Moving from Insanity to Strategy on the Job Search—Leveraging Social Media to Land a Job

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Apparently, Einstein knew a thing, or two, about patterns of behavior that don’t serve us well; learning how to break those patterns is another thing.

The typical job seeker goes hunting for employment on a host of websites that aggregate job postings from a myriad of employers hoping that someone, somewhere will want them. Quite often, these individuals report back that for every fifty applications they’ve submitted, they maybe received one interview. While there is nothing inherently wrong with this approach, it is not the most effective way to land an interview, let alone a job. If anything, searching the likes of careerbuilder.com, or idealist.org, ought to be only one part of a multi-pronged job search.

From there, incorporating a method of identifying targeted employers becomes critical to narrowing your focus on opportunities that truly align with your career goals. When you are more clear on where you’d like to call ‘home,’ professionally, you’re more likely to develop a resume and cover letter that effectively articulate your interest and fit; and, you’re likely to deliver a far more compelling and relevant interview.

Finally, it helps to have some clarity around the types of roles, or positions you’re pursuing to hone in on specific job postings. Without a direction, or target you’re moving towards, it will be especially difficult to weed out the right opportunities and to convince employers on why you’re the best candidate for the job. Being open to anything and everything can be overwhelming, time-consuming and paralyzing to the process. As such, think about what topic, or issue resonates with you, or for which you desire to have an impact.

For example, if what fires you up is the topic of sustainability, then consider how it is you want to plug into this issue; are you the person analyzing data to help inform an organization’s decisions, are you leveraging your talent in project and program management to design and roll out initiatives that will support food justice, or might you be the one whose talent in social media helps you develop a strategic communications plan to raise the community’s awareness around recycling and mobilizes them to action? Whatever it is, let the answer to this question guide you in seeking roles that align with your strengths, interests, and values.

In the meantime, use the resources below to help you develop a targeted job search using LinkedIn and other tools. And, attend the upcoming workshop: The Power of Networks: Leveraging Social Media for the Job Search 

The goal of the strategy below is twofold———————————————————————————————————————–

  1. One part is to help you in getting really clear about the employers you want to work for while at DU, and post-graduation.
    • And, then, through informational interviews, to build relationships to folks in those companies who ultimately become your champion for opportunities, while also expanding your scope of what is possible for types of jobs and companies that would fit who you are.
  1. Additionally, the other part of this exercise is to search websites targeted by industry to identify job postings that resonate with you and begin applying.

Steps to Building a Targeted Job Search———————————————————————————————————————–

Research people (and/or organizations) on LinkedIn and Guidestar who are at the intersection of your interests, motivations and professional ambitions.

  • Use a keyword search and narrow down by city/state
  • Take note of the organizations and companies these individuals work for, including their current and past job titles that might align with future roles that could fit for you.

Create a list of 20-30 of those organizations you’re interested in (create an excel spreadsheet to track your findings)

  • Find at least one DU alumni, or other professional, working in that company with whom you could contact for an informational interview
  • Use the LinkedIn alumni page and Pioneer Connect to identify fellow Pioneers

From your list Send an email to one individual in your Top 5 Companies (or, career fields) requesting an ‘informational interview’

  • Keep the focus of your outreach on your desire to learn more about the company, the nature of the position and cultural fit; rather than on your pursuit
  • Repeat Step #3 every two weeks until you’ve reached out to all your contacts

Informational Interview Resources——————————————————————————————————————————

By Carolyn Sommers
Carolyn Sommers Assistant Director of Career & Professional Development Carolyn Sommers