Social Media

"I Can't Find A Job!"

The title of this post is so often repeated in the media — all the way from college students who have just graduated to middle managers who have lost their job to workers in the sunset of their career. You need to TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE.

The Rules Of Job Hunting Have Changed.

How is your job hunting going? Maybe you need to reassess how you look on the web — it's not just your resume anymore.

Social Media Is Ruining Your Life.

How many text messages do you send in a day? How many emails? Tweets? Foursquares? How many quotes/photos/links do you post on Facebook? Pinterest? How many sites do you surf to learn about the world around you?

All of this is GOOD. But it shouldn't be the end-all of what you do to communicate every day.

Do you interact with strangers anymore? Your neighbors? The shopkeeper down the street? The man at Starbucks who makes you that perfect coffee every day?

As we stretch out via the web, we are slowly and subtly closing out many people around us. Not our friends, but those people I call "Strangers". You know, the people you DON'T know and unfortunately, they don't know you either.

As we entwine our lives with more and more social media outlets, it allows us to forgo the opportunity to reach out to people we touch everyday — the waitress, the auto mechanic, the crossing-guard at the school — and have a meaningful conversation with them.

Honestly, we don't even have to talk to them anymore — they are not only strangers, they are 'non-people' in our lives.

You might say — so what? But you might be missing out on your new best friend, your new boss, or your new life partner.

A better title for this post should be "Start A Conversation".

In the next few days, start a conversation with 3-5 strangers whom you wouldn’t normally talk to:

Ask them a question, make them laugh, or give them a compliment (I really like how your arranging those oranges - how do you do that?). You also need to get a response back — and if the opportunity presents itself, have a conversation.

But this is my charge to you — you have to do it this week. Make it happen.

Why Aren't You Working On The Big Stuff?

Your life is filled with small stuff. And sometimes, as Richard Carlson said, "Don't sweat the small stuff". Unfortunately, we get caught up handling the small stuff almost all the time.

What You Don't See Will Hurt You.

As web companies strive to tailor their services (including news and search results) to our personal tastes, there's a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a "filter bubble" and don't get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview.

TED presents Eli Pariser, who argues powerfully that this will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy.

The Most Inspirational Social Media I've Ever Seen.

Every so often, a good friend sends you a story, an article, or a video in this case, that not only gives you hope and inspires you, it knocks your social media socks off. I know this will go viral (259,000 views since Sunday).

Build a Social Media Hiring Strategy.

hiringJon Jordan got a weird feeling recently when he interviewed a candidate for a sales and marketing position. By Chris Penttila at Entrepreneur Magazine.

The applicant’s claim of double-digit sales at another company didn’t parallel with that company’s turbulent history. “It didn’t match up,” says Jordan, founder of Atlantic Business Technologies, a Raleigh, N.C. web development and marketing firm with 30 employees.

He went on LinkedIn and found a connection in the applicant’s network to verify his suspicions. The claim “was completely false,” says Jordan, 30. The applicant didn’t get the job.

Jordan’s not the only one cruising social networking sites during the hiring process. A June Jump Start Social Media survey of 100 hiring managers at small, mid-size and large companies found 75 percent go to LinkedIn to research job candidates before making a job offer, while 48 percent check out Facebook and 26 percent go to Twitter. When asked where they find talent for job openings, 66 percent said LinkedIn, 23 percent said Facebook and 16 percent said Twitter.

Social media sites have become an integral piece of the hiring puzzle; it’s how to leverage these sites most effectively as a recruiting tool that has companies scrambling. These sites are low-cost or free to join, but it takes time and effort to make them truly useful.

“Most companies aren’t doing enough,” says Veronica Fielding, president of Jump Start Social Media. “They think there’s an ROI that’s got to be associated with it immediately.”

Other companies are still trying to wrap their heads about the whole idea of social media. When Oklahoma City-based HR consultant Jessica Miller-Merrell gave a talk about social media at an HR conference this spring, some people asked her how to use “Tweeter,” while others believed social media was the domain of marketing and Generation Y, not the HR department.

“Most of the HR people there [were] not seeing the value yet,” says Miller-Merrell, who blogs about the social media/HR axis on her site,

On the other end of the spectrum are entrepreneurial firms like New York City’s 5W Public Relations, which is seeing a big payoff from its social media recruiting efforts. The 75-employee firm has a LinkedIn profile, a company Facebook page, a blog and a Twitter account with hundreds of followers. Founder Ronn Torossian, 34, posts job openings to Twitter and recently recruited a great hire with way. He’s recruited other employees through Facebook. “I think social media absolutely does work to help recruit [new hires],” he says.

Atlantic Business Technologies posts job openings on Twitter that direct applicants to the company website and the company’s Facebook page. Its LinkedIn profile offers a company overview and employee profiles. Jordan likes taking the company’s job openings viral on Twitter by “re-tweeting”-- that is, having his followers spread the word to their followers. “Many times it just takes a couple of ‘re-tweets’ to get potential candidates to review the job description,” he says. “Facebook and LinkedIn are great for networking and Twitter is better for broadcasting.”

Twitter is more than a form of microblogging; it’s also a real-time search engine. Miller-Merrell suggests using hash tags that designate a topic (i.e. #jobs) and simplify Twitter searches. “You can actually search for ‘#jobs’ and use advanced options to sort or narrow it down by zip code,” she says. Sites like and will let you post job openings that are fed over to Twitter. For best results, balance your marketing with links and trendy insights that position your brand as a valuable part of the Twitter community, Fielding says.

How to Build a Social Media Strategy This downturn is a great time to develop a social media recruiting strategy if your company doesn’t have one yet. Here are some basic tips for getting started:

Analyze your staffing needs. What kinds of jobs will you fill over the next year, and which social media sites will get you in front of your target applicants? If you run a small grocery, your potential workers are on the more casual Myspace and Facebook. If you need a director of sales, LinkedIn is a better bet.

Start where you’re comfortable. Some sites will feel more intuitive to you, and that’s fine. Dedicate 15 minutes to your favorite social media site a few times a week until you’ve got it down, and then branch out. Learn how other entrepreneurs use social media sites for recruiting, and don’t be embarrassed to ask other members on these sites for shortcuts as you’re learning them.

Remember your manners. Would you walk into a networking event full of people you don’t know and tell them to find the perfect applicant for you ASAP? Of course not; that would be rude. The same manners apply in cyberspace. Join some groups on social media sites and participate actively for awhile before you ask members to forward your job listings and so on. Good manners and common sense give people a good vibe about you, and your company.

Don’t do too little, but don’t do too much. Some candidates might think your company is in the dark ages if its social profile is too low, while others might get intimidated--even suspicious--if your company seems to be everywhere, all the time. Ponder the right level of exposure as you position your company.

Be consistent and responsive. Make sure employees have a uniform way of describing the company on these sites so job seekers aren’t confused, Fielding says. Designate an employee to check the company’s social media pages daily, too. If a customer posts a message to your company’s Facebook page saying the company is unresponsive, you’ll only further this perception if the complaint goes unanswered for weeks.

Realize that it’s a long-term commitment. Don’t expect a quick ROI from your social media efforts. It takes six months minimum to build relationships with people on social media sites “and that’s if you are hardcore,” Miller-Merrell says. Be patient, stick with it and be prepared to make a few mistakes as you poke around these sites.

What you do now will put you miles ahead of your main competitors in finding the right hires when the economy picks up. “If you don’t have good people, you don’t have a good product,” Jordan says. These days, you can’t have a good recruiting strategy without a good grasp of social media, either.

Chris Penttila is a freelance journalist whose work has also appeared in The Costco Connection, Oregon Business magazine, QSR Magazine, and other publications. She lives in the Chapel Hill, N.C. area and covers workplace issues on her blog,