way communication, so take advantage of it.
Yes, compared to Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn may seem soul-chillingly boring. But in business terms, LinkedIn often separates the wheat from the chaff. Many recruiters are starting to use LinkedIn as a major head-hunting route. You probably won’t know many people on there, but that provides a useful advantage in filtering out online friendship clutter and getting to know the serious networkers. Use keywords when filling out your profile, as head-hunters will be strapped for time and will be impressed if you can succinctly convey information. Emphasise results, not gained skills. If you’ve worked in an office for five years, recruiters will know that you know how to use Powerpoint, but they won’t know that you increased productivity by 20% unless you tell them.
3. Get a website
Sites like WordPress.com and Tumblr.com offer amazingly customisable websites (sometimes with your own domain name) for very little money. Sign up and get writing about your industry. Potential employers will be impressed if they can see evidence that you’re dedicated, so update your site regularly to prevent it looking like the online equivalent of granny’s attic. Monitor your site stats to see where your hits are coming from, which will point you in the right direction to mould your site as necessary. Don’t worry about your content not being intellectual or insightful enough – you aren’t at the top of the ladder yet – but try to show that you are switched on enough to succeed in your future job.
4. Create a video resume
At the time of writing, a search for “video resume” (in quotes – learn how to use search engines properly) on YouTube brings a little over 5,000 results. That’s an awfully small amount given how many new jobs are up for grabs each year, so a well done video resume that you successfully advertise will automatically make you stand out (spend a few minutes browsing the results on YouTube and you’ll realise that some are so bad that they probably act as a marker of who not to employ). Just like your CV should be short and to the point, so should your resume. Don’t waste the opportunity and simply read your CV out loud, but equally don’t spend the entire time talking about your hobby. Unless you have worthwhile editing skills (and you have to be ruthlessly honest in analysing your skills), leave out the flashy graphics. You’re presenting a resume at the end of the day, not the sequel to Avatar. Lastly, just like with Twitter, don’t do anything you would be embarrassed for other people to watch. Unless you’re David Brent.
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, use Google AdWords to attract the attention of people you want to impress. After Googling his favourite directors in 2009, Alec Brownstein realised that there were no sponsored links in the search results. He bought sponsored links for each of the directors, so that when they Googled themselves (come on, we all do it) an advert at the top of the page said “Hey (director’s name): Googling yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is fun, too!” with a link to Brownstein’s website. He received calls from all but one director that he used the tactic on, and now works at one of the companies he targeted. But beware, a tactic that flatters one CEO may make another run screaming from the room. If AdWords isn’t quite your cup of tea, then use Google Alerts and Google Reader to sign up for jobs postings alerts and RSS feeds, which will keep you up to date with the latest industry developments.
Finally, when you’ve established your online presence, make sure you integrate everything. Put links to your Twitter and LinkedIn profiles and a link to your website on your CV and upload it to your website, along with your video resume. Fill out your Twitter and LinkedIn bio’s and include links to everything. You want to join everything together so that a prospective employer is guaranteed to land somewhere on the mesh of online information about you, rather than a single path that leads nowhere. Remember, employers are strapped for time, and they’re not going to be interested in playing detective to find out more about you.
Follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to a building a successful online presence that markets your skills and wisdom in a slick and accessible way. Finally, remember that ingenuity goes a long way towards making you stand out, but if you go over the top you could do yourself more harm than good. See the examples below for people who got it right (and the link at the bottom for a fantastic example of what not to do). Good luck!
Twitter job hustle: http://vimeo.com/25812909
Google video resume: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRHFEDyHIsc
Alec Brownstein’s ‘The Google Experiment’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FRwCs99DWg
Mike Anderson: the coolest CV you’ve ever seen: http://iancul.com/blog/2009/10/07/michael-anderson%E2%80%94coolest-cv-youve-ever-seen/
Your business card is crap!: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YBxeDN4tbk