Today is the start of a new feature on the ResumeBucket Blog, the Secret Jobs series.
For anyone that has been out of work and looking for a decent amount of time it may feel like you’ve exhausted all avenues for looking for work. You’ve searched every job board, asked all of your friends if they know of openings, and spent hours perfecting your ResumeBucket and LinkedIn profiles.
But in times like these, a little creativity goes a long way. And it is in that spirit that this series will explain some secretive and less well-known techniques that we’ve seen people use to help them in their job search.
Finding where your industry hangs out
This week’s entry for Secret Jobs involves online communities and how forming meaningful relationships online can earn you unpublished job leads and unusual industry insight.
The first thing we need to do though is find where people from your industry are hanging out. And this might be the most difficult part of the process.
I can’t show examples from every industry under the sun, but I’ve chosen a couple that I think are general enough to give you ideas for your own industry search; marketing and sales.
Marketing is a pretty broad moniker, but let’s keep our prospects open; if you are looking for a job in online marketing wouldn’t you also be interested in a position for print marketing too? Sales is a similar industry, experience in any form of sales usually transfers pretty well to other types of sales.
The first place to search is Reddit. It is most commonly known as a place to share links, but Reddit is also arguably the largest online community. Within the site there are also sub-communities that can sometimes serve as the largest community for some career industries.
First, see if your industry has its own sub-Reddit, example:
Marketing has a 2,000 member strong community on Reddit. However, with the sales sub-Reddit’s last submission over a month ago it would appear as if this community is no longer active.
If you do find a populated sub-Reddit you can begin to interact here and get to know the members. Make sure you become VERY familiar with the rules of the community and lurk a bit before you jump in. But once you learn the ropes send messages to active members, submit questions, and add to the conversation.
Reddit also has a couple of communities that are geared specifically for helping people find work. Once again, get a feel for how the community works before jumping into the conversation. But even if you just check these once a day you could find positions not found anywhere else.
If you don’t have an account with Twitter, get one now. I’m not asking you to share with the world every mundane detail of your life, but look at it like another online job profile you need to create.
Once you have a profile complete with photo, bio, and location you can start finding people to follow. Using the search function you want to look for people who are talking about things in your industry. If there are current events happening in your industry, I would start by searching for these. People who are discussion such recent events will probably be the most active in your industry on Twitter.
Once you have followed them keep an eye on their tweets, check your timeline a few times a day. If you find something particularly interesting send them an @ reply with your own insight. The goal is to form online friendships so down the road you could potentially ask them about any openings they know of.
And don’t forget to tweet yourself. Make your tweets applicable to your industry; share news stories, comment about recent trends, etc. When they see you are following them, you want them to see a fellow industry professional with plenty to share.
Of course you can always find industry communities using the world’s most popular search engine. I decided to start with Reddit and Twitter because Google can often be filled with clutter.
But if you search using some of the following queries you might just get lucky (replace Industry with your own industry).
Putting in work
Now that you have a target community the next step is to become one of them.
You shouldn’t exactly go into this community thinking you are infiltrating them just to find a job. Even if you successfully find employment through the community, these are still places you should want to continue participating in.
With that in mind, participating in your community and making friends should be pretty straightforward. The big question is how long do you need to wait before asking if there are employment opportunities here. I think each community will be different and this is something you need to feel out on your own. But I would say a good starting number would be a month. Put in at least a month’s worth of relationship building before you ever bring up your self-interest.
Once you have made friends in your new community the optimal result is that they tell you about job opportunities unsolicited. But if this hasn’t happened, simply ask them in a very polite way if they know of any openings at the moment.
These communities are built to help each other and every encounter I have ever had with an online industry community has been a positive one. And once you do find a job, don’t forget to turn around and help someone else in the same way someone helped you.Frankie Eybsen is the marketing manager for ResumeBucket. Frankie has worked in marketing, web design and development, and SEO. He maintains a large client list for both marketing jobs and production. You can send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.