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I need a job, so chat me up!

I had to chuckle to myself when a young man visiting in my home noticed on the wall a photograph of my college-aged daughter and absent-mindedly said to no one in particular, “Chat me up!” That young man understood the importance of one of the foundations of social media marketing, which is to get others on your behalf to speak of and promote your positive traits. However, he had not convinced me to be his evangelist because I had no history or experience with him, no knowledge of his character. Whether or not I chatted him up depended entirely upon what I knew of him, whether he might be the type of beau my daughter would like, and if her father and I viewed said prospective suitor as, well, suitable. This is not different from a company seeking a prospective employee having a chance meeting between a job seeker and an employee of the organization.

The fact remains, if you need a job, you need someone who is willing to “Chat you up!” The job seeker does not just walk into a room and immediately say to their friends and contacts, “Chat me up!” I suppose that someone could do such a thing, but rarely would such an encounter result in employment, any more than my daughter’s admirer’s request of a reference would land him a date. Getting others to “chat you up,” is in essence a social skill.
People can acquire social skills. Like the taste of Oma’s Strawberry Rhubarb pie, social skills require the right combination of not too sour and not too sweet. Some people are born with this innate ability, the skill to charm or interact in just the right way with each individual or organization they encounter, no matter the circumstances. Words used to describe such a person might be “a real charmer.” Look at how the word charm is defined: “a manner to magically impart a spell or desired effect.”
Harry Potter is a real charmer. However, if someone does not possess such skills in real-time, Internet social media tools, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn will not charm social skills into their interactions. In my experience, it is quite the opposite. I am always amazed at the choice of words people use while trying to achieve a goal through social media interaction.
Social is the people part. Media is the tool. While the invention of Morse code, shortwave radio, the telephone, e-mail, and social media have changed how people communicate, the social act is still a personal skill of timing, words selected, and intensity of conveyed meaning to get a message across to others.
Social networking for a job is no different today than hundreds of years ago. It is the attitude you take in social interactions that makes all the difference–it’s not the tools, it’s the person and how they use the tools. Therefore, how does a job seeker get “chatted up,” to increase their professional network or to a prospective employer through social media?

  1. Social. Establish and stay in touch with a network of personal and professional friends and acquaintances that you meet through life, involvement in groups, clubs, charities, churches, organizations, and associations–whether you participate, lead, or volunteer. Now you are social.
  2. Useful. Contribute something to life and to those groups. My mother always says, “Any group always has its workers and its shirkers.” Be a worker. Help others whenever you can, for no reason and without expectations. (See Social.)
  3. Timely. You might miss an opportunity if you are not seeking employment daily, aware of what is available in the employment marketplace. When you are ready to give up, keep going. Better yet, help someone else. (See Social.)
  4. Appropriate. Be appropriate in your actions and in your interactions with others, as well as in what opportunities you pursue. Do not send a “stock” join my network request. Personalize your message. (See Social.)
  5. Courteous. Ask nicely, explain your position, use please and thank you. Often people fail to ask, for help or for the job. Let everyone know what you want and thank them for their help. (See Social.)
  6. Everywhere. Connect with people through face-to-face communication, telephone, e-mail, social media, and the employer’s preferred method of applying for jobs, as well as job boards, personal introductions, informational interviews and hand written notes. (See Social.)
  7. Strategic. Get your name and experience in front of the decision maker from multiple sources. Your name will stand out from the volume of applicants. (See Everywhere, then see Social.)
  8. Retro. Follow up with a thank you whether in the form of an e-mail or snail mail to anyone who has given you their consideration whether in time, an interview, lunch, contacts or information. (See Social.)
  9. Empathetic. Feel what they feel, which means you have to do research into the individuals, company, products, services, customers, market, and environment. You will have ideas that will move you to the top of the hiring list because you will understand the needs. (See Social.)
  10. Confident. If you have done everything you know how to and you still do not get the job, do not get discouraged. Just start all over again at the beginning. (See Social.)

Every item in my list sends the reader back to how to be social. Therefore, whether you use Twitter, or Facebook, LinkedIn or Zoom, you, too, can be like my daughter’s suitor by setting the foundation for others to see the best in you–not too sour, not too sweet–and always with high hopes that someone will be your evangelist and “Chat you up!” to help you land a perfect job.

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