A few weeks ago, Jason Falls wrote a blog post about why social media won’t help you find a job during a recession. The basic sentiment is to use Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. but “know and understand that all the on-line, behind-the-computer, cyber connections in the world don’t beat a hand shake, a smile and a chat.”
So last week, I kicked it old school and met up with some PR and marketing people—(gasp!) in the flesh—during a one-day whirlwind of a trip in Boston. I had three interviews, two of them informational and one for an internship. I wasn’t all that shocked to learn that there were hiring freezes and no positions open for me. However, and this could just be ego, but it feels really great/comforting to hear someone who has a job you want tell you that you’re doing the right stuff to get there. I didn’t leave with a job (and I didn’t expect to) but I left with many more connections and information that will help me get one. And recession be damned, I’m getting one.
- “Twitter levels out the networking playing field.” My new friend Rebecca (@repcor) said it best. It gives you direct access to people who work at, own, or know people who work at the companies you want to work for. Because of my connection to her and Justin Levy (@justinlevy) I got to watch a taping of Hubspot TV, take a little tour of the office, and chat with Mike Volpe (@mvolpe) about a social media paper I’m writing in school. Connections connections connections.
- I wrote a blog post about my trip, and a few days later I got a lovely email from Alexa Scordato (@Alexa) inviting me to a girls night with her friends. So I ended up having a lovely dinner with Alexa, Rebecca, Maria Thurrell (@MaThuRRell) and Nidhi Makhija (@kaex88). We even got a surprise visit from Todd Van Hoosear (@Vanhoosear).
I’m not trying to name drop, just giving credit where credit is due. Everyone was so sweet and welcoming to me. If I wasn’t convinced that Boston was the place for me before, the generosity of everyone I met really made me fall for Beantown and showed me exactly what that city has to offer.
I don’t think I will get a job directly from social media in that I’m not expecting someone to randomly Facebook message me one day and be all, “Hey, want to be an account coordinator?” But in my case, I think it is really valuable to use it to make out-of-town connections, and I actually believe I will get a job from one of those. I think if you plan to stay in the area you went to college in, it’s easier to make those connections the “old way” through PRSSA or AMA conferences and you may not have to rely on the internet so much. But even in that case, following the local pros on Twitter couldn’t hurt.
Everyone tells me that “networking” is so important in job searching, but not that many people explain specifically what that means. I hope my experience helps do exactly that: explain specifically what “networking” means. It’s basically just talking to people who have jobs you are interested in having, talking to influencers they talk to, asking LOTS of questions, being gracious, being friendly, and building relationships. I recently said that diplomas aren’t magic wands, and Twitter isn’t a magic wand, either. If you click the mouse and follow someone it isn’t like ABRACADABRA (poof!) you’re hired. But if you DM them, email them, meet them and offer a firm handshake and a nice chat—then maybe they can direct you to a friend who has a friend who has a job for you.
In conclusion, I just want to sincerely thank everyone who took the time to meet (or chat on the phone with me). I didn’t mention everyone because I wasn’t sure if it’d be weird to publicly write the name of your company and put down that I had an interview there, but I really appreciate your advice and your time. Check your mail. 😉
Until next time:
Make friends. Just keep swimming. Don’t stop believing.