Submitting a job application isn’t always enough to get noticed by employers. In today’s career expert Q&A, Julie Bauke walks us through when, why, and how to approach employers through social media.
Why can it be advantageous to approach employers via social media instead of through more traditional channels?
There is not one right way to approach every employer, so you always need to be thinking about the best approach for that particular employer.
If you see that they are active as a company or as individuals on LinkedIn, then you can be comfortable that they are open to being approached that way. If, in your research, you find the hiring manager’s name and look him up on LinkedIn and he has few connections and an incomplete profile, you’d better stick to more traditional methods. If the company or the decision maker is active on Twitter, follow them for a while so you can get a good feel for style, favorite topics, etc. before you engage.
It is a good idea to have more than one strategy per employer. For example, applying online only is almost always a loser as it is easy to get lost in the hundreds of responses. In that case, as soon as you have hit “submit,” begin your search for a networking contact who works there who might be able to help you in your navigation of the process.
When it comes to social profiles, what is the biggest mistake you see job seekers making?
Being “halfway in.” You are either committed to using social media or you are not. In LinkedIn, an incomplete profile is worse than none at all, especially if you have very few connections as well. What conclusions might someone draw about you based on that? It doesn’t matter if it is true or fair.
Of course the “overshare” or lack of professionalism that too many people exhibit is up there too in terms of mistakes. A LinkedIn profile picture with you on a boat or with your kids says that you don’t get what the proper use of LI is. Regaling your FB friends with your drunk updates or your disdain for your work will all come back to haunt you too.
When first approaching a prospective employer, is there a certain network or introduction that is most effective? What about least effective?
“Recognizing that people are busy, very few will take the time to meet with a stranger who has had no introduction or has no well-thought-out reason for contacting them.”
The best person to intro you is someone who can speak knowledgably about your professional capabilities — your character and competence because he or she has experienced both. That is someone who is willing to put their stamp of approval on you — and that is huge!
With anyone or any org you approach you should always have a reason for approaching — they have an open opportunity, you want to learn more about the company, you want feedback and advice on something, you are looking to learn about a career.
Like many parts of life, least effective is a cold call or cold approach. Recognizing that people are busy, very few will take the time to meet with a stranger who has had no introduction or has no well-thought-out reason for contacting them. Building and maintaining relationships must be done on a consistent basis so that you have the network you need when you need it.
There can be a fine line between getting noticed and going overboard. How does a job seeker know if she’s doing it right?
So true! As far as making contacts and following up, there are no hard and fast rules, but most people settle on three separate reach outs, a week or so apart, as a decent rule of thumb. You really must listen and read the signals. If the person is starting to sound exasperated or frustrated with you, you are trying too hard. Personally, I am not a fan of gimmicks or cutesy things. One client sent his resume locked inside of a toy safe with the key attached to a cover letter. He never heard from that company again.
Is there anything else you would like to say about this topic?
The best way to have a company interested in you is to have taken the time to understand their business, their challenges and their goals and to be able to align what you have with what they need. If you are not a solution to some “pain” they are having, you will not get anyone’s attention. When you are meeting with someone who works for an org, or who has the contacts to get you in, listen more than you talk. Seek to understand so you can best position yourself when you get a chance. Being in “sell” mode, or “all about you” mode is not compelling.
About the Expert
Julie is a Career Strategist and President of The Bauke Group. She believes we all deserve to be “Career Happy,” and her business focuses on educating and motivating individuals to take charge of their careers. She is a dynamic speaker who has presented programs to numerous groups, including the Kimberly Clark Global Women’s Group, Convergys Women’s Leadership Group, Purdue University, Georgetown University, and ASTD Cincinnati. She is also a trainer, coach, and author. Julie is regularly featured as the Careers Expert on 700 WLW, one of the largest radio stations in the Midwest, and WXIX-TV in Cincinnati.
She is a graduate of Purdue University’s Krannert School of Business and lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband, two sons, and three very spoiled dogs.
Connect with Julie at TheBaukeGroup.com and on Facebook.