Using the Internet and Social Media to Get Hired and Gain Business (part 1)

Using the Internet and Social Media to Get Hired and Gain Business (part 1)

We gave a presentation on this topic at Brigham Young University, in Provo Utah, a few weeks ago.  Here is the written version:

The Value Exchange

The first thing to be understood is that business is all about exchanging value.  You go to the store and buy a sandwich, and both you and the shopkeeper win, because each got what they wanted or needed.  In the case of you being hired, you are exchanging your abilities and your time for a salary that the employer provides.  Again, both parties win.

In order for this transaction, or value exchange, to take place, two things must be present:

  1. Ability
  2. Trust

In the case of the sandwich, the shopkeeper must have the ability to make a good sandwich, and you need to trust that he made a good sandwich.  In the case of getting employment, you need the abilities and skills to get the job done, and the employer must trust that you can and will get the job done.  If one of these elements is missing, the value exchange doesn’t take place, and you don’t get hired.  In this article we will assume that you already have the abilities, and so will focus on how to build trust.

There are many traditional ways if accomplishing the task of building trust in order to get hired – resumes, referrals, recruitments, interviews, essays, etc.  All of these things help the employer get an idea of your abilities and the kind of person you are; and all are viable and can be effective in helping you get hired.

In fact, in the past those methods would have sufficed; but now you need to do more.  It’s no longer sufficient to write a killer resume or have stellar interviewing skills, because the channels that are being used to communicate and build trust are changing.  And they are changing fast.  This short video below shows just how fast social media and web 2.0 are becoming mainstream.



The Power of Community

This new medium makes it easier than ever to leverage one of the most important elements of building trust – the power of community.  We’ve all heard in the business world that “It’s who you know, not what you know.”  Although this is not always the case, it carries great truth.  If people don’t trust you, (and they can’t trust you if they don’t know you) then you will never be able to exchange value with them.

The idea of a community is that people know and have had valuable interactions with each other.  Not only can you interact with and form relationships with more people using the internet and social media than was ever possible with traditional methods, but these connections can also be more relevant and targeted.

If you can leverage social media and the web to be an active participant in a community of people, both by helping them and receiving help yourself, the community you are a part of will be able to bring you more business and opportunities to get hired than traditional methods could ever hope to do.

As with anything that brings great opportunity, however, there is also a danger.  Make no mistake, without a good strategy your efforts online will largely be a waste of time.  There are so many opportunities, channels, networks, and people, that if you try to go in and appeal to the masses it won’t work.  You simply won’t be noticed, and you won’t be able to help or get help from anyone.

With a good strategy, however, it is possible to take full advantage of the opportunities available.  The next post will focus on developing such a strategy.