When I give keynotes at colleges, I always tell the story of Hal Thomas, the guy who sent a tweet and got a job.
The story first broke in 2009 when Eve Tahminchioglu interviewed Hal for her NBC column. The article, called, “Who Needs a Resume. Tweet Earned Him a Job” quickly went viral on all the major tech sites.
That’s where I learned about him.
During that time, I had developed a 5 part video job searching course and as part of the launch, I invited Hal and his hiring manager, Sloan, to a conversation with me for my subscribers.
Although Hal has been happily employed for years, I still find his story inspiring.
Here is that interview for you again. It’s about 50 minutes, and just filled with powerful career-impacting tips. It’s definitely worth the listen.
Joshua: We’re extremely lucky to have Hal and Sloane with us today.
Hal has been a kind of jobseeker’s hero recently. A robin hood in the articles written about him and he’s been in MSN and some other well-read blogs. The headlines about him goes something like this: How He Got a Job with Just One Tweet.
Well, as we’re going to learn today this is a kind of an exaggeration and like all of these things there was a lot more to his story than the articles had alluded to. And we’ll find out what else he did besides that pivotal tweet and there was indeed a lot leading up to that.
So in a large part of Hal’s success has been the fact that his hiring manager, Sloane, made Twitter the primary medium through which to evaluate candidates. So the last webinar was about LinkedIn.
Today, we’re going to be focusing more on other medium such as Twitter, blogging and other creative outlets online and Sloane was looking for someone who was creative, energetic and who knew how to use Twitter as part of the job description. So he really need a whole lot of sense for her to leverage the very tool that she required to have some kind of competency on.
So we’ll hear today how he used a combination of blogging, online reputation management and creative designs to stand out from a crowd. And we’ll also get Sloane’s perspective as his hiring manager about what she looks for in candidates and what was it exactly about Hal’s application that appealed to her throughout his hiring process. And also I’ll jump in every once in a while to tie things back to the frameworks that I like to teach such as the 3 questions, the reticular activating system but we’ll cover those during the conversation as things get there.
So with that, Sloane, ladies first. Let’s start off with you. What do you do with BFG Communications and why did you use Twitter to hire someone?
Sloane: Sure, well first off, many thanks for having me join your webinar today. I’m really excited to dig in to some other questions later in the session.
And a little bit of background on me and BFG as well, I’ve been working with BFG for about 3 and a half years and BFG Communications is a full ad agency. We’ve been really growing our interactive division a lot since I started here. In fact, the content department which I have up at the moment, was about 4 years ago and really I think BFG has been kind of a cutting-edge ad agency in that respect. We’ve realized early on that it was important to invest in social media and content marketing as well.
So it’s been a really exciting ride over the last couple of years.
We really started getting quite busy in the content department over the last 9 to 12 months or so and so late in the summer, early fall, I had a need for a new staff member to join our team and I went to the head of the agency and our executive creative director, sat down with them and kind of started describing my ideal candidate and also really dug in to the fact that it’s not a traditional job. We decided we’re looking for an assistant content manager, a non-traditional type position. I think of BFG as a pretty non-traditional type of agency so we didn’t want to take the traditional resume and cover letter approach.
So what I’ve decided to do and the head of the agency, we agreed with it and kind of let me run with it, was to actually go to Twitter and post this job and I wasn’t really sure in the beginning exactly what kind of response I was going to get.
It ended up being incredibly positive.
We’ve had a lot of interest in the job and probably around 150 or so applications through Twitter and really the reason that I went there, there are really a couple I guess. One is that a content manager position is really demanding someone who knows a whole lot about social media, is very savvy with Twitter and some of the other tools that are out there.
And also just Twitter itself is a really interesting medium.
A lot of people who aren’t clear with Twitter who dug into it, think of it as just 140 characters of text but there’s so much you can do with that 140 characters and it’s really sky’s the limit. You can do everything from photos to videos to whatever.
So I thought of it being an interesting way to have someone introduce himself to us and to really show us why we would consider them, to really be creative in their response and the applications that we received really ran a gamut and I ultimately had the application that Hal sent via Twitter that has really caught my eye early on in our search and of course he ended up making it through our interview process and recently joined the team.
Joshua: Sorry, Sloane you mentioned something yesterday when we were chatting, which was that you felt like you really got to know the candidates, who they were personally long before you even got to meet them and that’s something unique, I think to social media. You didn’t have that experience with just the traditional resume.
Sloane: Exactly, it was really interesting meeting or even in the case of a couple of candidates, we would Skype for their interviews. They were far away from me but it was interesting just in a sense that I could follow these people back on Twitter and see what they’re up to on a daily basis, the kinds of things that they’re thinking about, maybe some of the more seemingly mundane things, what movie they’re watching or whatever but you’ll get a picture of someone’s personality and ultimately I was looking for someone who wasn’t just qualified to do this job, but was really would be a good cultural fit for the agency and someone that will hopefully be here for a long time and make this a long stop of their career.
So it was very interesting and when I met this people for the first time, it wasn’t always the traditional first interview type of questions because I felt like I did have a better sense of who most of these folks were because of Twitter.
Joshua: Definitely very cool.
And we’ll get back to the 3 questions of: “Do I like you?” and “What motivates you?” and “Can you do the job?” in just a minute but I want to give Hal a chance to introduce himself and let him tell his story and meanwhile for listeners out there please use the side-panel there for questions.
Go ahead and ask your questions as we’re talking and then I will read them and field them to our panellists today. So go ahead and as questions pop into your mind, go ahead and pop them. So, welcome Hal.
Joshua: So I’m wondering what you do for BFG. It’s a non-traditional role and share with us what you did during your job search that really set you apart from everyone else.
Hal: Sure, I want to thank you again just for having me. I really appreciate you including me as a part of this panel so I’m very happy about that Joshua.
BFG, what does an assistant content manager do?
Well, it’s kind of a fun job because it looks a little bit different everyday depending on what our client needs are. But there are a couple of things that do hold us somewhat consistent on a daily, weekly basis. BFG has a blog for about 5 years now so I’m one of the contributors now to our external blog here at BFG.
In addition, we also have our internal blog that is kind of proprietary just for a lot of our field agents and internal members of the company and so I contribute to our internal blog as well. Kind of part and parcel with the writing for these 2 blogs and this is the content manager does a lot of trend-spotting and a lot of online research so part of the job is taking the pulse of what’s happening out there in social media and digital media.
I’m really kind of in in what’s going on in marketing and promotions all across the board and being able to speak to that whenever called upon, whether it’s for an internal company blog or whether it’s for a presentation to a client or compiling research for a presentation and also being a resource for a brainstorming sessions, where we tap and create strategy for our clients. What else do you want to know?
Joshua: Talk to me about your job search. You were hired just recently, weren’t you?
Hal: Yes, it’s been about 6 or 7 weeks ago.
Joshua: OK what did you do during your search that really set you apart from the rest? We all know that you’re the “one Tweet” job applicant. What more was there to your story?
Hal: Yeah, I think that’s kind of finding its way in to the or almost kind of like internet urban myths for getting kind of a tweet about the guy with one tweet.
Really I think my search and really the story just started about 2 years ago when I started free-lancing and I was freelancing marketing and branding strategy and graphic design.
And so when I first started, when you’re a freelancer, you’re really kind of always on the job hunt whether it’s for a long term gig or short term clients, you’re really always looking for jobs. And so I think it begins first with my blog and my blog really just became kind of my platform to call out things that I thought were important within the industry, whether it’s online or offline marketing or promotions. It was a place to kind of showcase where my head was at. I worked out of my house and stayed right in and have the luxury of having an office where people could collaborate with. So when I go out and meet people socially and you hand them a business card, having that blog on your website to be able to go to allows them to dive deeper into who you are, they get a sense of your perspective on advertising, on marketing, on media and really get a better handle of kind of what your capabilities or your perspective is.
I started blogging almost 2 and a half years ago, I jumped on Twitter early 2008. So I was maybe 6 or 8 months behind the curve. I wouldn’t say I was an immediate earlier adapter but I’d like to go on a record as saying that I was definitely pre-Gautier and pre-Oprah. The Twitter band wagon goes and I got involved like a lot of people, just trying to check this thing out and see what was going on. There were several people whose blog that I followed, they were on Twitter and so I just started off by following people I was already interested in and really just kind of tried to figure it out from there. With that said, that’s kind of how I used my blog, just kind of how I use Twitter.
Twitter for me was really just another opportunity to network with people.
I don’t know that I really treated Twitter a whole lot differently than you might treat some type of business or social function, how you meet people that way, through those relationships that you form, different kinds of opportunities to talk about, business opportunities or find out about these business opportunities. But it wasn’t something that I intended to use exclusively for the purpose of just finding a job or getting more clients.
Joshua: Hal, let me pause you right there. There are some questions about what is Twitter. Can we back up a second again and talk about what it is?
So I want to send a poll out to everybody out there and I want to take about 20 seconds to do this. So I’m going to send a poll out and basically it’s going to say, “Do you have a Twitter account that you use daily?”
So go ahead, I’ll give you guys 20 seconds if you could just say yes or no and then I’ll close that poll in 10 seconds. OK, about 3 seconds. 3-2-1, OK. Here are the results. Looks like most people, 64% of you out there, don’t have a Twitter account that you use daily.
So maybe it would make sense to kind of back up Hal and talk about what is Twitter a little bit. You talked about it as a relationship-building engine and that’s really how I see what Twitter is. It constricts you to about 140 characters and you can connect with anybody.
There aren’t a lot of rules to Twitter. It’s sort of self-defined.
I think you guys would agree with that. A lot of people use it differently. Alright, go ahead Hal.
Hal: Yeah I tried to explain Twitter to my Dad. My Dad is 50+ we’ll say and is a structural engineer and has been for the last 35 years. We were talking a little bit about my job over the course of the holidays.
And so we started talking a little bit about Twitter and he’s like, “So explain this Twitter thing to me because I just don’t get it.” And so I was trying to search for a way that would frame it in a context that would be relevant to him and what I came up with is, he’s a big fan of University of South Carolina football and so he gets online and goes into the fan forums and bulletin boards and checks out the things that people are saying in all bulletin boards within the University of South Carolina’s sports program website.
And so I said, “Think of Twitter like a bulletin board or a message board where you can go in and post what you’re thinking, what you’re saying. And so what you can do is only you’re limited to 140 characters so you can’t go on a long diatribe there.” I said, “But now, imagine that that bulletin board is not limited to just the game called football. It’s about any topic you want it to be. And then also imagine that you have an additional level of control, it’s that if you find someone that you don’t like their opinions, you don’t like what they’re saying or whatever they’re saying is not of interest to you, you can choose not to see that. So you can choose really only to listen to the perspective of people that you find interesting or entertaining.”
And so when I explained it to him that way, I think it helped him out a little more. And simply, that’s simplified example and there are a lot of additional benefits to Twitter with the ability to search for terms and that way you can kind of narrow your focus on what you want to listen to or what you want to find out about.
Joshua: Sorry Hal, a lot of the answers about how to use Twitter and what is it and how to get tweeting is actually available in the jobseekers guide to social media.
So there are a couple of videos that take you from scratch to actually using it to conduct a job search, similar to what Hal did. And I want to show and share with everyone exactly the tweet that he used to get Sloane’s attention. And that’s this.
So you’ll see it’s roughly 140 characters and basically it takes us to 2 links.
The first link is that Hal mocked up a wired magazine with his picture and some information about him having already worked at BFG and taking BFG big time. And the second is his blog, and these are just screen shots here and this is Hal. He looks a little bit different in this picture. I think you’re wearing glasses in this.
Hal: And a beard.
Joshua: And a beard, right. So it wasn’t just the tweets.
The tweets just put him on the radar but it was this creative intervention here as well as the credibility that he was able to build up with having a blog and sharing his opinion.
So Sloane, let me ask you. There were a lot of other applicants. I think you said there were over 100, what were some of the other compelling contestants for this position and why did you choose Hal over the other ones?
Sloane: Yeah that’s a great question. Actually, it’s the funny ones I’m interested in seeing. Some of the more notable tweets, some of the competitors for Hal’s job so to speak.
I did try to compile a lot of links to those tweets on our BFG blog. So if you go there and you just go to our search box and type in assistant content manager, it should be one of the only post that comes up I would imagine. But people definitely took some interesting approaches.
I had one applicant actually create sort of a website about why we should hire her and that really kind of very involved and took me through her job history and all kinds of those things. Other people went the video route, which was something I definitely anticipated when I put this out. I love making videos so i had the feeling people would probably go to YouTube and make something or one of the other video-sharing sites and share a link. Other people went to their personal blogs and actually posted about us. We had a few people who got colleagues and friends who’d actually recommend them via Twitter, which I also thought was a unique approach as well.
So the approach really ran a gamut and those are some of the good examples and things that really got my attention. And a number of those folks certainly got first, to even second round interviews. There were also of course the not so good responses and there were a number of people who actually emailed me their resume and I was really kind of taken aback by that.
It just showed me that they didn’t read the instructions or followed directions at all and I didn’t like that a whole lot so those people definitely didn’t get interviews. And other folks who maybe already have a job and didn’t want their employer to know that they were in the market for a new position, they actually went ahead and sent a direct message which I thought was totally fine.
Again, it showed me that they understand Twitter and the fact that if there’s a public comment, there’s a way to make something a little bit more private. So those were definitely acceptable approaches to go to direct message route.
Joshua: Can I pause you for a second?
Joshua: For Twitter newbies, a direct message is a feature in Twitter that allows you to send a private message to someone and only that other person can see it whereas an app reply is for everybody to see. Just to clarify, there are a couple of folks here who are asking about this so I wanted to just pause you for a few seconds Sloane. Sorry about that.
Sloane: No, I’m glad you did that definitely.
And a vast majority of the applications that we received were with the public as reply to @bfgcom, which is our Twitter handle. Hal definitely stood out. His wired magazine mock up definitely got a laugh from me.
Humor is a good thing in my world so I thought that was an interesting approach and then having the link to his blog was also really great because I was able to go and poke around his blog, look at the kinds of things that he’s writing about, get a sense for his opinions on different trends and also really identify that he’s thinking about some of the same things that we’re thinking about so that was a really great insight.
And also ultimately, I mean this sounds really basic but it showed me that he is a good writer as well and that’s of course, very important for this particular position.
Joshua: So the fact that he had a blog demonstrated not just competency and being able to do the job, but that he had this personality that really fit into the creative environment of BFG. And he knew the industry so he was going to hit the ground running.
Joshua: Just also another pause there. I like to talk about the 3 questions and it’s a good time to talk about those and basically there are 3 questions that a hiring manager really needs to have answered by the applicant.
The first one is, “Do they like you or not?” And that’s the fit question, right Sloane? Are they going to come into the office and make people laugh and get along and are you going to be comfortable managing him over the course of his employment?
And then there’s, which is, “Is he savvy with the environment of the industry? Is he going to remain motivated throughout the course of his employment?”
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And then the last question is, “Can he do the job?” And I think what was so effective about this tweet here about the mock up was that Hal really did a nice job, showing all 3 of the questions. He showed competency with the blog and personality with his tweet and his creativity and definitely he was clearly motivated by the amount of work that he put into this.
Hal, what I wanted to ask you, this is kind of a risky thing to do, put yourself on a cover of a top ten magazine and kind of with the name of the company that you’re going for. Probably it would work with BFG but it might not work with another marketing company. How did you know where to draw the line? How did you know it was appropriate to do this? It was actually a good idea to do this whereas somewhere else it might not have been?
Hal: I think a lot of that goes back to doing your research. You got to do your homework on the company that you are going to apply for.
In a way, you might say this is the kind of a job application that I’ve always wanted to do for just about any job. Something that doesn’t kind of pigeon hole you into simply a bullet point list of characteristics that kind of, I don’t know, it kind of homogenizes you with everybody else.
It’s kind of hard to really showcase or at least I have always felt. But for me, I have a harder time showcasing who I really am on a 1-page word document. Possible but definitely a challenge.
So I did a lot of homework on BFG. I think I read literally everything they have on their website. And when I saw things that they were doing, especially in-house, not only the fact that yes they have a blog and I’ve had a blog for 5 years but I saw that they did a lot of projects with even some of their creative staff, some of their design staff. They do this thing whenever a new designer comes on board, they give them a blank skateboard deck and one of their first jobs is to basically create their own skateboard deck and then it’s actually just hung up in the office. It kind of said a lot about the personality of BFG and the type of people they want to have on-board there.
So you might say in some ways by poking around their website and reading their blog, I was able to discover a little bit about the kind of personality of the BFG brand and when I saw that, I knew something like this, the chances that something like this would be really risky, were certainly minimized.
Joshua: Now, you told me that BFG’s culture was very creative-oriented. In fact they had projects that were completely non-billed just for the sake of exercising the creative muscle and that was something that you really liked and you discovered along your research.
Was there anything else about BFG or any other tips that you might be able to offer the jobseekers about doing research and really targeting your message in your application?
Hal: Sure, absolutely.
I think you’ve talked about this in the jobseekers guide that the 2 biggest things that you can do is to understand who you are and understand the type of company that you want to work for.
As I said, I’ve always felt a little challenged with really selling myself in a traditional resume and so I’ve always wanted to find the company that gave me the opportunity to break out of that and really just kind of be myself rather than who I thought I needed to be in a traditional resume.
Then as far as doing research on BFG, doing research on the target company, I read their blog, I spent time on their website and I had already been following them on Twitter for a while. And so as a matter of fact, I believe I was following Sloane on Twitter before I was even following BFG. She took a trip last summer and had been tweeting about that and somehow I got connected to that. So again, some of these just goes back to networking.
And if you’re in that space long enough, you show up, you contribute to the conversation, you contribute something that’s funny, that’s interesting, that’s memorable, that’s of value. You basically get more than you ask for. You set yourself up to have a pretty successful future or at least to find your way to a number of opportunities.
Joshua: One of the questions that I got here on the panel was, “Is it an effective way to get seen by a company, to just start tweeting about that company and start using the name of that company in your tweets to show that you’re interested? Is that something that you might recommend?
Hal: I think it’s possible, I mean, certainly if you’re on Twitter and they’re on Twitter, there’s a way to make a connection there.
You have to be really careful I think about just playing to the audience. You don’t want to be seen as I’m just in this to get your attention. You don’t want to patch yourself off as being more involved than maybe you really are.
Twitter and really all social media, there’s kind of a generally accepted principle of a certain degree of transparency of people online being engaged in social media. So if Twitter applies that you would actually go and talk about companies or to connect with people, then I think absolutely that’s great place to get in touch with a company or to talk about a company that you really admire.
I shout out companies on Twitter all the time that I’m just big fans of and they’re not paid endorsements or I’ve never really been contacted by any of their people but I kind of remember, I’m a self-confessed caffeine addict, and so I talk about that problem quite a bit because I think probably half of my income every month winds up going to Starbucks.
Hal: But that’s a space that I’m active in. That’s something that, I’d be telling my friends how much I love coffee anyway. So again, these opportunities connect. But make sure that if you’re in these spaces; make sure you’re being genuine because sooner or later, if you’re not, it’s going to come back around to bite you.
Joshua: It’s great advice. It’s a really double-edged sword, isn’t it? It’s all about transparency and one way or the other any kind of inconsistency is going to come across, I think, as red flag.
Sloane, you may have noticed this with some of your applicants; that they’re just either inappropriate or inconsistent. How did you handle applicants that were like that?
Sloane: Yeah I mentioned earlier that it’s a great way to really get to know some of the applicants and it kind of goes back to this idea of personal branding and Joshua I know that this is something that you dig into a lot in your videos but this idea that you are kind of creating a public record of things that you’re writing about or thinking about and someone can basically go back and see what you were tweeting about last week and if it happened to be something inappropriate or something that might turn off the hiring manager or whatever, something to consider and even outside of Twitter, that’s definitely something to consider.
I think a lot of people don’t think about the footprint they’re leaving behind whether it’s Facebook and of course Facebook, changing their privacy standards and stuff. A lot of people are upset about that but I’ve noticed a lot of people do that and maybe didn’t really realize this was happening and they are treating it still like it’s a private space and they haven’t gone in and fix the settings. And so it’s just something to think about really wherever you are in the web is that you are leaving behind this digital footprint of who you are and it’s track-able. People can go and look back and it can work to your advantage and it can also work to disadvantage.
Joshua: Yeah I think one of the biggest mistakes that a job seeker can make online is to just go out there and start filling their profiles, right? And being very flippant about their online presence and I think both of you would agree that really sitting down and looking inside, knowing who you are, and then being strategic about your personal brands and how you fill things out is going to be really important in how you’re perceived online, when you’re Googled what people find about you.
Hal: I agree.
Joshua: Go ahead Hal, I’m sorry.
Hal: Oh I was just going to say I completely agree with that and that takes you back on how risky was this.
When I finished this wired cover and posted this tweet, I know for the first time I was really excited about applying for a job and I was really proud about what I produced. It was fun; it made me laugh and it brought a smile on my face. And so in that sense I felt like I’ve been really true to myself. My guess was that this was not inappropriate for my audience but if there was the slightest chance that maybe they didn’t get it, and then I had to be OK with going, “OK if they don’t get it then that’s probably not the right place for me.” And I had to be OK with that.
Joshua: Yeah, that’s a great point. I get that question a lot from job-seekers. What if this doesn’t work?
Some people have to lie or feel like they have to lie or put a picture that doesn’t really represent them online and eventually they’re going to find out who you are and if they’re not OK with that then it’s better for you to know actually right up front, isn’t it?
When we talked about the cultural fit for someone joining our team and it really goes both ways. I mean for Hal or anyone coming into BFG, in my mind, I was in hope that I was a good fit for them too. And in the past and even in other jobs, either from myself actually joining the team or actually hiring someone, I’ve gone so far as to offer a freelance gig for a week just to see if both parties are truly making this work.
In this case, I didn’t need to do that because I think I already knew just from the whole social media, Twitter experiment that I know it’s going to be a cultural fit but it definitely goes both ways. You want to be able to be in a place where you’re going to be happy and challenged on a daily basis.
Joshua: That leads to a really nice question that I’m reading here from Steven and I’d like to read it to you. It’s a little bit long so bear with me.
Twitter blogging seems to be very logical and appropriate for media for teeming employment and creative industries such as marketing, etc. but I’m not sure how useful it would be for me. I’m 60+, I have a LinkedIn profile and I’m looking for a program manager or a project director position in more traditional organizations. I’m looking to retire from a full time work. There are only so many hours in a day that I can devote to job search and obviously I want to create as much critical mass in my search as possible in addition to ensuring that my LinkedIn profile’s the best that it can be.
Should I use Twitter and should I start using blog? and I think the answer to the question is if you’re not going for a marketing job or a creative job, such as engineering or project management, does Twitter, blogging and even in general, creativity in the job search still matter? What do you guys think?
Sloane: I would say absolutely.
I know we’ve focused a lot on talking about the creative world and the ad world just because that’s kind of where Hal and I live and breathe at the moment but the great thing about Twitter, or really the blogging sphere in general, is that it’s all about discovery and I think that while the blogs I follow probably wouldn’t be interesting to someone who’s an engineer or what have you, those sources do absolutely exist out there and people do check in and read those blogs on a daily basis or follow people like that on Twitter.
It’s all about finding where your interests lie, my interest is definitely in the creative sphere and a lot of people that I follow in Twitter are in that world but we were talking earlier and I am also really passionate about wine. I follow a lot of people on Twitter who talk about nothing but wine.
There are all kinds of these things out there and I think that sort of social media world is becoming more and more a part of a lot of people’s jobs and just their own personal coming universe stage. That’s something I think that could help.
Joshua: And follow up question to that is asked by Jeff here is, “I have political opinions which i share with my Facebook friends, am I putting myself at risk by sharing that with Facebook?
Hal: Well, that’s a really good one.
Hal: We had a discussion in the office, myself and another gentlemen that’s on the content department a couple of weeks ago.
That’s something that I’ve struggled with. I’ll be honest on that, and when it comes to certain other blogs that I might read that whether they have a religious or a political bent. I think that’s where we have to investigate, especially with a medium like Facebook. Number one, what are the privacy controls that you have in place? And number two, how are you using Facebook?
I have recently, I kind of revamped my Facebook, my personal Facebook strategy in that I’ve actually kind of, nobody wants to use this word but I’d actually trimmed down my friends list on Facebook quite a bit, so that I really only have friends with people that are truly closed connections that I have.
And I’m choosing to make most of my data private and this is just my take on that but I think the over-all point was whatever level of privacy controls you use or whatever you decide to put on Twitter or Facebook, you have to realize that number one, it is out there. Ideals of freedom of speech aside, just because you’re free to say anything in an environment doesn’t necessarily make it appropriate to say in an environment.
So again, that goes back to determining what do you want to use the medium for? And then choosing the appropriate privacy controls and kind of self-editing as appropriate for that audience.
Joshua: Right and in other words, have a strategy and stick to that strategy.
Know what you’re trying to accomplish with the tool that you have your hands on. I think of it as a sculpture right? Anyone can take a chisel but not everyone can create a beautiful work of art from a block of wood.
And it’s really how you use the tool that’s going to make the impact, not the tool itself.
I think there’s an over-emphasis on social media as a paradigm shift as a sort of this huge revolution in the way we communicate and I really have to defer from that. I think they’re just new tools that we have to learn how to use effectively and as job-seekers I think they’re very effective.
One of the questions that I’m getting over and over is, we keep talking about Twitter and blogging, does that mean LinkedIn isn’t as important or Facebook’s not as important? Or how do we choose the right social medium as job-seekers? This will be the last question and I’m going to take a quick tour of the inside of the video training. So I want you guys to take a quick 30 seconds thought with that question.
Sloane: Yeah I think LinkedIn and other tools are definitely still really important but it kind of goes back to what we’ve been talking about throughout the conversation which, from a job-seeker’s perspective is really kind of doing your homework and doing your research, and if you have a dream job or a dream company out there that you’re interested in pursuing, maybe it’s a good idea to see where they are in that social sphere and how they’re using these different tools.
Or the alternative is to really pick one or two of these areas and really own it and if you are going to be in multiple places, make sure you are being consistent and the messages that you put out there and it’s the age of the personal brand. I think that’s the bottom line.
Joshua: Yes it is. And Hal, how would you answer that question about choosing the medium?
Hal: Sure, really I just would confer with just about everything Sloan has said.
A lot of these goes back to the question that gentleman asked earlier about the need to get into Twitter and blogging and all this and really dive head-first in social media but there’s so many hours in a day that you can devote for your job-search.
It just goes back to what are the types of companies you’re looking out and what spaces are they in. BFG does have a LinkedIn profile but, I’ve interacted even before I was an employee here, I got far more interaction with BFG and with people who worked for BFG through the blog and through Twitter than I did on LinkedIn. That may be not the case for every industry or every company so again we can go back to what’s your target company, where are they at and invest your time and resources there. If they’re on Twitter, if they’re on Facebook, then jump on-board, jump in.
The learning curve is pretty forgiving.
As the saying, “Give more than you take.” “Listen a little more than you talk.” But if your industry is not really active in that space right now, unless it’s just a hobby, don’t waste your time. Don’t look at it as a primary means of job search. Know your audience.
Joshua: Exactly right.
So it’s not about having the prettiest LinkedIn profile, it’s about knowing where they hang out online and then going there and interacting with them. That’s a really great point Hal.
We’ll come back to you guys in a second. I just want to take a moment and show everyone the inside view of the job-seekers guide to social media and so when you get into the product and when you get access to the course, this is the first page that you come to and what I’d do is I’ll have a quick 25 minute video, which gives you tips that you can use right after that.
We’re getting a lot of questions today about how do you use Twitter, how do you follow topics, how do you find people, how do you get started if you’re a real newbie and this course actually takes you through step by step of how to do that.
So basically each of the 5 modules here has between 4 to 8 videos associated with each one and each video lesson has a downloadable sheet and its pack of resources. So we talked a lot about strategy Hal and not just going out there and flippantly putting stuff online but to really know what you’re trying to say and to whom, and that’s all about finding your brand, looking inside and then looking at your target audience.
And then we look at online resumes, online reputation for when you get Googled not if. And there’s actually an entire module dedicated to Twitter, because I think it’s more than just what you had for breakfast. That’s important too but there’s a lot to it and so for newbies with Twitter, this will be a really valuable lesson and then we get into interviews and actually go into the steps that how Hal and other job-seekers took and I’ve spoken with to use social media to do that.
So when you get started, you come here into the first module which is personal branding and you get access to these 6 videos and navigation here on the right. And then when you drill down into the video itself, you can watch it here and every video comes with a downloadable action sheet. So what happens is by the time you finish the course, you’ll have 25 pages filled with notes of your personal job-search strategy actually right there in front of you.
For those of you who like to skim, there are always bullet points about the topics that are covered in the video and additional notes, oftentimes, I think of something after I’ve recorded the video and I want to emphasize it where there are some points within the video that I want to make sure are emphasized. And then every video has resources, sometimes they’re free, sometime they’re not but they’re here for you to find.
This particular video is about keyword research, which is often overlooked when creating online profiles. So there’s an entire lesson on how to actually get your keywords so that you’re ranking number one on at least 3 of them to help you get found.
The lessons on Twitter are here. There are 5 videos. Each one comes with of course the downloadable action sheet, the summary of what you learned and these are resources. people are asking, “How do I communicate with recruiters?” I actually have a list of over 100 different recruiters here that you can follow.
So they are are just packed with resources that I’m giving away to do this, and it’s now open.
So this is sort of the culmination of a lot of exclusive training I’ve done around the Portland area for the last year and people have been asking me to make this available to them regardless of where they live and so if you have been following my blog, you’ve noticed that i haven’t been blogging a lot and that’s because I’ve been focusing almost exclusively on developing this content and really refining it so that you guys can get jobs as quickly as possible.
And I’m giving away a lot of free stuff so just by signing up, you’re going to get a free LinkedIn profile audit so you’ll sign up, you’ll send me your LinkedIn profile and I’ll actually do a professional audit on it to give you steps to improve it and just as part of signing up.
So as much stuff as I’m giving away, I can only keep this open for 1 week. So this is going to close on January 11 at midnight. So if you do have questions about using Twitter and social media and really creating a strategy for your job search, this is the only product or training course available that is completely comprehensive and it’s just for job-seekers on using social media.
So also, I’m giving away 2 live calls so if you’re going to the course and get stuck and questions always come up, I want to make sure that I’m there for you so there’ll be 2 calls starting next week and then 2 weeks after that so if you guys get stuck during the course, I am available to answer any questions live and there are bonuses that if I get questions a lot about a particular technology, I’ll actually do a screencast and just put it in bonuses for free so there’s a lot of questions that I answer in this course. So definitely worth taking a look.
We’re coming up on the end of the hour here. We got about 5 minutes left and we do have more questions but I want to leave this space to let you guys, Hal and Sloane, end with any last words for job-seekers out there. Maybe they’re not in the creative industry such as you guys, maybe they’re new to social media, what would you recommend as a first step, at least if they are to walk away with one thing from today’s conversation, what would it be? Sloane why don’t you go ahead first on this?
Sloane: Sure yeah, I think some of what you’ve been talking about, Joshua, with regards to social media kind of being a new tool among many, I think that’s really important.
Face to face networking and interaction is definitely still important it’s not going anywhere.
So I would recommend really using a combination of different tactics, if you are in the job market, social media is a really great way I think to get yourself out there and to potentially stand out a little bit from the crowd, people with social media knowledge and skills I think are becoming more and more in demand and that’s only going to increase as time goes on and ore people start getting involved in this space.
But definitely don’t discount some of the offline things too and every community that I’ve ever lived in, there’s always something going on with groups of professionals or sometimes they’re a very highly targeted groups. We have social media clubs here in Savannah for people who are in that industry but there are so many other groups that get together and meet after hours. So I would just encourage people to take advantage of those things as well as the social space and really find the right mix.
Joshua: Right, get out there and meet people as well as develop your online reputation. Hal, what would you leave folks with?
Hal: More of the same really. Definitely know who you are and what you’re looking for in a company.
The reality is we’d all have to take jobs because we have to pay the rent but at the end of the day, we should all be able to describe the type of job and the type of environment that we want to be a part of and we know that. When know what you’re looking for, it’s surprisingly easier to find it and then find ways so not only you know who you are but you want out of a company that you want to make sure you know as much as you can about any job or any company that you apply for.
And so depending on what’s appropriate, where that company is or where the people who work for this company are active, whether it’s online, whether it’s offline or both, just show up and interact. Show up with consistency and contribute something of value and sooner or later opportunities are going to open up for you.
Joshua: I love that. Stop spraying and praying. Be specific, focused and targeted. That’s really great advice. I’m getting questions about if people want to get connected with you Hal and Sloan, so would that be alright if I sent out an email out to participants with your Twitter handles?
Both: Sure, absolutely.
Sloane: We’d be happy to answer any questions after this.
Joshua: And Hal, Sloan, thank you very much for your time today. I really enjoyed the conversation and I think everyone on the call here got a lot of really fabulous information for their job search. Thank you both very much.
Hal: Thank you.
Sloane: Thank you for having me and thanks for all the great questions, to the audience.
Joshua: Thank you too. Yeah thanks to the audience for participating and have a great week.
SloaneKelley So Cool!
JoshuaWaldman I used that hiring method for every team member I brought aboard at BFG – worked beautifully each time.
SloaneKelley I know! What a great story still. So appreciate your time and willingness to talk about hiring. Have you done it again?
JoshuaWaldman In 2009.