Making Job Search Social

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Job Action Day Logo

This post is part of Job Action Day, “a day of empowerment for workers and job-seekers,” that is aimed to help you “put your career and job in the forefront, making plans, taking action steps.”

I was an anti-social job searcher. I never stepped foot in my college’s Career Services office. I didn’t want to talk to my parents about jobs. I never attended any Career Fairs. I was too embarrassed to tell my friends how much I was struggling with finding jobs that interested me. I was relying almost entirely on the Internet for my job search needs, and it wasn’t helping. Eventually, I quit. I decided that I was going to make online job search better by building a resource that I would have wanted to use during my job search. I empowered myself to face a problem and solve it, and in a few short months I went from knowing nothing about job search even though I needed a job, to knowing a ton about job search despite the fact that I was no longer looking.

Although I now felt empowerd, I was still withdrawn. I was a year out of college and I had nothing to show for it. Even though I had started my own business, I didn’t like talking about it. I still felt inadequate. As One Day, One Job has started to grow in popularity, I’ve become more willing to tell people about what I am doing, and they’ve responded enthusiastically. I’ve been offered consulting deals, speaking gigs, and ad sponsorships. I have met a ton of people who have gone out of their way to help me build my business and make it a success. Amazingly, I’ve done this mostly on the Internet. Real-life relationships are important, but the Web offers unparalleled opportunities to socialize in productive ways – especially when it comes to your job search.

How I Know That You’re Not a Social Job Searcher

The extroverted kids already have jobs. They’re the first ones to go to the Career Services office, campus recruiting events, and career fairs. They’re talking with their parents about whom they know and how they can help. They called their bosses from their internships to see if they’re hiring at the entry level. They’re doing what comes naturally to them, and it’s working. They don’t need the Internet to find a job.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably using the Internet to find a job, and you’re probably doing so in an introverted manner. How do I know that you’re not being social? Because on an average weekday when almost 3,000 people (between e-mail, RSS, and the web) read something that I wrote, I hear from no one. During the course of a week, I get an e-mail or two asking for job search advice or thanking me for the site, and occasionally someone will leave an insightful comment on a post that I wrote, but it’s a rare occurrence. People are constantly on the site reading today’s profile of a new company, visiting our archive of companies and their entry level jobs, or reading articles like this one from our Job Search Blog, but I wouldn’t know it if I didn’t use Google Analytics. As the author of most of the daily posts on One Day, One Job, I try to take the role of your well connected friend who constantly has his finger on the pulse on the best entry level jobs for new college grads. I write to you in a conversational tone. I ask you to comment. I invite suggestions, but I get almost no response (barring a few rare exceptions).

I understand that you’re looking for a job and not looking for someone to talk to (that’s part of the problem though). I understand that you may have absolutely nothing to say about LEWIS PR or CME Group. What I don’t understand is why job search has to be accompanied by solitude. Why do I only hear from 1 or 2 people for every 10,000 people that read something that I wrote? My audience has been forced into introversion by the depressing nature of a prolonged job search. There’s a reason that there’s no such thing as a Facebook for job searchers – nobody would participate (and don’t try to say that’s what LinkedIn is for, because it isn’t).

I’m not just talking about a lack of interaction with me, though. Yes, I’d love to hear from you, but this post isn’t about that. It’s about getting you to be more social in your job search. Beyond the fact that I get few comments and fewer e-mails, I’ve also noticed that word of mouth dies when it comes to job search. Because job searching sucks, most people don’t want to talk about it. When they find a great article about job search, they keep it to themselves. How often do you see a friend post a job or an article about job searching Facebook? Now how often do you see a friend post a funny picture on Facebook? The technology is there for sharing, but you’re not using it (and neither are your friends). I use Google Analytics which tells me where visitors to the site come from. Approximately 75% of One Day, One Job’s daily visitors are coming through Google searches. Do these people trust an algorithm more than they trust their friends to help them find a job? Or is the algorithm just easier to talk to (because it doesn’t judge them)?

Why Job Searching Socially Is Important

People want to help you. That’s it. Don’t worry about competition. Don’t worry about being judged. Don’t worry about looking desperate. Your friends want to help. Your parents want to help. And most importantly, people who you don’t even know yet want to help.

How You Can Be More Social in Your Job Search

Now that I’ve convinced you that being anti-social and relying on passive online job searching is not the way to land your first job, you need to figure out how you’re going to make your job search more social. If you’re not an extrovert, you’re not instantly going to become one overnight. Jumping into being ultra-social is just going to make you uncomfortable. What you should do is ease into being social by using Web 2.0 technology to bring interaction to your job search. You’re probably already using many of these sites. Now you just need to make them part of your job search.

Here are some ideas:

Facebook – Post this article and share it with your friends. Post jobs that you find that look cool, but don’t interest you. Start a mutual job search group for you and your friends to share resources and split up work. Use Facebook advertising to catch the attention of employers.

Delicious – Share and tag your job searching links with your friends.

Twitter – Search for people who “tweet” that they are hiring. Start a conversation with employees at companies that you want to work for. Tweet about your job search.

Blogs – Start a blog about your job search and post progress updates.

Ning – Start a network for your friends to share job search resources.

Google Groups – Same as above

Google Docs – Collaborate on resumes. Split up research work.

VisualCV – Build a resume that invites conversation.

LinkedIn – Build up your professional network and reach out to people in your areas of interest.

These are just a few ideas, but there are plenty more. I want to hear what you think about making job search social, so take that first step towards being outgoing and leave a comment with your ideas on how you can make job your job search more social. I’m hoping that the best ideas on how to become more social in your job search come from other job seekers who are dealing with the same struggles that you are.

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12 responses to “Making Job Search Social”

  1. Willy,

    Great post! I particularly liked your idea about Google Docs. I hadn’t thought of that.

    I think you’ll find two articles I ran last week are great examples of making your job search social.

    The first is about LinkedIn – a two-part series about how you should update your profile and maximize LinkedIn’s features: http://www.examiner.com/x-828-Entry-Level-Careers-Examiner~y2008m10d29-LinkedIn-part-1-Updating-your-profile.

    The second is about Twitter – specifically, how to tweet your way to an entry-level job or internship: http://www.examiner.com/x-828-Entry-Level-Careers-Examiner~y2008m10d31-Tweeting-your-way-to-a-job-or-internship.

    Thanks, as always, for bringing fresh ideas to the table!

    Heather
    http://www.examiner.com/x-828-Entry-Level-Careers-Examiner

  2. Leonard says:

    Linkedin was added to the About.com Top 10 Employment site list with 2 other sites but linkedin is still the only social netwoking site on the list. 3 newest job sites on top list are:

    http://www.linkedin.com (professional networking)
    http://www.indeed.com (aggregated job listings)
    http://www.realmatch.com (matches you to the perfect job)

    Good luck to all those searching for jobs.

  3. Lawrence says:

    Hit it right on the nail. Introvert, passive searching. I was shocked how similar your situation was to mine. All my friends have already started their careers, and I’m still looking after a year. I graduated with a CS degree with honors, but with no internships or any work experience. Everyone in this field’s looking for at least a year’s worth of experience, and most are looking for 3+.

    It’s difficult for me to post “I’m looking for a job” on Facebook–going back to the “introvert” (I did read the Facebook article, but didn’t have the guts to advertise myself in front of strangers). There’s some stigma related with being unemployed and lacking “structure” in life.

    I’m slowly opening up to my family and friends about it, and getting some help finding a position in their respective workplaces.

    Thank you for bringing this up. It’s a big relief to know that I’m not the only one experiencing this.

  4. Gannon says:

    I’m an introvert too, though not yet graduated. This gives me some pretty strong motivation to sign up for events and get the ball rolling now rather than later. Thanks for that.

  5. Joyce says:

    Loanoard – Thanks for the links, I see job matches and I am applying for a few which look good. Appreciate that!

  6. Monica says:

    As an undergrad in her last year, I am constantly on the lookout for opportunities like internships and even entry level jobs, even if I don’t necessarily apply to everything I read about. These sites (OneDayOneJob and OneDayOneInternship) are just two of my resources – departmental blogs like http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/CREES/ and http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/CESEUC/ and http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/AMWInternshipScholarshipLeadership/ allow for me to get updates and new information related to my major. Since I still don’t have my degree, I’m being a little more passive than I should about the job/internship search right now. Sites like OneDayOneJob and OneDayOneInternship give me new ideas on where to look and other places I could “fit in” with my skills and experiences. That way, when I finally get the motivation (and have time between term papers and midterms) I already know where to look and have more than one option for my future.

    Willy – now I feel really bad for not replying to your reply to my email…. I promise to be a more vocal “reader” on your sites! You’ve been doing a great job so far and the dedication and effort really shows. Please keep up the great work!

    Other readers of ODOJ or ODOI – I’d like to hear about your searches and your resources. I think that this could become a very active community, if just to keep each other motivated through the job/internship search process!

    ~Monica

  7. I’m glad to see some of you opening up.

    @Lawrence – Sounds like you’re on the right track. Keep running with it.

    @Gannon – I hope the motivation sticks. Breaking out of introversion will make a huge diference.

    @Monica – Thanks for all the praises. Don’t wait for your degree. That’s what I did, and it was a huge mistake. I’m looking forward to your reply to my reply.

  8. Jessica says:

    I wish I could take part more in ODOJ but am well out of college and no longer entry-level. I still read every post and saved the Facebook self-advertising one for the next time I’m job hunting. ODOJ doesn’t so much help me learn about current openings as it introduces me to companies that are unfamiliar to me. I like to research my options given the economy and shaky state of my current employer.

  9. Steph says:

    Willy

    I just stumbled across your site today while avoiding my homework in Mann Library… I’m a Cornellian too! I’m a senior double-major in Sociology and Spanish and considering working in study abroad for a while before going back to school for teacher certification and a masters degree. If anyone else has similar interests, the NAFSA: Association of International Educators site provides a listing of international and US positions, although few of them are entry level http://jobregistry.nafsa.org/search.cfm. Also, most independent study abroad programs and many universities have links to job openings on their sites. That’s about all I’ve got.

    Great work on the site!
    Steph

  10. @Jessica – It’s amazing how many of our readers aren’t currently job hunting, but still keep reading. I think you’re making a smart choice by always looking.

    @Steph – Thanks! Go Big Red!

  11. ResumeTips says:

    Great article!

    Something that may help is to look at networking as a way to help others rather than to ask for help — many people find it easier to be the one offering help than the one requesting it. By offering to share leads or resources with others who are looking for work, you actually can end up doing a lot to help yourself: you’ll get a reputation for being helpful and a team player, which are traits employers want; the person you help is likely to return the favor if they encounter opportunities you may be interested in; and if the person you help is a job-hunting extrovert, you may end up getting some leads through their network as well.

    _________________
    Resume to Referral
    Resume and Career Services
    http://www.resumebycprw.com

  12. […] job search. I’ve been carefully reading and nodding along to what Willy Franzen has to say on the matter: What I don’t understand is why job search has to be accompanied by solitude…Because job […]

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