Need a job? If you’ve been struggling to find one (and we mean a decent one), there’s a good chance your bank balance is telling you so, along with some combination of your parents, spouse, aunts, uncles and the nosy old couple next door. Virtually every pore of your body might be screaming "hire me!" But the companies you are applying to may not be getting the message.
Just ask Brenden Sherratt, who works in social media and marketing at Sortable.com, a product search engine designed to help consumers make product decisions. After months of poring over employment ads and sending out resumes, he tapped into his online networks and landed a job in just a few short weeks.
So how did Sherratt turn a stagnant job search into a multiple offer situation? Well, it all boils down to 140 characters. Check out how Sherratt used Twitter to get noticed – and hired. (Learn more about how to use social media in Jedi Strategies for Social Media Management.)
Step 1: Stand Out
After months of customizing cover letters, sending out resumes and hoping for the best, Sherratt says it finally dawned on him:
"When someone reads the resume, they know you’ve sent it to everyone and your mother," Sherratt said. "It’s really easy to get lost in that pile."
So Sherratt changed course and sent a message out to his Twitter followers to let them know he was in the market for a job. Then, he started searching for hashtags, such as "#Waterloo" (the city where he lives), "#Jobs" and tags related to social media – the field in which he wanted to be working.
The best social networking involves give and take, and Twitter is no exception. Sherratt didn’t just bombard his followers with tweets about his need for a job; he also forwarded the jobs he found to others in his network.
"Having your friends and network help you is always a good thing," Sherratt said. "I helped them, and they helped me back."
Then, the karma gods smiled. Before long, someone had forwarded Sherratt a lead about a job in social media and marketing at Sortable.com.
Step 3: Wow the Recruiters
Here’s where Sherratt’s job search took an interesting turn. Hoping to impress recruiters, he ditched his tired resume and cover letter in favor of a three-minute video resume, which he posted on YouTube and forwarded to Sortable.
"I was a guy with a limited amount of experience, so I needed to wow them," Sherratt said.
The video was simple – Sherratt explained who he was, why he wanted the job and why he felt he’d be a good fit. It worked. The video hit Sortable’s office and was shared among the employees. Thirty minutes later, Sherratt had lined up an interview.
Step 4: Impress in Person
But Sherratt didn’t stop there. He was determined to keep the ball rolling and get the job. So he went back to Twitter. He was currently running a successful blog for the hit ABC TV series Shark Tank and had nearly 10,000 Twitter followers on that account. So he asked them for a character reference – in 140 characters (which is, of course, the maximum number allowed in a tweet). He arrived at the Sortable office with 20 references in hand.
Step 5: Follow Up
Most employers appreciate a post-interview thank-you note; some even consider it a must. Sherratt didn’t overlook this little courtesy but put his own spin on it. What better way to wrap up an interview for a social media job than by tweeting it to @Sortable?
Twenty minutes later, he was hired.
How’d He Do That?
Using Twitter to find a job is no gimmick, In 2012, companies plan to use social media to fill up to 80 percent of available jobs. Sherratt’s canny use of social media worked because it got the attention of recruiters and landed him two other interviews, including one at Research in Motion (RIM), and showed Sortable’s executives that he had the will and desire to get the job done.
"What impressed us most was not so much the use of social media, but Brenden’s strong personal interest in Web marketing and publishing," said Chris Reid, Sortable’s co-founder. "Everything we saw, from the YouTube video to his personal website, illustrated his passion."
It didn’t hurt that all this Twitter action was a good fit for what Sherratt would actually be doing at Sortable. That said, no matter what job you’re looking for, social media is increasingly becoming an important tool to help you get it. Employers are increasingly seeking out employees with social media savvy for everything from public relations to human resources and, of course, IT. At the very least, job seekers without a social media presence are likely to be at a disadvantage when competing against others who do.
Speak Up, Stand Out, Get Noticed
Is it necessary to use Twitter or one of the other major social networks in your next job search? Maybe not for every type of position. But ask yourself this: If you’re working in the tech world, whether it’s social media or programming, what does a standard PDF (or, worse yet, paper) resume say about you? The only thing that’s constant in the tech world is change. If employers are looking for anything, it’s someone who can bring something new to the table. Why not start with your application?