Guest Post: How To Get Lucky While Jobsearching

Ed. Note: The last time we heard from journalist, social media strategist, and MJD friend Alexis Grant, she was telling people how to turn their traveling dreams into reality without hurting their careers. Here’s another post of hers, this one about getting lucky, or rather, making your own luck while you’re searching for a job. She also asks that we mention her new online course about how to use social media to Make Your Own Luck. If you feel like you’re not getting the most out of your social networks, now’s the time to sign up!

When it comes to looking for a new job, we often credit luck with bringing us success.

Someone important noticed how awesome you are and recommended you to a recruiter? How lucky! You heard about an open position before it was listed on job boards? Just your luck! A hiring manager reached out to you on Twitter? You lucky duck!

But in truth, luck rarely shows its face without being summoned. Most of these “lucky” situations only occur when you set the right foundation and go out of your way to make strategic connections. In other
words, you have to make your own luck.

But how the heck do you do that? How do you help opportunities come your way?

Years ago, this would’ve required a ton of legwork. And while legwork can still be part of that equation, we now have a way to get far more bang for our buck: social media.

Now you can get the right people to notice you without getting up from your desk. Here are a few tips for doing just that:

For the love of God, get on Twitter. LinkedIn and Facebook are great networking tools, but Twitter is by far the most effective network for getting on the radar of people you don’t already know. And let’s face it, you probably don’t yet know most of the people you want to hire you. So if you’ve been putting off joining Twitter and – even more importantly – learning how to use it well, you’re at a disadvantage. This should be a priority for your career.

Recognize the power of the RT. If you want to get someone’s attention without getting in their face, retweeting one of their (quality) tweets is a subtle way to do it. A RT is Twitter’s version of giving props, and who doesn’t love a little flattery? Better yet, add a thoughtful comment to that RT, so they quickly realize what a smart cookie you are.

Stop trying to remain anonymous on LinkedIn. Why does everyone not want their name to show up in someone else’s list of who has viewed them that week? Don’t look at that hiring manager’s profile from your friend’s account just to remain under-the-radar. You want that person to know you took the time to look them up on LinkedIn and learn what you have in common – it shows your resourcefulness. In fact, even if you already know everything about the person you want to notice you, go view their profile just so they see that you did.

Use your cyber-stalking abilities for good. Know those sleuthing skills you relied on to find juicy details about your ex’s new flame? Dig for info on the company or person you want to hire you with that same passion. Rather than relying on your application alone, try to make contact – in a non-creepy and non-annoying way – on your social networks. This is where Twitter is super important, because it’s not creepy to interact with people you don’t know on Twitter, where it might be perceived that way on Facebook or LinkedIn. With so many qualified workers applying for most journalism and media positions, filing an application is no longer enough.

Make return-stalking work to your advantage. If you do catch the eye of the right person, they’ll turn around and check you out right back. Are your profiles set up in a way that will make the most of that return-stalking? Are you providing value on your channels? Showcasing your expertise? All your efforts are likely to fail if you haven’t followed through on this essential step.

Target, target, target. These strategies work best if you know exactly who you want to notice you. That means which company, which recruiter, which boss, even which co-workers. So hone in not only on the type of job you want, but the company or organization you want to work for. The more specific you can be, the more effective these strategies. And that’s when you’ll really start making your own luck.