A former job seeker tells how he used social media to quickly find a job during the recession.
Although this story is about a job search in Israel, these tactics should work anywhere that LinkedIn and Facebook are popular.
The job search began with LinkedIn
I first thought of the companies I wanted to work for and did a search for people who worked for them on LinkedIn. I was able to contact the people either by:
- Sending a message if we shared a common LinkedIn Group or
- Sending the following message as an invite:
My name is JOB SEEKER'S NAME. I am an American Oleh and recent MBA grad looking for a job in Israel. I am trying to get an entry level position in COMPANY NAME and by a LinkedIn search found that you work there. Would you be willing to talk on the phone? If not, could you give me some advice by e-mail? Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
JOB SEEKER'S NAME
JOB SEEKER'S EMAIL ADDRESS
JOB SEEKER'S PHONE NUMBERS
Note that had enough people responded to my invite with “I don't know him,” my privilege to continue in such a manner would have been taken away. It didn't happen, but the chance was still there.
Shockingly, about half of the people I emailed did respond by e-mail or by phone. Some were willing to forward my CV to their HR department but some were willing to chat on the phone. When I got the chance, I'd ask what the career path is in their company (i.e. what are the entry-level positions) and then for some general advice in getting a job in Israel. Many had a sort of interview with me and would send my CV to HR with a nice cover letter about our conversation, what they thought of me and where I could help the company.
- Basically, people just like to help people and when I shouted “could you give me some advice or help?” many came running to help me.
I did the above process for about 10 companies. Unfortunately, all of them are currently on hiring freezes (this was in January 2009, when thousands of jobs were lost in Israel and many workers had their hours cut back). However, thanks to what I did I have contacts in all of them and already have a foot in the door when the time is right. Also, I've been emailing my contacts every so often to see what is going on with the hiring freezes.
Using Facebook together with LinkedIn leads to the job
In the end I got a job through another social network.
I saw an ad for a job and I *almost* fit the job description but they wanted a certain requirement I did not have and to be honest, I didn't think you needed for the job. I took the contact's e-mail address and Googled it in order to get the contact's full name, which I then plugged into Facebook and LinkedIn. It turns out we have a few common friends on Facebook and we even attended a barbecue together at a common friend's house. I called the common friend of ours and asked her to see if I could get my CV through despite not having all of the requirements.
My CV got through and after a few interviews, I got the job.
What I learned about job searching in Israel
The process reinforced one thing that I believe to be an absolute truth in Israel:
The CV does not matter nearly as much as your connections.
As long as your CV isn't something a monkey smeared on a wall it is fine. My interviews referred to my CV much less than my small connection to someone in the company. The person who trained me at the new job didn't even look at my CV but did notice that I knew someone in the company.
As a side note- while I was looking for a job, I met with a professional HR person who told me that according to research she was given, 85% of jobs in Israel are found by networking. I can only imagine that this number will rise during the recession and in hard times, it is not those who are the most qualified, but those with the best connections that will get the jobs.
- If you ask people for help, they will often give it to you, especially if you make it easy for them
- Social media are a great way to get around the gatekeepers of HR
- Nurture and grow your network when and where you can