Tag Archives: job-search

Can Your Social Profiles Affect Your Job Search?

More people are pounding the pavement in search of employment than ever before. People from all walks of life and age are vying for the same positions. With thousands of people on the same quest, how do potential employers narrow down their decisions? What happens when two candidates are equally qualified? Years ago, the hiring manager may have simply flipped a coin to make their choice or gone with a gut instinct. These days, though, they are much more likely to turn to the Internet to figure out who should be hired. Your social profiles are a gold mine of information when someone is trying to figure out if you will fit into their company. If you’re about to embark on a job search, it’s time to clean up those pages people.

If you’re like me, you have Googled yourself on more than one occasion. When was the last time you looked at those results as though through another person’s eyes? How incriminating are the profiles you have online? What would the head of Corporation A think about the drunken party pictures on your Facebook wall? I’m sure that the personnel manager of Company B will adore reading about the way you escaped a ticket by lying to an officer, as posted on your Twitter stream. Do you see where I’m going here? You cannot be too careful these days. Potential employers can – and DO – search you out online.

How can you protect yourself, then? We know you aren’t going to stop posting things online. The first thing I recommend is to go back and do that Google search. Go through any and all links you find that have to do with you. If they are something derogatory posted by another person, contact them and see if you can resolve the situation and have the content removed. Be sure to check through the Google image results, as well. I’m not sure you want to see what may be in there, so why would the person you’re counting on hiring you need to?

Facebook is usually the first place a person doing the hiring will look for you. You need to remember that they are not only going to see whatever you post to your Wall. They will see snippets of what you post to others’ Walls. They’ll see any Pages you may have associated yourself with. It’s not a great idea to try for a management job with Peet’s Coffee if you’ve sworn your undying love on Facebook for Dunkin’ Donuts, right? Don’t forget to check out photos that others may have tagged you in – those can be the most dangerous of all! Remove your tag from anything which doesn’t reflect so well on you – pronto! Look at the Groups that people have added you to without your even realizing it. You may want to get yourself out of there – and fast. Also, head into your Privacy center and make sure that pictures others tag you in do not show up in the large picture strip at the top of your profile now. You can do this by heading into the Privacy Settings, click Customize, scroll down to Things Others Share and then choose to customize Photos and Videos I’m Tagged in. While you’re there, you might also want to make sure people cannot check you into places. That could get sticky!

There are many other places a potential employer will gladly check you out. What have you been saying on Twitter lately? Are you ranting like a lunatic about things which don’t even make sense after a long night of playing Quarters in the dorm room? Are there links to half-naked pictures on Twitpic or Flickr? Those are sites you likely hadn’t thought of, but could affect that job you’re praying to get. Take down any photos that your Grandma shouldn’t see, and you should be safe from the prying eyes of the head hunters. Consider making your Twitter account private when heading out on interviews or sending out resumes unless you’re sure there’s nothing incriminating there. Again, remember that it’s not only about what YOU put online… you have to be mindful of what others say to and about you, as well. Twitter apps these days allow us to take a look at @ messges. Even if you post only sweet things on your own account, others may be ranting at you about the sad state of your life. That’s not going to look so hot during the interview process.

LinkedIn is a fantastic resource and one you should be taking advantage of. Sign up for the service and fill in as much information as you possibly can. Be honest – people will quickly find out when you’re lying. Padding your credentials on this site is just as bad as doing so on your actual resume – and is potentially even worse, depending on the type of job you’re going for.

The largest thing you need to keep in mind is that making your accounts private or only allowing friends to see what you’re doing does not necessarily keep a hiring manager’s eyes off of your information. Billy was a college student who applied for his dream Internship – working in a government office. His Facebook profile was set to allow only friends to view. During the interview, though, he was questioned thoroughly about things found on his FB wall. The interviewer explained that as a state agency, recruiters accessed his Facebook account under the auspices of the Patriot Act. Luckily for Billy, he had friends in high places and received his coveted spot anyway. You may not be so lucky.

The easiest – and hardest – thing to do is to not post anything online which could bite you in the ass later. The temptation is so strong, though, to share more of our lives than ever before. You may be fourteen now, but you will be twenty in just a few years. What will the head of that state agency find on YOUR Facebook Wall?

How To Use Google to Land Your Dream Job

Alec Brownstein was bored with his job. He wanted a challenging new position with a top creative firm. Googling his favorite creative heroes one day, he noticed that none of the results had sponsored ads attached to them.

Brownstein bought Google ad words for the creative directors’ names, which cost him $6. “No one else was bidding on (the names),” he said, “so I got the top spot for like 10 cents a click.” He landed his dream job at Y&R New York by playing to the egos of Gerry Graf, David Droga, Tony Granger, Ian Reichenthal and Scott Vitrone. All of the directors whose name he purchase called him to talk about a job except for one (who is likely now kicking himself). The ads he placed were simple, yet effective:

Hey, [creative director’s name]: Goooogling [sic] yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is fun, too” with a link to Brownstein’s website, alecbrownstein.com.

“Everybody Googles themselves,” Brownstein explained. “Even if they don’t admit it. I wanted to invade that secret, egotistical moment when [the creative directors I admired] were most vulnerable.” When asked what his advice is for other people hoping to land their dream job via the Internet, Alec says “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there in an interesting way. The people who you want to work for can’t hire you any less than they already are. So shoot for the moon.”

Alec didn’t only land his dream job thanks to his creative efforts. He also won two Pencils and a Clio.

Job Search Affiliate Programs

You can generate RSS job searches through a single TagJag OPML pull: http://tagjag.com/jobs/keyword/opml (obviously, you’d want to replace the word ‘keyword’ with your own search term. I think I’ve uncovered just about every job search site that outputs RSS for search queries (if I’m missing any, please let me know). I only bring this up after being approached by at least four companies in the past month to start doing co-branded job search portals. While I’m sure this works well for some, it’s never really worked well for me in the past.

Even though I’ve just set job listings at $5 for 60 days through Simply Hired’s Jobamatic, I’m really not expecting a single bite. Why? Oh, maybe because I’ve set up job affiliate sites before and (despite sending good traffic) have wound up making far less than it costs me to buy a cup of Peet’s coffee.

When you join an affiliate program, you’re doing THEM the favor – NOT the other way around. I remember being impressed with Amazon’s affiliate revenue back in the day, and then millions of publishers came online during the dot-com boom. I’d have been lucky to score $20 in a quarter for sending traffic to Amazon after that. I’ve had a few small Amazon Web Services ideas brewing in my head, but have been waiting for a few more things to click before jumping on them (literally and figuratively).

It was suggested to me that the design of these co-branded affiliate programs may have been keeping people from clicking and posting. Page design has absolutely nothing to do with – and if it did, Craigslist would’ve failed before it started.

If I can’t hyperlink directly to specific back-fill job offers without losing the affiliate credit, success will be severely hampered (and I’ll be sending you even more “free” traffic). I understand I’m supposed to promote these links to my community, but do they understand that the same people (you) belong to 100 other communities that have job listings that are extremely similar (even if they’re not from the same service)?

Job search / job listings are a commodity – to an extreme degree. I could plug anybody’s URL for a year and maybe eke out one new customer and make a few bucks in affiliate revenue. These things simply DO NOT WORK without a hook, and hooks do not apply if everybody’s given the same set of tools. This is one of the reasons why having an API is a great start – but don’t leave those of us without extra developer cycles hanging.

It’s the classic affiliate conundrum.