If you’re looking for a job, ask yourself if you’ve tapped every possible resource. Have you scoured Craigslist and made Monster your homepage? Have you set Google Alerts for every possible word combination that could land you a job? Have you checked Facebook? And I’m not talking about Facebook’s rather useless Marketplace.
While Facebook is better known for helping people lose their jobs, it’s largely an untapped resource when it comes to job hunting. With 500 million users, it has the potential to be one of the largest. But finding a job through Facebook isn’t about pestering your friends and junking up their news feeds with status updates like “Unemployed and Looking For Work — Help A Dude Out.” It’s about making the most of your network in a positive way, not by being a nuisance.
By joining groups, keeping track of your friends’ updates and just keeping in touch with your network, you can turn Facebook into a site that does so much more for you than just keep tabs on your exes. Here are five ways to turn Facebook into another resource that can help you land a job. If you’ve scored a job through Facebook, we want to hear your story, so leave us some tips in the comments below.
1. Read Your News Feed
Amanda Flahive is known as the Diva of the Details at Sevans Strategy, a Chicago-based public relations and new media consultancy. She wears many hats in her job working with social media maven Sarah Evans. But Flahive landed the gig just from reading her Facebook feed.
Both Flahive and Evans attended the same college but were in different programs — while they knew of each other, they didn’t know each other well. About a year and a half ago, they were brought back together by a mutual friend’s wedding. Evans threw an engagement party, and the two reconnected. “At that time Sevans wasn’t in existence,” says Flahive. “[Sarah] was still at her old position as the director of communications at a community college. We talked about what we were both doing, but the conversation wasn’t too serious. Sevans might have been something in the back of her brain at the time, but it wasn’t something we discussed that night.”
Since they were both going to be in the same wedding, they decided to keep in touch on Facebook, the way many old acquaintances re-connect.
“I’m a person who pretty regularly reads my Facebook news feed. If it’s not something regarding Farmville or Mafia Wars, then I most likely read it,” she says. “So I was reading through updates on a random day, and had been in one sales and marketing position, and moved to another, and I was OK, but wasn’t loving it.”
Flahive was keeping an eye out — looking on Monster, looking on Career Builder, but wasn’t really hitting anything. “Those sites are quite often so flooded with people that are looking for jobs, that it was my experience that you don’t get very far on those sites. I would send a resume in and either not have it go anywhere or in a direction that wasn’t right for me,” she says.
So on a random day, Flahive saw that Evans had posted that she was looking for a three-quarter time assistant. “From the exact Facebook post: Live in Chicago and love details? Looking for someone to work about 30 hours a week, checking e-mail, booking travel etc. E-mail Jen (her then assistant) for more details.”
Flahive didn’t respond right away, but figured she had nothing to lose since she knew Evans on both a personal and professional level. Evans called her for an interview, and they had a good laugh about it. “I said, I can’t believe we are having this phone call, but if it weren’t for Facebook, we wouldn’t be having it.”
In fact, Evans didn’t post the job anywhere else other than Facebook and Twitter (also the method that Sevans uses to hire its interns). The two had a conversation about the position and Evans ultimately offered Flahive the job through a direct message on Facebook.
“It’s not what I expected to get out of Facebook,” says Flahive who says it’s typically used to catch up with friends and look at baby photos. “I never thought I’d get a job out of it. But now that I have, it makes all the sense in the world. And what’s more, my job got a whole lot bigger after I accepted via Facebook. Now it’s full time, I’m doing development and marketing; it led to a much bigger job.”
2. Get Active in a Group
Web developer Enrico Bianco works at Post Rank but found his previous job creating web applications for theCanadian Society of Immigration Consultants, just by joining a Facebook group.
Bianco was in the middle of job search, looking to switch gears. At the time, he’d been doing mostly Java enterprise development and wanted to get into Ruby on Rails instead. “I started doing rather vigorous networking, and other job searching stuff. I used to answer posts on Craigslist, go to professional networking events for social media and Ruby on Rails.” On a whim, he says, he found a Facebook group for the Toronto Ruby on Rails community and left a message in the discussion board saying that he had something to offer, if anyone was looking for someone to do some Ruby on Rails development.
Lo and behold, he got a message back from the systems manager at CSIC, who asked for his resume, which in turn lead to an interview, and Bianco landed the job. “So it was really, very much a fluke, but a fortunate one,” he says. “She ended up telling me later that one of the key reasons she hired me was that she saw I was active in the community, and that I was engaging with others on the Internet.”
But Bianco casts it off as a fluke, and he admits it cost him nothing to do. “I wouldn’t use it as a primary tool for job searching, but at the time I was willing to use any resource I could.”
3. “Like” or “Friend” Companies You Want to Work For
Sandra Aaron is a Toronto-based event planner who was looking to expand her knowledge of the destination wedding scene, but she found it a difficult prospect. “It’s really hard to properly plan destination weddings without full knowledge of the travel industry,” she writes via e-mail. “So I decided I wanted to find a side job with a travel agency.”
Aaron spoke with many companies in her search to break into the industry, but the one company she really wanted to align herself with was difficult to get into, as their average new hire had 20 years of experience in the travel industry — something Aaron didn’t have.
Aaron says she spent a few months trying to find her way in, asking everyone she knew if they knew anyone with the company. Then one day, she saw a status update from the company’s Facebook Page that they were seeking experienced travel advisers. “With nothing to lose I commented, asking if they ever hired destination wedding planners. A couple of weeks later their marketing guy sent me a note on Facebook, saying he would be happy to pass on my resume to the right person.” Aaron’s resume ended up in the hands of the general manager who was so impressed with it, that within a few weeks, Aaron scored an interview.
Today, she’s an independent contractor for the company. She works from their offices, and says it’s a great situation. “I have access to their resources, and their staff has access to my knowledge and resources within the wedding industry. I would have never gotten the meeting if it weren’t for Facebook.”
4. Participate in a Contest
Andrew Miller scored his internship at Fast Horse, a Minneapolis marketing firm through a contest on Facebook. The company announced that its newest intern would be the candidate who could gain the most “Likes” in a week. Miller was tipped off to the contest by a college professor and quickly went to work on his campaign.
“I tried to tap into every single social network I had ever been a part of,” he said. “And just send out messages that said, hey if you have a few minutes can you help me win this dream internship? All it takes is liking my Page.”
Miller says he didn’t even start out with the most Facebook friends, but he was able to mobilize people by giving them simple directions to vote. That strategy won him 725 “Likes” and the internship.
“Having to market myself in this process has helped me in thinking about how to market actual products. The mobilization that I was able to accomplish is something I do all the time now, contacting blogs and newspapers, trying to get them to run stories,” he said.
Miller, who moved 1,700 miles from Portland, has completed his three month internship and it was extended another three months, which he says is a typical track to full-employment.
“If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that social media can be such a powerful tool for establishing those relationships. There is something so hollow about submitting your standard application, resume and cover letter. With this I was able to be in communication with the decision makers and be sure this was going to be a good fit for me. I would absolutely use social media again to engage with those decision makers.”
5. Start a Dialogue
Fast Horse, the company that hired Andrew Miller as an intern, is a big believer in the Facebook hiring process, according to its creative director and founder Jorg Pierach.
When Fast Horse launched its Facebook Page, it didn’t want the campaign to just be a megaphone for the work they were doing, but rather they wanted to use it as a place to interact with job candidates, sort of a digital informational interview, says Pierach. The company directs job seekers to its Facebook Page so its employees have a place to share information about the company, their culture and what they do.
“So instead of a resume disappearing into a file somewhere, we have a way to keep in touch, and the Fast Horse experience is the way to do that,” he said. “We started this about a year and half ago and we’ve hired about four or five people this way. They started a dialogue, and when a position opened up we already had a good idea of what that [person] was about.”
Pierach says that the intern search was about more than just finding candidates; it was a way to assess them as well, so the candidates could show off their marketing chops. The company asked for video introductions and interviewed 15 candidates before narrowing it down to three finalists who competed for the most “Likes.”
“In a sense it wasn’t about hiring one candidate, but seeing three strong people and their talents. As our needs continue to grow, we know that there are people out there that we liked. It’s about talent cultivation and about them showing us what they can do. But ultimately [it's] about keeping in touch with really talented people.”
Pierach looks at it as a different kind of interview — one that requires people to take the initiative to weigh in with their own thoughts. It’s also a method that saves the company a lot of time when looking to fill a spot. “We have a pre-qualified group of people we can turn to very quickly,” he said, noting that the company saves itself from having to post on job boards and slug through cover letters. They can bring in candidates they know are going to rise to the top, because they have been watching each other on Facebook.
“We recently had a new opportunity that was a very, very quick turn around. We needed a designer the next day. We turned to our Facebook Page and within a couple of hours we had six or seven people who raised their hands, all people we knew, to say they were available. We were able to get them in the next day and keep moving.”
In the future, you can expect to see more companies looking at the hiring process this way, and Pierach suggests that people coming out of college would do well to be aggressive in identifying the companies they want to work with and start the dialogue.
Article by Stephanie Marcus on Mashable.
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