How I'm Using Facebook Ads to Find My Dream Job
Update: I did it. I found a job using Facebook. Ads were the key to my job-hunting success, and I explain below and in future posts how you can find a job using Facebook, just like I did. Writing this post may very well hurt my chances of finding the perfect job. I’m willing to take that risk because, being somewhat of an optimist, I’m inclined to think that by sharing my story here I’m ultimately helping myself and many others in similar situations. If what I've done becomes a bit less novel because others start similar campaigns, so be it. Here it goes…
First, I didn’t invent the idea of using a Facebook ad to market myself to employers, and I don’t know who did. But on January 16, 2010, the social media stars aligned for me and I caught this post mentioned on Twitter. I read it, bookmarked it, and it didn’t cross my mind again until a month later, when I started to get serious about finding a job in the new media space that actually paid. I was freelancing for my friend Chris Johnson at the time, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for.
I knew enough from my last few job searches that the normal means of finding work wouldn’t cut it, especially if one wants to work on the bleeding edge of new media, as I do. I’ve got a blog (you’re on it). I’ve got a loyal and supportive Twitter following. I’ve got the references. So do 10,000 other Austinites, most of them just as hungry for the same (perhaps imagined) dream job.
Having handled several Facebook ad campaigns for the clients and companies I’ve worked for, I knew that it was a great way to get serious traffic at an entirely reasonable cost-per-click. I pulled up the post about Grant Turck’s ad and went to work.
Online ads are only as effective as the landing pages they link to, so I tackled this first. With brevity in mind, I created one that was ad-specific, included compelling quotes about my expertise, a catchy first sentence, and a “Top 5 Reasons to hire me” list followed by my resume.
Next, I put my ad together. I emulated Grant’s ad, since it worked for him so well, but added my own touches. The most unique and appealing thing about me in relation to new media is my nomination for the 2010 Texas Social Media Award (drop by and leave a comment, if you like). Naturally, I lead with it. Everything else was straightforward. Tell people what you’re looking for (“a job in new media”) and include a call to action that gets them to click (“Can you help?). Throw in a nice picture of yourself, and you’ve got your ad.
As important as the copy in the ad is, the targeting—which elevates Facebook above other avenues of online self-promotion—is even more crucial. So who did I want my smiling face in front of? People of influence, upper management and executive types. Basically, those having the power to hire people easily and create positions for them if none exist yet. Keep in mind the fact that Facebook does not currently allow for targeting based on position or industry, unless someone has included their position or industry in their profiles “Interests” section. Enough of them do, trust me. This is a glimpse at how I broke it down:
- who live in the United States
- who live within 25 miles of Austin, TX
- between the ages of 25 and 55 inclusive
- who like advertising, advertising manager, branding, ceo, community building, corporate recruiter, director marketing, director sales marketing, founder ceo, human resources, marketing coordinator, marketing director, marketing executive, vice president marketing…(many more)
- who graduated from college
I also threw in the name of a company I really want to work for, Bazaarvoice (more on that later). After putting my targeting list together, Facebook came up with a suggested bid of around 60 cents per click, so I set it to exactly that. Turns out, I’ve paid an average of 43 cents a click, so the whole experience has been much more affordable than I anticipated. I’ve spent $85.65 since 2/08, but I would have spent triple this or more for the results I’ve encountered.
So here they are, so far:
I’ve received an average of one email or relevant comment on my blog per day. Some of them are well-wishers; some of them offer constructive criticism—for both types of input I have no problem paying 43 cents per instance, but for brevity’s sake, I'll only include leads and meeting requests here.
- The first legitimate job lead I received was actually from someone at Bazaarvoice, but it was for an incredible position at the interactive branch of a well-known sporting goods company. He liked my creative approach, and this new contact graciously introduced me to the hiring manager for the position. I held a phone interview earlier this week, which went well, but I haven’t yet heard back.
- The second lead I received was from another employee of Bazaarvoice, who encouraged me by way of blog comment to apply to the open Social Media Manager position at her company. By that time, I had actually already applied and had been screened out! I let her know that I appreciated the lead and asked her to keep me in mind should anything similar open up.
- The next day, I got a promising comment from a small business owner in the digital space. He wanted to discuss sending clients my way, I assume for consulting. I’ve since followed up, but haven't heard back. Of course, I’ve put another follow-up on my calendar.
- My fourth inbound contact has turned into a consulting client already. He is the CEO of a local SEO company with a national presence, and he reached out because of the unique tack of my self promotion. I’ll be helping his firm find additional clients using new media hubs like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
- Another direct e-mail, and I practically do a double take when I see who it’s from. Absent his permission, I’ll just say it’s from a well-known, local CEO in new media with a high-profile client base. He’s traveling at the moment, but wants to get coffee when he gets back. We’ve got it scheduled, and I’m excited and honored to meet him.
- As if to prove how effective company-by-company targeting is with Facebook, a recruiter from Bazaarvoice sends me a message to set up a time to talk about the position I had already applied for. She saw my ad, read a bit of my blog and thought she’d reach out. It looks like they’ve since found a fit for that position, but it felt good to be considered nonetheless.
- I’ve signed an NDA already with the next person to reach out, but it’s a very promising direction. Very cool potential gig.
That’s it, for now! Now tell me, would you have spent $80 for the interactions above? I’m incredibly happy with my ROI thus far.
But I’m not going to stop looking; I’ve made that mistake before.
No matter how successful this ad becomes, I invite all contacts, no matter what they have to say. I’m not a job-hunting innovator; I just stumbled onto Grant Turck’s amazing idea and decided to borrow it and apply a few tweaks. I might be the first one to do it in Austin (not even sure if that’s true), but my hope here is that others read this and get hip to this winning technique.
If you’re a job seeker, and would like to chat about my methods, I’d love to hear from you as well.