#HandMadeChat No. 50: How To Use Social Media To Get a Job

On Thursdays, Indie Business Network hosts #HandmadeChat, a Twitter talk show to educate, train and inspire creative and artisan entrepreneurs to become profitable business owners. While the show is aimed mainly at entrepreneurs who make and sell handmade consumer products, the topics and discussions can empower and encourage the growth of any small business.

This chat was sponsored by Gaisie Body Essentials, using natural ingredients to create amazing beauty products.

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Our guest was Brandon Uttley of Sales Performance International in Charlotte, North Carolina, where we are headquartered. Brandon is a personal friend of Donna Maria, our founder and CEO. He had his own business when they met, but last year, Brandon decided to return to the world of traditional employment. dM had a front row seat to the process, and was so impressed with how Brandon used social media and new technologies to land a job that she wanted to share it with you. Not every Indie needs or wants a traditional job, but we all know someone who does, and every Indie may one day want to go back to the “work” world. This post is for you and your friends if you ever find yourself in that position. There are some golden advice nuggets here.

Q1: WHAT GAVE YOU THE IDEA TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO GET A JOB?

A1: I was inspired by people I knew who had used social media to get a job. It's very powerful. For example, check out this video showing Chris Brogan, Peter Shankman, Jason Falls and other influencers in the social media community endorsing DJ Waldow for a job.

I also was motivated to find a job quickly, and wanted to make things happen. One of the benefits of social media is speed. I also had a lot of connections, fans and followers on various social networks and was really wondering if they would pay off during my job search.

Q2: ARE RESUMES STILL EFFECTIVE WAYS TO LAND A JOB INTERVIEW?

A2: To me, resumes are passé. You need one of course, but there are better ways to gain attention. Most employers go straight to LinkedIn, which is better than a static resume. Some people like to use free career sites. The one I used ripped my resume to shreds, in an obvious effort to upsell me to some of their other services. A resume is simply a calling card in my opinion.

Q3: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MORE TRADITIONAL WAYS I CAN USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO GET A JOB?

A3: Think of social media as channels for personal branding. It's important to register your name as a domain name and get a good, branded email address to start with. Then create a blog to showcase your expertise and samples of your work. Secure your “personal brand name” on all the top sites–Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube and Google+. On the flip side, make sure you follow every potential employer on their social sites — you're missing out if you don't.

Q4: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MORE INNOVATIVE WAYS TO USE SITES LIKE LINKEDIN AND TWITTER TO LAND A JOB?

A4: Use the advanced search features on LinkedIn to hone in on the right people to reach. Also, most people don't realize you can download your Linked In connections. You should do this often to keep them in your contacts database, and then you can email them. Don't spam of course, but you can prune the list for different purposes. LinkedIn also has incredible features like LinkedIn Signal, which allows you to browse only relevant updates in your stream. s and LinkedIn Today , which allows you to set up channels of particular interest to you. They are both great for seeing what people and companies you are targeting are talking about.

Q5: HOW DID YOU USE YOUR MAILING LIST OF FRIENDS AND ACQUAINTANCES TO LAND A JOB?

A5: I started with my LinkedIn connections–about 1,300 at the time. I figured they were the ones most likely to know of opportunities. The first thing I did was download each of them into a database, and then I cleaned up the list. I set up a free Mailchimp account and added everyone. (Make sure you scrub the list carefully and put some thought into it. Downloading lists from LinkedIn and then using them to spam or recklessly email people is a violation of LinkedIn's Terms of Service.) I narrowed the list down, and then told everyone in a first email why I was emailing them and how to opt out.

I committed to send out at least one email a week to my contacts. I didn't want to be “that guy” who just asks for help one time and then disappears. I also brainstormed a way to provide value, as opposed to just asking for help. That led me to my idea to include a few “cool tech tools” that I liked in each email. Those were an instant hit with my friends. During my 2-month search (yes, I landed a job in two months using this method), I got hundreds of emails and phone calls, many with “insider information” about jobs that were not publicly posted. Even now, over a year after landing my job, I still send a “Cool Tech Tools,” email each month, and my friends still enjoy it.

Q6: WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE WHEN USING SOCIAL MEDIA IN THEIR JOB SEARCH?

A6: First, they think that just by putting the word out a couple times, it will go viral. It won't. You have to work it daily to stay on people's radar. Second, some people put too much emphasis on the wrong platforms. For example, Twitter was only marginally helpful during my search, leading to only one very promising interview. I checked it daily, but my focus was on connecting with people through my email newsletter.

Q7: WHEN SEEKING A JOB, SHOULD I HAVE A FACEBOOK PAGE (AS OPPOSED TO A PERSONAL PROFILE PAGE ONLY)?

A7: I don't think that matters much. Unless you are a really big deal, you probably don't need a Page (vs. a personal profile)! In either case, be extremely mindful of what you post during a job search. Some stuff will turn off potential employers, like cursing, or controversial subjects like politics and religion.

Q8: HOW CAN I USE A BLOG TO INCREASE MY CHANCES OF LANDING GOOD JOB INTERVIEWS?

A8: Most experts will tell you your blog should be your “home base,” and that is true. It's the one place where you have the best ability to make it look and sound exactly how you want it. Instead of just writing random posts, develop a coherent theme around a few key topics. Use it as a chance to review books in your industry, interview top leaders, summarize events events and write commentaries. Start doing a blog before you need a job, and keep doing it after you land a job. It will always be a huge asset.

Q9: CAN I USE VIDEOS TO INCREASE MY CHANCES OF GETTING A JOB, OR IS THAT OVERKILL?

A9: Absolutely videos will give you a leg up. A lot of people (myself included) aren't as confident doing videos, yet they can yield great results and search engine rankings. I'm trying harder to work on my video skills and every job seeker should think of creative ways to tell their story. Look again at what DJ Waldow and his friends did — asking his friends who were comfortable on video to make the videos for him. Genius!

Q10: NOW THAT YOU HAVE A JOB YOU LOVE, HOW DO YOU LEVERAGE NON-JOB RELATED SOCIAL MEDIA OUTLETS?

A10: I am using the same channels I did before to connect with industry thought leaders and build credibility to drive leads to my employer, Sales Performance International. Remember that most social media outlets are not “job vs. non-job” specific — they are just places to connect and share. The people who actively “work” the channels consistently, regardless of the purpose they have in mind, are the ones who rise to the top.

Q11: WHAT OTHER TIPS AND INSIGHTS CAN YOU SHARE ABOUT USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO GET A JOBS?

A11: Twitter Lists can be your best friend. Make targeted categories of lists of people and companies to follow and engage with on Twitter. You can do something similar with Facebook Interest lists. My best advice is to do everything you can to connect with influencers directly, and ideally get their permission to send them emails. Without my email list, I doubt I could've landed a job so quickly.

Also, don't be afraid to fail, or do things differently. The job market is highly competitive, and employers appreciate people who are bold and creative.

More About Brandon Uttley

Brandon Uttley is a social media consultant and a public relations and marketing professional with over 25 years of experience. He is currently the Social Media Product Manager for Sales Performance International, the global leader in sales training, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Connect with Brandon:

Website
Facebook
Twitter

When Is The Next #HandmadeChat?

The next #HandmadeChat will be Thursday, May 16, 2013, at 8pm ET, when  Chelsea Elam from Yum Yum Candles will share How To Start A Candle Company.

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About Donna Maria Coles Johnson

Donna Maria is an author, podcaster, attorney, and the founder and CEO of the Indie Business Network, providing affordable product liability insurance and mentoring. Donna Maria teaches Makers and Creative Entrepreneurs how to use technology and community to build a profitable, sustainable business.