The follow post originally appeared on the conference blog for SoCon13. It has been republished here with (my own) permission in its entirety. The Early Bird registration deadlines mentioned at the end of the article have already past, and so has the conference. See you at SoCon14?
It’s vital to recognize the role of your digital footprint and how you present yourself online. You never know when opportunity will knock …
News traveled fast after Zynga announced plans to lay off five percent of its full-time staff and scale back work at its Austin, Texas studio last Tuesday. By Wednesday, Zynga employees had begun receiving LinkedIn messages from recruiters at Blizzard Entertainment, a competing software company apparently looking to hire.
It was a brazen move by the gaming mogul, and a screen shot of one of the messages soon went viral.
“I’m sorry to hear about the layoffs at Zynga,” the message from Blizzard Talent Sourcer Kathy read. “I wanted to reach out and do what I could to help our fellow gaming industry brethren. Blizzard Entertainment is hiring for over 100 positions right now and we respect the high level of talent coming from your company.”
The message went on to include a link to job openings at the company.
More companies than ever are tapping social media to help with the recruitment process, some 92 percent in 2012, according to a survey from Jobvite.
And LinkedIn is the platform of choice for 93 percent of recruiters, followed by Facebook and Twitter at 66 percent and 54 percent respectively.
Related story: Five Tips: Using LinkedIn to Land a Job
It’s been a growing trend for years, and shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The thing is, you don’t have to sit around and wait for recruiters to come to you. Being active or even proactive online can help increase your visibility and, ultimately, your chances of earning a living.
When a young photography hobbyist shared a short gallery of photos on Reddit.com a few months ago, he never thought his love for the lens could transform into a career.
“When I posted my first album on reddit, I wanted to pursue photography, but always figured it was too difficult to survive as an artist,” photographer Kyle Thompson said in a recent update post, “so I was going to college with no clue what I wanted to do with my life.”
“I have been completely overwhelmed with the response I got. I thought maybe 50 people would check out my album, but it was viewed over 4,000,000 times! Within hours, I had thousands of new people following my work through facebook, flickr, tumblr etc. I was even recognized in public once … “
Since his viral debut, Thompson’s work has been featured in magazines and other big publications. He’s not quite making a full-time living with his work (yet?), but just by putting himself out there, sharing his work, and maintaining a strong presentation online and multiple social accounts, he’s now on his way to pursuing his dream.
I’ve even got a little success story of my own.
In 2010 I landed an interview, and ultimately my first job out of college, browsing Twitter. I was doing my best to be proactive, following the biggest names and think-tanks in journalism. On that list was @CSJournalism, an “incubator” for new, sustainable models of journalism at Kennesaw State University.
Just out of school, I was hunting for work like a rabid hyena. I had my blog churning, a polished LinkedIn profile, and a handful of social accounts to play with.
It just so happens I was chatting it up on Twitter that day in August, when the Center for Sustainable Journalism (you know, @CSJournalism) sent out a single tweet advertising a part-time position with a focus on social media and journalism.
Good timing. Good fit.
I started researching, updated my resume specifically for the job, and figured out who was running the CSJ’s social accounts. I e-mailed my application and tweeted the CSJ’s Digital Strategist, Noah Echols, directly asking for an interview.
The rest is kind of history. I came in for the interview, but they had already done a lot of their homework online. Later I’d find out, my direct message to Noah on Twitter played a big role in helping me stand out in the pile of resumes.
It’s a simple story, but it shows that being proactive on social media and conscious of your presentation online can help facilitate the hiring process. Likewise, having a sloppy footprint could potential hurt.
Since that tweet in 2010 I’ve had the opportunity to do some amazing and fun work, but it all started there. Within a matter of months I started working full-time for the CSJ, and enjoyed playing a role in their digital media strategy and journalism work. I’m honored to be a part of another year of SoCon, co-chairing SoCon13 with my colleague Noah Echols.
If you haven’t gotten your tickets already, you should join the festivities. Come mingle with some of the Southeast’s most knowledgeable social and digital thinkers, and facilitate your online connections with real-world ones.
If you’ve read this far, you’re undoubtedly interested. Register now for $59 early bird tickets before Dec. 15, 2012 and join the conversation at the Southeast’s longest running social media conference series.