Monday, October 27, 2008

Selling Yourself on Facebook

We all know that we should maintain good online profiles that advertise our brand and convey a sense of professionalism in case that job recruiter ever goes hunting for you online (which they will). We know that your Facebook profile needs to be polished, and any Google searches for your name had better come up squeaky clean. i.e. there should be none of this:

But what about instead of passively maintaining one's image online, you go out there and actively pursue recruiters on that ever-so-fickle Facebook? I read about a great experiment last month where five students created Facebook ads to try to land themselves jobs. It sounds a little bit far-fetched at first --isn't Facebook supposed to be the thing that makes people lose their jobs, not get them? Well, the idea actually turns out to be one of the smartest ones I've heard in ages: Use a well-targeted Facebook ad and a great online profile to reach out to the exact companies you want to work at. As a marketing student who is really interested in high tech marketing, I figured that using this technique to advertise myself would 1) Highlight my understanding of social media and marketing and 2) Demonstrate that I'm a creative marketer. 

So I decided to try it. 

And it WORKED. Last Friday, I created an ad that linked to my VisualCV telling employers that I wanted a job (paid for with $100 in ad credit from Visa). By Saturday night, I had a response from someone in the exact program I am looking to get into. How's that for effective networking? 

However, it's not as simple as creating an ad that reads, "I want a job!" Nobody will click through to your personal website or resume with a tagline like that. Facebook advertisements are like any other type of advertisement: they work best when they are positioned correctly and obey the first commandment of marketing: target, target, target. In my case, I identified the company and position I wanted and wrote my ad around that. If you were to write a great ad to land a position with the Bright Ideas Group, it should look something like this:
(It works really well when your picture matches the Facebook colour scheme.) 

The beauty of Facebook is that you can target your ad to the exact employer and geographic location you'd like to work in. Want to work for Google in San Francisco? Sure! What about Toronto? Just change the geography setting! 

The rules: 
- Target! This strategy works best when you address a specific company --people are much more likely to click through when they see their employer's name. Targeting by location will end up being a waste of money as people click through and find out that you're not what they were looking for.
- Include a photo: Based on my personal study of "things I like to click on," adding a picture helps draw attention to an ad.
- Have a killer link: I like VisualCV because it's so customizable and it tells you what pages people are visiting you from. 
- Tweak the ad: Make sure you're looking at the tracking so that you can see who is clicking and when. Change your target if it's not working.

I can't say that a Facebook ad is going to get me the job I'm after. That's what the interviews are for. But it has gotten me a good contact, and hopefully will help bring my application to the attention of the right people.

1 comment:

Ali Sohani said...

That's an excellent way to brand yourself online for seeking job. Specially people in field always love innovative ways you can pull things of, marketing is of course not different, the way you managed to get your targeted audience is your success in exhibiting your talent.