This July will mark two years since I moved back to DC after being back home in Los Angeles for a while. When I was living in LA, I was barely making it and living with my mom. I had landed a paid internship, and kept applying for jobs and networking when I could. Right around the time of my 28th birthday in February 2012, I had hit a wall. I was applying and interviewing for jobs I didn’t want, and getting worried that I would never work a full-time job again. I’d apply for jobs and not hear back for weeks if at all.
I started to think about what more I can do to get closer to a job in my field. I thought back to something my friend Rosetta Thurman told me once when I had been laid off from my non-profit job. “It’s kind of like dating,” she said. “When you’re looking to date someone, everyone knows that you’re single and available. Does everyone know that you’re looking for a job?”
She was right then, and February 2012 when I was ready to quit looking altogether, she was right once again. Sure, I had casually told people I knew in person that I had been looking for a job, but I had neglected to tell a specific network of people: the 3,000 or so folks I was connected with on social media – FaceBook and Twitter combined.
So, I got to work. The first thing I did was start a hashtag: #dailycallforjobs. It was pretty simple – at least once or twice a day, I’d post a tweet telling my followers that I was looking for a social media gig in a few different cities, and if they had any leads to @ reply me or send me a direct message. Then, I wrote a blog post on my old blog letting my readers know I was looking with a link to my LinkedIn page and my email if they wanted to send me posts directly. Lastly, I posted a status about my search every now and then to my Facebook page because once again – everyone should know you’re looking.
I did this for about maybe two weeks before I got a direct message from one of my twitter followers asking me if I had heard of theNew Organizing Institute’s New Media Bootcamp, and that maybe I’d want to apply.
So I applied. My training and the connections I made at bootcamp completely changed my job search. I returned to LA from bootcamp in early May 2012. By mid-July, I was moving back to DC for my new job with the NAACP digital team.
I’m not the only one who’s benefited from using their social media community to help their job search. It’s just one example of how it’s not “just Twitter.” Here are a few ways you can use social media to help you with your job search
I know I said this before but seriously – everyone should know you’re looking. And I mean everyone. From that cool makeup blogger you follow on Twitter to your Cousin Pookie on you Facebook feed. Let people know. Of course, don’t spam folks obnoxious, but a tweet or Facebook status once or twice a day would do the job.
Create authentic connections. Maybe there’s a person you follow on Twitter who is in your field and perhaps in your city. Don’t be afraid to connect with them and try to meet in person! You never know who they may know.
Do you have a blog? Let your blog readers know you’re looking too. Same principle here. The more people know that you’re job hunting and the kind of jobs you are looking for, the closer it will get you to landing a gig.
If someone in your network leads you to a job that you end up getting, thank them. Get back to them, let them know you appreciated, and always pay it forward.
So those are a few tips. Have others? Drop them in the comments!