All day, I've seen postings and re-tweets of this article, "How Job Seekers May Use Social Media in the Future" mashable.com/2010/10/11/job-seekers-social-media-future/.
It got me thinking... could expanding a job search to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or similar sites really work?
Out of curiosity, I began cold-calling companies in St. Louis. The first person I connected with told me that her company recently hired someone who pursued the job on Facebook.
Allison Nay graduated from college last May and started sending out resumes in the communications and marketing fields.
She came across a status update about an internship at Captiva Marketing in St. Louis. So, Allison messaged the PR specialist for the company. She didn't know the contact very well, but they'd met in college and had since lost touch.
The move worked.
The PR specialist, Meg Fullenkamp, says that out of about 50 applications, Allison's stood out. She immediately printed out Allison's resume and called her in for an interview. Allison got the internship later, a permanent position.
"It ended up being a really good hire and it made me look at her resume twice because I could put a face and a name with the resume. It wasn't just something that was submitted through a contact form," said Meg Fullenkamp.
She added, "I think people want to work with people or help people out that they know in some way and on Facebook and Twitter and other social media sites, it's not that they always know the person, but you feel like you know that person."
Of course, job seekers should use caution and clean up any inappropriate photos on profile pages. Also, be careful where you send a resume because it does contain personal information and you need to make sure you're sending it to a reputable firm.
Check out this example on Twitter: twitter.com/#!/unemployedinPR
Bobby Metzinger, a SLU grad, found himself unemployed in Dallas. So, he created a Twitter account and constantly updated followers on his job search. He told me that the effort lead him to some freelance work and as of Monday, a permanent position as a Social Media Specialist for a Dallas-area firm. The company contacted him after others re-tweeted some of his tweets.
His advice: keep the tweets professional and positive. Metzinger focused on his skills and what he was looking for. He said, "don't tweet about what you're doing on a Friday night".
By now, a lot of companies have their own Facebook pages and Twitter accounts. Some will actually advertise job openings. Others may be a little more subtle.
"I know a lot of companies also have pages that are on Facebook or Twitter accounts and sometimes they'll talk about topics within the industry. You know, chime in, and don't be afraid to talk about it and join the conversation because then they might see your name a few times and look into it," said Fullenkamp.
The bottom line? If there are companies you'd like to work for, look into how they put out information about their company. Do they tweet regularly? Are they active on Facebook? Look into whether you can make those connections on-line.