Social media is taking over the world, job market included. Although websites like Indeed and Simply Hired make matching applicants with jobs easier than ever, sometimes hiring moves faster without the middleman. In this era of instant posting and personal brands, it’s easy to see why employers expand their searches to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and even SnapChat; social media is an easy way for them to tell if you hold standards and practices in line with the identity they want to project.
More and more, new hires are being snapped up not from traditional cattle calls and interviews, or even job-centric sites like LinkedIn, but from run-of-the-mill social sites where users go to express themselves. Read on for stories and tips from people who were actually hired through social media.
Tracy Clayton, Journalist
How she got hired: Clayton drew Twitter attention after she helped to launch the hashtag #BlackBuzzFeed, in which users imagined what BuzzFeed would be like if it catered to a black audience. After seeing her (hilarious) tweets a BuzzFeed editor contacted her through direct message offering a job. She was hesitant at first, but after BuzzFeed flew her to New York to tour the office and she was sold.
Her top tip: “You never know who’s watching you,” she told a group of NYU students at a panel. But potential eyes on her account don’t hold her back; she readily admitted to tweeting about her menstruation cycle every month. She’s funny, brash, and honest—a perfect fit for BuzzFeed. She’s not afraid to innovate and to do things differently. “Don’t marry yourself to the old ways of doing things,” she said.
Rose McManus, Photographer
How she got hired: McManus’ Instagram is a work of art. Pull it up (@rose_mcManus) and prepare to ogle clean, white backgrounds and sharp, minimalist shots of coffee, skylines, and portraits. It’s every lifestyle blogger’s dream. “An acquaintance of mine messaged me through Facebook asking if I’d be available to take portraits of her,” she said. “She told me she’d asked me because she followed me on Instagram and she liked my style. She wanted portraits that looked neat without looking too posed.”
Her top tip: Like it or not, your social media accounts are your brand. “Having a brand doesn’t mean establishing a disconnect between you and your account,” she said. “It means having a distinct understanding of who you are and what you have to offer and communicating that in an effective way. A brand provides consistency and allows potential customers to anticipate a specific return on their investment.”
Celia Ampel, Journalist
How she got hired: Ampel was a Miami Herald intern who got ambitious with her Twitter followers. “One of the people I followed was the managing editor of the South Florida Business Journal,” she said. “They had a job open, so he emailed me and asked if I was interested. They were impressed that I was social media savvy.” Part of her job at the Business Journal was to tweet several times a day, so she was a great fit.
Her top tip: Be proactive. “It’s a good idea to follow and interact with people in your field on Twitter,” she said. “Tweet about your work, but throw in some personal tweets so people can get a sense of who you are. Use common sense and keep them tasteful.”
Clark Walker, Barber
How he got hired: Walker’s Instagram feed is a virtual journal of people he’s met and hair he’s cut. He followed Fellow Barber and noticed they were hiring, so he left them a comment about how he’d always wanted to work there. “They took a look at some of my pictures,” he said. “It allowed them to see what I could do, what I had been up to, and a little about myself. It’s definitely not the only thing that got me hired, but it gave them a chance to get to know me and my skill set.”
His top tip: It never hurts to market yourself, Walker said, especially if it’s free…but keep in mind who might see your posts. “Instagram can turn into a great way to show off your portfolio and what types of professional skills you’ve got, or it can be used to show off your selfies and fancy appetizers. Do what you want with it, just know lots of people might take a look one day.”
Abigail Carney, Journalist & Banner Butter employee
How she got hired: She saw a tweet about a job offer at Do512, a local events blog, and responded right away. “I use Twitter a lot for networking and sharing ideas with other writers, editors, and communications people,” she said. “They were looking for someone social media savvy and in the know, and I guess that was me.”
Carney also did a stint as a part-time butter factory worker, because why not? “Banner Butter posted on Instagram about looking for part-time workers, so I emailed them from there,” she said. “I’d just posted in a Facebook group a few days prior that I needed some part-time work to offset freelance life chaos, and the universe and my friends delivered (via the internet, of course).”
Her top tip: Promote yourself by being yourself. “Figure out a genuine, true-to-yourself way to stand out,” she said. “I’m not necessarily the coolest or most qualified cat, but when responding via Instagram and Twitter I try to use fun and interesting sentences, calling on my copywriting background. Shoe them some spunk and surprise them—you can do it in 140 characters! Also make sure your social media account(s) of choice reflect what you’re about. I’m a kooky freelance writer who does a myriad of things, so my accounts are goofy stories and pensive, weird photos and ponderings. Know yourself.”
Photo: gradyreese / Getty Images