NEW YORK (MainStreet) Seeking to express her creativity and demonstrate to potential employers how her background would make her an asset, Leona Chu used targeted Facebook ads to show companies that she was interested in working for them.
Chu's strategy helped advance her career and she is now the advertising operations manager for Work4, a San Francisco-based recruiting software firm.
Instead of submitting hundreds of resumes through job boards and other websites, Chu and millions of other potential job seekers are reaching out to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn instead to continue their careers.
Searching for a job through social media has become more commonplace as more people are seeking new positions. Over half or 51% of employed workers are either actively seeking or open to a new job, according to a survey conducted by Jobvite, the San Francisco-based recruiting software company. Only 47% of people stay in jobs for over ten years while 35% change jobs at least every five years, the survey said.
The survey showed that four in ten workers found their "favorite or best" job through personal connections, including 21% who used their social networks, 20% from online job boards, 19% from classified ads and 10% from recruiters. A majority of social job seekers or 76% found their current position through Facebook.
Chu's creative efforts to find a job through Facebook wound up being very successful, because the social media company allowed her to target people who are currently working at a specific company or even those with a certain job title and resulted in a "great channel for building conversation."
"If you are interested in working for a company, don't be afraid to show them how you can bring value to the company," she said. "Facebook ads have advance targeting capability. The campaign I did was very successful. I received a number of follow up emails from recruiters and also got scheduled for many interviews."
Job seekers should be pro-active and use both Facebook and LinkedIn since "companies tend to do a screening process before contacting a potential candidate for an interview, and LinkedIn is the key channel to do so," Chu said.
For people who chose to use advertising to reach out to potential employers, Chu recommends a single Facebook ad, because it is more cost effective and has "great targeting capabilities."
"The best strategy is to use Facebook's newsfeed ad which appears both on mobile and desktop," she said. "That way you can get your job seeking message out to a larger audience and reach people on-to-go. Facebook accounts for one in every seven online minutes, and there is no way that you potential employer will miss your message."
While Chu also used LinkedIn ads, their minimum cost per click is $2, which is more than Facebook ads. LinkedIn also has an "InMail" message feature, where you can send direct message to anyone on LinkedIn, but it's more expensive and costs $10 for each email.
When Tracey Zeeck, president of Bumbershoot PR in Oklahoma City, was looking for an office manager, she decided to post an ad on Facebook and eschewed the other typical options so she could find the person with the right personality for the position.
"I didn't want to get just anyone," she said. "So I went only to Facebook, and I ended up with the best and most perfect person for the job and I didn't waste a minute. Since I am weird and since it was Facebook, I was able to put together the right job description that said not only what the job could entail, but also exactly what the person might expect within the organization."
Zeeck's unconventional posting asked for an office assistant "who can deal with things that are, for lack of a better term, terrible. Organizational skills a must, desire to help us not go crazy, a must-must. The coworkers are crazy. But if you like crazy, man, do we have a job for you!" The post resulted in 65 shares and Zeeck's company was "inundated with qualified candidates."
The experience turned out to be "insane," but Zeeck said the best part was that everyone was referred by someone she knew, resulting in "some accountability" and eliminated the "random Craigslist crazies."
Julie Gordy, 32, whom Zeeck hired to be the office manager, said she had been searching for a "fun job" after spending ten years working at a halfway house with convicted felons. She had started out by seeking out companies or organizations that she wanted to work for, but when those options did not pan out, Gordy started scouring the Internet.
Gordy heard about the job on Facebook after a mutual friend tagged her in the comments section and coincidentally had three other Facebook friends send her the same posting.
"All of this took place within the first half hour the job description was posted," she said. "It all happened so fast and so effortlessly I felt like the universe was telling me this was it. I had finally found the right fit."
One of the benefits of using Facebook was that it allowed Gordy to check out both Bumbershoot PR and her potential boss prior to her interview.
"I got to see the work Bumbershoot does, some of the clients and Tracey's personality," she said. "I would have never found Bumbershoot PR had my friend not tagged me in that post."
Social job seekers tend to be "younger, wealthier, more highly educated and more likely to be employed full-time," including the fact that four-year college grads use social media to vet prospective employers' company culture with 23% who used LinkedIn, 19% who turned to Facebook, 19% who utilized Google, 16% who used Instagram and 13% who followed companies on Twitter, Jobvite's survey said. The respondents also said they used social media to look up contacts that are employees at a prospective employer with 24% who turned to Facebook, 23% who used LinkedIn and 19% who used Twitter.
Veterans of social media know that landing a job through those networks entails sharing the right information to attract employers. Appearing professional and proactive can be a challenge, so knowing what to post and what to delete can be helpful.
After reviewing data from the past two years and testing thousands of users, the majority of users have images and texts that could harm their reputation based on information that they posted and posts that they liked or shared, said Lior Tal, co-founder of Rep 'N Up, an Israeli software company which uses algorithms that analyze images and text.
The company's analytics found that the average user totals about 3,000 activities on Facebook annually from their posts, comments, tags or shares and 15% of the users have 10 to 20 problematic pieces of text, 13% have 20-50 problematic text pieces and 7% have over 50 problematic texts. The research also found that 15% of the users have 10 to 20 reputation-harming images, 20% of the users have 20 to 50 problematic images, 8% have 50 to 100 problematic images and 4% have more than 100 problematic images.
The quality of your content should remain your first priority. The Jobsite survey found that 93% of recruiters review candidates' social profiles in the hiring process while 42% have reconsidered a candidate positively or negatively based on content they saw online.
While some users think that changing settings of their privacy and blocking users who are not friends helps them, but "recruiters view these users as those who have something to hide and hence more risk," Tal said.
--Written by Ellen Chang for MainStreet