When Anum Hussain applied for an internship at marketing software company HubSpot, she knew that she had to differentiate herself from the 200 to 300 other people applying for the position.
Instead of sending human resources a traditional black-and-white résumé and hoping for the best, Hussain, 22, wrote and designed an e-book — 7 Reasons Why HubSpot Should Hire Anum Hussain — that landed her an interview and, eventually, the internship.
With the nation’s unemployment rate resting at 7.9% as of January 2013, college students know that to land their dream job or internship, they have to set themselves apart from other applicants with uniform grades, skills and accomplishments.
A recent NowSourcing study found that 45% of human-resources managers receive 50 résumés for every job listed, and that one in 10 receive 100 résumés.
Hussain represents a subset of media-savvy Millennials who are turning to social media to leverage an advantage in a tough job market.
“E-books are the foundation of what HubSpot does,” explained Hussain, who started interning at Hubspot in September 2011. In the e-book, Hussain prominently featured her Twitter handle, which she uses to post content and network.
“It felt natural to me to convey my value to them in the way they convey their value to the public,” she said. “If that’s how they are communicating with the public, that’s how I should communicate with them,” she said about her decision to create the e-book mirroring those that HubSpot produces.
Hussain was promoted to inbound marketing associate in April 2012 and, a month later, was offered a full-time post-graduate position as an inbound content strategist.
In an email, HubSpot’s Chief Marketing Officer Mike Volpe explained why candidates like Hussain stand out.
“I spend almost no time looking at résumés at this point,” he said. “A quick Google search based on the résumé typically takes me to their LinkedIn profile, Twitter account, Facebook page or blog, all of which tells me a lot about how he or she interacts with people on a daily basis.”
“In a tough economy, managers can afford to be picky about who they hire,” he said.
Twitter may be better known for its social nature than its job search capacities, but it is gaining traction as a means of building relationships with hiring managers — no small feat with a 140-character text limit. Shavone Charles, a communications associate at Twitter, said there were nearly 300 million mentions of jobs on Twitter last year.
Ellen Hanson, a human resources manager at Chicago’s Walker Sands Communications, has received 300 résumés to date for a public relations internship opening at the firm. Hanson said that she prefers when applicants tweet at the company, rather than write a cover letter.
“We ask them to tweet, which helps narrow down the field to those knowledgeable about social media,” Hanson said. “We’re looking to make sure that they understand the Twitter language — if they use pound signs, the ‘at’ symbol and include links to their website or materials. We also want them to show their personality.”
Websites such as TweetMyJobs.com have capitalized on the platform’s capacity for hiring by matching jobs based on skill, preference and social profiles. Employers tell Chief Marketing Officer Stuart Lander that Twitter is helping them find relevant candidates more quickly.
Nisa Chitakasem, co-founder of career guidance service Position Ignition and one of the authors of an e-book called 125 Twitter Job Search Tips, said that Twitter is becoming a vital job-search tool because the platform is cost-effective, enables targeted searching and offers more transparency than traditional job-seeking methods.
“A résumé in many ways is quite flat and one dimensional,” Chitakasem said. “It’s not really something that can offer you a real sense of someone’s world or capability.”
Fisher advises those seeking jobs to search for the people they want to network with on LinkedIn and then build a rapport with them on Twitter by sharing resources, tagging them in tweets and re-tweeting their posts.
“The main thing is that Twitter is mobile: SMS messages get responses 10-times faster than emails, and so if you contact someone through a platform like Twitter, the response rate is higher,” said Fisher. “The great thing about job hunting with social media is that you can build relationships faster than anywhere else.”
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