If you pay any attention to the news, you might think that anyone who is looking for a job should immediately cancel his or her Facebook membership and never sign up again. Headlines read: Bank Intern Busted by Facebook, Employers Look at Facebook Too, and Employers Snoop on Facebook. There’s rarely anything new in the stories, but somehow they continue to pop up in all sorts of media outlets. More and more companies are using Facebook as a recruiting tool (and those who aren’t yet should hire us to help them), but for the most part any press that has included the words “employer” and “Facebook” has been negative. Not anymore.
A month and a half ago, I posted a call to One Day, One Job readers asking for adventurous job seekers to participate in an experiment. We received over 40 responses from interested job seekers and e-mailed each of them with specific details about what we had in mind. Here’s what we sent them:
Facebook allows you to target your ads very specifically. We target seniors at specific colleges with our ads, so there’s a good chance that some of you found out about One Day, One Job this way. More and more employers are trying to leverage Facebook to find great entry-level talent, but not many are doing a good job. We offer consulting services to help them do that, but we have much more fun helping job seekers. I recently came up with the idea of reversing the roles. Instead of helping employers target students with recruitment messages, why not help students/new grads target employers with Facebook ads?
Basically, we want you to create an ad for yourself. The goal is to sell yourself in a few short sentences and convince any recruiters who may see your ads to click through to your resume/web page/contact information. You’ll need to put together an image (a picture of you or something that tells employers why they should hire you), a pitch about yourself in as few word as possible, and somewhere to link to. Most importantly you need a target. This will probably eliminate some of you from the experiment, but its absolutely necessary to make the method worthwhile. Your target can be based on keywords, location, or a company. Targeting by company is the most likely to succeed, because you can guarantee that you’re actually reaching people who work at companies that might consider hiring you. How you target will depend on what kind of jobs you are looking for. We’ll help you tailor an advertising campaign to meet your job search objectives, so don’t worry about not having any idea about how to do this. We’ll walk you through everything step by step, but you should already be very familiar with using Facebook.
You’re probalby saying, but doesn’t Facebook advertising cost money? Yes, it does. Luckily, there are some current Facebook promotions that give away free advertising credits. We’re planning on having you use those, although we hope you’re gung-ho enough about this idea that you would pay for the ads if you had to (they’re pretty cheap).
Of those we e-mailed, 16 committed to being part of the experiment, and only 5 go-getters were adventurous (conscientious?) enough to give the experiment a fair shot. As a group they had varied results, but all considered the experiment to be worthwhile. Below are profiles of each of the 5 students and their observations on participating in our Facebook job search experiment.
Katelyn Hill recently graduated from Abilene Christian University with a degree in Electronic Media. She loves television and movies and hopes to work in the entertainment industry, so she targeted the Walt Disney Company with her Facebook advertising campaign. Her ad received 685 clicks, which garnered 21 e-mails and 4 Facebook messages. She was offered one job interview, but wasn’t quite qualified for the position, so she declined. She also had several e-mails from individuals who offered to forward her resume to their supervisors. Many others offered her general advice on finding a job with Disney or commented on how creative they thought her ad campaign was.
Here are Katelyn’s thoughts:
I thought the experiment was a great idea. Although I haven’t gotten a job yet, the experiment provided me with a lot of new contacts and helped get my name out there. I received so much response to the ad, I am working on developing a new ad targeting a different company. All in all, I thought the experiment was a fantastic and the positive responses I received gave me hope that my new job is just around the corner!
Here are some of the notes that Katelyn received in response to her ad:
“Anyways, if you see a job posting on disneycareers.com and you want more info or would like help getting your resume moved up to the top of the pile, I might be able to help. Feel free to contact me.”
“good thinking! nice advertising! :)”
“Getting your resume pinged to my home page on facebook is the kind of out of box thinking we are always looking for.”
If you or someone you know is hiring for an entry-level position in the entertainment industry, check out Katelyn Hill’s VisualCV.
Michael Wuest just finished his M.B.A. at Missouri University of Science and Technology (formerly University of Missouri-Rolla), and he dreams of working in brand management or marketing. He recently interned with the Communication Department at his alma mater, and helped them with branding issues related to their recent change in name. Michael got more creative with his advertising campaign and tested a few ad variations.
This is what Michael had to say about his participation in the experiment:
My goals for the experiment were to target employers who have a strong brand identity and marketing teams. This is where I felt I could gain the most experience if I were recruited to work for any one of these companies. I originally tried to be more creative but that did not work. I then tried a more generic ad and got a lot more responses.
I truly feel this is a good way to show employers how creative and distinctive you can be. This experiment definitely interested me, since it is another way to market yourself to potential employers and develop your own brand. The next time I do this I may change my ad to reflect my education more, since I believe that is a strong point on my resume and since I am more an entry-level style candidate than upper-management.
Michael’s first ad read, “Knock, knock. Opportunity knocks only once. I’m knocking. Click to see my resume.” He targeted people at Facebook, Accenture, Anheuser-Busch, Ford Motor Company, T-Mobile, Wal-Mart, AT&T, Sprint, Miller Brewing, Monsanto, The Walt Disney Company, Nestle, ESPN, St. Louis Blues Hockey, and Fox Sports. His ad was viewed 50,992 times and clicked 117 times with a total cost of $30.33. This broadly targeted ad wasn’t very successful for Michael – it resulted in no leads, so he narrowed down his approach for his second ad. For his second attempt Michael targeted Sprint with the ad that you see to the right. This ad was viewed 2,588 times and clicked 32 times with a total cost of $5.12. This ad resulted in 5 e-mails from current and former Sprint employees and an informal phone interview. Michael has applied formally through Sprint’s employment website and is currently waiting to hear back from them. He is also experimenting with targeting other employers through Facebook ads.
If you think Michael Wuest could help your brand management or marketing team, check out Michael Wuest on LinkedIn.
Laura Pilkington is a recent graduate from Old Dominion University with a degree in Business and Public Administration, Management, and Psychology. She is looking for an entry-level job in operations or marketing. She had heard extremely good things about working at the SAS Institute, so she targeted them with her Facebook ads. Her ad was viewed 2,288 times, clicked 44 times, and she spent $9.24.
Here are Laura’s thoughts:
I’ve made some contacts, but no interviews have come from it yet. It opened up conversation and allowed me to let people know that I was looking for a job. Now people are recommending companies based on their reputation for working with their employees. Being relatively new in the city, it helped me to learn about possible employers to look into now. I thought it was an interesting process. I wouldn’t necessarily do this for every job I’m interested in, but it was a great way to get my name out.
Think that Laura Pilkington would make a great hire for your company? Reach out to Laura Pilkington on LinkedIn.
Alex Payne just graduated from Duke University with a double major in English and Literature, and he has been exploring career options in marketing and publishing. His ads targeted a company that he was already working for part-time, Uloop, and Oxford University Press. Because Uloop is such a small company, Alex’s ad targeting their Facebook network only was shown 26 times and received no clicks. His ad targeting OUP was much more successful, as it garnered 622 views and 20 clicks. One of these clicks led to a Facebook message from a Duke alum who had worked for Oxford Journals. He said:
I saw your Facebook ad and know that the Journals Production team is currently hiring (you may have seen a job posting if you’ve been checking the OUP site). One of my close friends is reviewing applications and, from your LinkedIn profile, thinks you might be a good candidate. But of course, for her to consider you she would need a formal application.
Here are Alex’s thoughts on his participation in the One Day, One Job Facebook Experiment.
This result exactly what I wanted to get out of this experiment. I wanted to know about opportunities and receive information. I think that as I apply to new places I will use these tactics again in order to gain attention to myself. The ability to show people my references and resume immediately is a great help. I think it is important to do this only at select companies and not as a overall scheme. If you do that you will get too many hits that mean nothing and lose money.
If Alex Payne is just the type of new hire that you’re looking for, why not reach out to Alex Payne on LinkedIn?
Baker Barnett recently graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in Finance. He’s looking for a job as a financial analyst in the Washington, D.C. area. Although Baker didn’t receive any e-mails from interested employers, he did get a number of suggestions from people on where he should apply for jobs. Baker’s ad generally targeted people in the Washington D.C. area. It was viewed 35,315 times and clicked 76 times for a total spend of $26.93.
This is what Baker had to say about the experiment:
I think the experiment was a very interesting and different approach to the job search process. It got me to think about things like how to target my message and how to get everything I wanted to convey into a short space, which were not strong points beforehand and this was an informative way to go about learning those skills. I also received numerous e-mails from people asking about my results and telling me how they had been contemplating a similar approach via Facebook advertising, so it is a good thing we got out there when we did as I feel this will become a good way for people to get additional contacts through an easy to use advertising interface.
If Baker Barnett sounds like someone that you’d want to hire, you can find Baker Barnett’s resume on JobFox.
In case you haven’t figured it out from reading about the experiences of our 5 participants, Facebook advertising is a great way to grab the attention of employers. Landing a job is all about standing out, and these 5 students certainly made themselves stand apart from the competition. Although none of them has landed a job directly from his or her participation in our experiment, each has had overwhelmingly positive results from the ad campaigns. In fact, we were so impressed by the results that we decided to share them publicly before running another set of experiments. Here are some key takeaways from the experiment:
1. The most successful students were those who targeted a single company with a very specific ad that mentioned the company’s name in the text.
2. Targeting by location draws too many extraneous clicks and seems to have a low return on investment.
3. Spending more on ads leads to more responses.
4. This method is best suited for targeting larger employers with significant populations of Facebook users.
5. Most people are too lazy to take the initiative to do something like this. We told 40+ people about the experiment, 16 said that they would take part, and only 5 actually went through with it. Just because the method is now public doesn’t mean that it won’t continue to be effective.
6. Closing the deal is still important. A technique like the one that we have described will start a conversation with employers, but you need to be able to sell yourself in both informal and formal communications to actually land the job. Nobody is going to hire you just because they saw your ad.
Any other takeaways? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments, and if you’d like to learn more about how to run your own Facebook advertising campaign targeting employers, keep reading.
Now that we’ve told you all about how Facebook ads can be used to get employers interested in hiring you, we want to make sure that you know everything that you need to know to get your own Facebook advertising campaign running. Here is a 7 step tutorial on setting up your campaign.
To get to the Advertising page, scroll to the bottom of any page on Facebook, and click the link that says Advertisers.
You’ll end up seeing this. Click the green button that says “Get Started.”
Next you’ll come to this page. You’ll need to enter in the URL (web address) of whatever you’re going to link to.
This could be your LinkedIn profile, your VisualCV, your blog, or anything else. Make sure that it allows for people who click to contact you easily. We recommend signing up for a VisualCV not only because they have a great product, but also because we’ve built a partnership with them because of the popularity of this experiment.
Be sure to triple check this step. If you mess up, the entire ad campaign won’t work.
Here’s where you need to do the targeting. This can be tricky depending on whom you want to target.
The easiest group to target is a specific work place (you need to click a link to expand the window and make that option available). This is perfect if you’re targeting employers specifically. If you’re doing that, you should create separate ads for each employer.
This is where you create your ad. Come up with a good title, and great copy. Sell yourself in as few words as you possibly can. This is a great starting point.
Use a photo of yourself if you wish. Don’t use any pictures that you don’t own (no company logos ).
Here’s where you make your bids on the ads. You should probably just go with the recommendations, but make sure your daily budget is low enough that you’ll get a few days’ worth of ads running.
Here you have to approve the ad and enter in your billing information.
Facebook requires a credit card to run an ad. Since you’ll be using free advertising credits, you won’t be billed, but you still have to enter in the information.
For a free $100 coupon code, Install the Visa Business Network Application. Make sure that you install the application, and don’t become a Facebook Fan of it. You will be e-mailed the coupon code.
Facebook offers simple analytics tools that allow you to monitor your advertising campaign in near real-time. In one simple interface you can see how often your ad is being shown, how many clicks you’re getting, and how much you’re spending.
It’s important to measure your campaign as it happens so that you can tweak it for maximum performance. Since Facebook ads cost money, you need to make sure that you’re getting a good return on your investment.
One Day, One Job is all about helping college students find great first jobs. That’s why we’ve spent weeks designing and testing this experiment to make sure it was worth your while. Clearly, targeting employers with Facebook advertising is a technique that can help you get a job. If you have any questions or comments, please share them below. We’d love to get a lively discussion going on what works and what doesn’t when using Facebook ads to land a job.
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