In our somewhat insular world of search marketing & social media, we sometimes forget that there are people who have learned these skills with the end game of making their "real world" job more productive and lucrative. I"m not sure I remember exactly how I met up with Jenny Foss via social media but she struck as someone who has really exceled at adapting social media as an engine to help drive her pre-existing business. We normally hear about how small business owners who crash & burn when they drive onto the social media expressway without a roadmap...Jenny is someone who is cruising in the fast lane.
1)Please give us your background and tell us what you do for a living (with links)?
I'm the owner of an independent recruiting firm in Lake Oswego (www.ladderrecruiting.com) and the face behind JobJenny.com (www.jobjenny.com), a blog dedicated to giving job seekers, entrepreneurs and dreamers the one-on-one attention they need and deserve in today's crummy economy.
2)How have you used social media to grow your business?
Well, I'm admittedly pedaling as fast as I can learning how to best leverage social media to generate business and communicate with my customers and followers. On the recruiting side of my business, I use Linkedin fairly heavily to recruit candidates and attract new corporate clients. And social media is the foundation of JobJenny.com. I've built my following, in large part, via Twtter, guest blogging, and through Facebook. And now, I've begun to monetize the site. My first offering launched two months ago. It's a resume writing service called Ridiculously Awesome Resumes (http://www.jobjenny.com/resume-service/.) I've already had several orders come in that are directly attributible to Twitter and Facebook.
3)How have you used social media to network with your peers?
Again, I use Linkedin fairly heavily to connect with peers and those working within the fields I represent in my recruiting work. One thing I do that often generates peer conversations is regularly post status updates on Linkedin. Whenever I post a new job opportunity or ask a question, I typically get quick responses from my peers on that topic. It's a great, underused social media tool for those in the recruiting business (and job seekers, as well).
4)How can companies use social media to find good employees and how can prospective employees use social media to find jobs?
Well, probably first way is to learn everything they can about how powerful social media can be for recruiting talent. I think a lot of companies and even recruiters are sort of intimidated by these emerging tools, so they end up avoiding it altogether (huge mistake) or flailing around without any kind of a game plan. And I'd absolutely recommend studying how Groups within LInkedin work, and how they can be a literal candidate gold mine once you understand them.
5)How would you counsel a prospective employee to keep their social media image "professional" without being boring?
Simply put "Be You." But 'll add, "...so long as 'You' is not offensive or obnoxious."
No really, the best examples I've seen of job seekers leveraging social media as part of their search efforts are those in which the job seekers clearly let their personalities shine through. Bland or "safe" won't get you anywhere in today's job market. Show them clearly what makes you special, noteworthy, and someone they want to bring on board.
6)How has blogging impacted both your business and yourself personally?
Hmmm, good question. It's impacting my business by completely removing any geographic boundaries tied to my work. And that's helping me earn more money. Personally? Well, I've always had a fairly big, colorful personality so I'm not sure blogging has changed it so much as given the world carte blanche access to it!
7)You and I both know that potential hiring authorities are easy to find online, especially on LinkedIn. How can an unemployed / underemployed person reach out to such a person in a professional, beneficial, non-threatening way?
Linkedin Groups. Join relevant, professional groups -- especially the ones you see these types involved with. And then start thoughtful conversations within these groups, either on the forums or through a direct email to that person with hiring authority. The magic of Linkedin Groups is that, once approved for membership, you can contact all of the members in the group directly. You just have to do so in a thoughtful, inquisitive, contributory manner, not in a way that makes them feel like "Holy cow. Who is this guy, and why is he ambushing me?"
8)Some of the folks reading this interview might be long-term unemployed and have been using "conventional" job search techniques without success? What words of advice would you give these folks?
What's the definition of insanity...? Yep, doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. If you're getting up each day doing the same old things, and they're not working? It's time to create a new game plan. I'm actually working on an ebook (available on JobJenny.com by December) that will help bewildered job seekers screw their heads back on, and then create and execute a job search strategy that considers today's economy and challenges -- and works.
It truly is a new ball game out there for job seekers. The best way to take on this reality is to create an action plan -- one with daily and weekly assignments -- and then execute on it. Your job is your job search when you're in this boat. Show up at your job every day ready to move yourself closer to your goal.