by Mallory Rothstein ’15, BA in Psychology
This past fall, I decided it was the right time to leave my former employer and find a new job. My goal was to start a fresh chapter by landing a position in the tech industry. The only catch? Never before had I worked at a tech company, and I didn’t have many close connections within any tech companies, either. I knew that in order to get a job, I would have to be a standout applicant.
And I succeeded! But how did I do this? I was able to use social media to my advantage. Without having to apply through a job webpage, I successfully landed an interview for an Executive Assistant position with Spotify, the music streaming app company.
Here are the four social media strategies that helped me stand out as an applicant:
Establish Your Personal Brand: Before applying to any job openings, I established a clear and consistent personal brand across all of my social media channels. This included uploading a professional photo, writing a short and personable biography, and posting content that showcased my interests, expertise and skill-sets.
A strong personal brand allows a potential employer to get to know you better, which helps determine whether or not you’d be a right fit for a certain position, or if you’d fit in well with the company culture. It also allows employers to physically see the impact you had in previous roles beyond the accomplishments written in your resume.
It’s important that you keep your personal brand consistent across all your social media channels. If you showcase yourself differently on various channels, an employer might question who exactly you are and what it is you’re really interested in.
Network: Once I established my personal brand, I reconnected with people in my network and formed new connections. I posted a status on Facebook to let my connections know that I was looking for a job in the tech industry, and which positions and locations I would be open to. Soon after, a flood of messages poured into my inbox from family and friends who sent me job postings, connected me to recruiters, and gave me advice based on their own job search experiences.
In order to form new relationships, I wanted to find a way to connect with people who had jobs that I wanted, or, more broadly, with people who worked at my list of dream tech companies I wanted to work for. One day I saw that the organization Lesbians Who Tech was hosting an event at the White House. I was able to find the list of all of their attendees and their social media channels. I coursed through the list, narrowed it down to fifteen people who I thought might be open to connecting with me professionally, and messaged each person on LinkedIn. To my surprise, the response rate was really high! One girl I ended up meeting with for breakfast eventually became one of my good friends and assisted me tremendously throughout my job search.
Research: When I first started to research job opportunities, I didn’t just look into the responsibilities and expectations associated with different positions. I also investigated the company’s mission, culture and the employees that I might end up working with.
I found the Executive Assistant position at Spotify via LinkedIn because someone in my network had posted about it. After falling in love with the job description, I immediately researched Spotify’s company culture, employee benefits and the LinkedIn profiles of current Executive Assistants, which helped me see how my background stacked up to theirs.
I was also curious to know which executive I would be supporting if I got the job, so I researched that as well. But when I only saw “VP of Growth & Marketing” listed, I thought it would be smart to search for the “Spotify VP of Growth & Marketing” on LinkedIn and Twitter to find out exactly who filled that position.
As it turns out, the VP and I both had experience in the healthcare industry, enjoy blogging and are interested in marketing. It was great to have that information because it helped me formulate thoughtful, personalized questions for a potential future interview.
Reach Out: Here’s the big move! It’s time to finally to take action by finding a unique way to get into contact with a recruiter, recruiting agency, hiring manager, or employee at a certain company with the hopes that they’ll help you secure an interview for your desired job.
After discovering the similarities I had with the Spotify VP, I knew I wanted to apply for the position. But, when I returned back to the job listings, I no longer saw the position posted. I had no idea what to think or do. The position disappeared less than 24 hours after it was listed. Had they really found someone already? I decided that the only way I could possibly have a shot over the other applicants was to bypass the recruiter and go straight to the executive. I tweeted at the VP, asking, “I heard you’re looking for a new EA to join your team. Would love to talk. Have an email to reach you at?”
Within minutes, he responded. He gave me his email, and, boom. I sent him my resume and cover letter.
The recruiter and executive appreciated my unique “getting on their radar” approach so much that I ended up scoring an interview. At around the same time, I had also gotten in touch with a recruiter from another tech company, Google. I advanced past the first interview at Spotify, but I ultimately accepted an offer as an Administrative Business Partner at Google, where I currently work.
Finding referrals and submitting applications through job webpages is all well and good. But if you find you’re doing those things more often than you’re landing interviews, try putting some of my social media strategies to use. I know the journey of looking for a job and putting yourself out there can seem daunting, but who knows? That one tweet, message or post of yours that you think will go unnoticed might just steer you in the direction of a new connection who can help guide you in your endeavors.
Or, you might even hit gold — an interview for the job of a lifetime.
Making educated career decisions can be difficult at any stage of career development. The ASK (Alumni Sharing Knowledge) Blog is intended for Stony Brook University students and alumni to learn career knowledge and get advice from experienced alumni, working in various career fields, about lessons learned from their career experiences.