Marian specializes in social media for job hunters, sometimes gets paid to write, and works with authors who want to build up their personal brand. She blogs over at http://www.marianlibrarian.com and usually features posts under the “uncategorized” tag but likes to pretend it revolves somewhat around Gen Y careers that don’t fit in a box. She founded the Pajama Job Hunt, a crazy cool program that teaches recent grads, job seekers and freelancers how to use social media as the ultimate career tool. Follow her on Twitter.
In a #GenYChat about innovative ways to get a job I was intrigued by Marian’s story about advertising herself and getting employers to come to her. Here is her story. I hope you find it as inspiring as I did!
How I Used Facebook Ads to Get a Job I feel like I’ve told this story a thousand times, and each time the same story gets told, I rag on the resume process and spew my love for social media. Then, maybe you’ll check out my blog and we all go home happy. I’d really like this post to be different. I’d really like you to go home not just inspired but motivated to do something about your job search. (And by “do something” I mean, stop sending out resumes and cover letters since, well, they don’t really work.)
How could I possibly have the authority to tell you that? Let me break it down for you.
May 2009: Recent college grad looking for a job in publishing.
August 2009: Bored. Unhappy. Frustrated.
September 2009: Associate Publicist at a boutique book PR firm in Manhattan.
How the hell did she do that, you might ask?
Strategy: After three months of responding to job postings unsuccessfully, I posted an ad for myself on Facebook, and specifically targeted people at companies where I wanted to work. The ad said, “I want to work for Harper Collins [or Random House or Penguin, etc…], can you help?” Anyone who listed that they worked for one of those companies saw the advertisement. If it caught their fancy, they would click on the ad which would then direct them to my resume. I got freelance work at HarperCollins and also connected with over 100 people in two weeks, including a woman who referred me to an opinion position at the PR firm where I was eventually hired.
Why it worked: The problem with responding to job postings is that you’re one of hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants. You’re never sure if someone sees your resume. You usually don’t know anyone at the company to call and check in with. Basically, there are dozens of problems with simply hitting “apply” on some website. With Facebook ads, you don’t have that problem. They worked for me for a variety of reasons:
People at various companies passed along my resume personally, meaning it got to the top of the pile and I could easily check in with them to make sure it was seen.
I made new connections. Even if someone wasn’t hiring they still got in touch just to say, “Nice job!” They were also more than happy to answer any questions about the industry and were open to critiquing my resume.
The ads made me look impressive. Sure, plenty of people thought the ads were creepy, but more people liked my whole “thinking out of the box” strategy and knew I wouldn’t be just another employee. Also, people are always impressed when you demonstrate an understanding of social media.
Words of wisdom: Recognize that the best way to get a job isn’t always to apply for it directly. I wasted so much time writing perfect cover letters and sending them into the Internet abyss. You have to get out there in a way that people will come to you, not the other way around.
Use a photo. People are visual and like to put a face to a name.
Advertisements targeting specific companies work better than those targeting an industry. Check out the case studies on One Day, One Job, for specifics.
The ads will get you looked at, but they won’t get you a job. Have a kick ass resume and be prepared for interviews to back up your claims.
Have your ad link to a great website. Don’t do this halfway. Include your resume, references, contact information, social media links, a blog, etc… A video could be cool too, thought I haven’t seen many people try it. Get creative! Just don’t let people down by leading them to a crappy excuse for a website.