The following is a guest blog post from Kelly Giles (@kellygiles), a recent college grad who I met via Twitter. I’ve been following Kelly’s job search since early this winter, and quickly identified her as a “walking example” of how you can conduct a job search while you are still in college even if you are still figuring out what you want. Here is her story:
I'm one of those Web 2.0 success stories you keep hearing about. I graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill on May 10, and I started working full-time as a social media strategist for OptimalResume.com on May 26.
I tweet, blog and Facebook about job search strategies and help people make the most of Optimal Resume's software.
I’d be lucky to have this job in any economy, but especially in this one. It matches my interests and skills, the company and environment are great, and I'm able to contribute and learn a lot.
So where did the Web 2.0 come in (aside from the job title)? Here’s a hint: even though Optimal Resume is based in Durham, NC (where I’ve lived for the past two years), my connection to the company started in Maine.
Here's how I landed the job.
Sherry Mason, a career counselor at Bowdoin College, introduced me to @OptimalResume on Twitter, which was really Optimal Resume’s COO. From there, we exchanged Twitter messages and set up a meeting. Within a week, I had a job.
Now here’s the back-story of how I met Sherry and why she introduced me to Optimal Resume. (You could also see this as "best practices for using Twitter in your job search learned along the way...")
Be clear about your interests and skills in your bio.
When I joined Twitter in January, I was debating between going to law school and venturing into the real world, and my bio said so. It also said I was looking for a way to be strategic, creative and efficient.
Find people to follow.
Your job search probably won't work if you
don't increase your network. You can use Wefollow.com to find people in
your industry, and Localtweeps.com to find people near your desired
geographic location. Once you've found people tweeting about things
that interest you, reach out and connect with them.
Be genuine in sharing your thoughts, interests, and goals. It will expand your community.
For a job seeker, it's important to strike a balance between providing
value to your followers and demonstrating that you're up on industry
news (most often done with links to articles) and showing that you're a
real human. To do that, sprinkle your tweets with personal commentary.
I started tweeting what was on my mind, which included everything from law school essay topics to job-search strategies to how I thought UNC’s Career Services could improve.
That’s how Sherry at Bowdoin found me. One day I tweeted that I thought Career Services should teach personal branding, and she messaged me to ask what else I thought they should do.
Share what you learn, and ask for input and advice.
A few days after I joined Twitter, I started blogging about Web 2.0 job-search strategies for college students (thinking I should put all the research I was doing to good use), and I asked Sherry for her input about content.
As luck would have it, she not only helped with that, but as a former practicing lawyer, she talked with me about my law school decision. She’s one of the people who helped me decide it wasn’t for me.
Continue to engage your network.
Once that decision (not to attend law school) was made, I kept tweeting about articles that interested me, and that were relevant to my job search. Sherry and I also kept in touch, tweeting and e-mailing occasionally, and one of those tweets was the introduction that landed me this job.
My story is a lesson in how it pays to be authentic and active in your social media use. Yes, I joined Twitter and started blogging because all the job-search articles said those were two keys to jump-starting a job search, but I didn’t blog and tweet what I thought employers wanted to hear, or just advertise that I needed a job.
I also didn’t talk about how I was procrastinating on term papers or eating a ham and turkey sandwich.
I stayed “on brand,” while talking about things that interested me, things that were naturally on my mind, and I found a job (or a job found me, depending on which way you look at it) that matches.
Thanks, Kelly! Do you have any additional "optimal" tips for the Web 2.0 job search?