I got a job using Social Media

Actually I got two, one volunteer and one paid, and I must admit it’s been a big boost to my somewhat battered ego after a tempestuous and difficult year repatriating to Canada.

Like many people I joined Facebook quite a while ago but it was only when I repatriated in 2009 and had some time on my hands that I investigated LinkedIn and Twitter.  In fact job hunting was one of the main reasons for opening those accounts as almost every article I read told me how important networking through social media was becoming.

My first lucky break came via a Tweet from Jo Parfitt linking to a posting from Families in Global Transition who were looking for a volunteer to help them manage their social media presence.  It was a perfect fit for me.  Not only did it scratch my itch to do voluntary work, but it was related to expatriates, virtual (so I knew I could make a commitment even though my location might change), and coincided with my new interest in networking using the internet.   I still haven’t met anyone from FIGT in the real world – we communicate via Skype and email – but I’m looking forward to getting together with them at their next annual conference in Houston in March.  Through them  I’ve already connected with dozens of interesting expats, ex-expats and expatriate experts and learned a lot from their experiences.  As always, volunteer work is giving me back far more than I contribute.

But it doesn’t cover the bills, so I was still on the lookout for a paid opportunity.  Not easy when you’re in your late 50’s, haven’t worked in your home country for 14 years (including 10 years completely out of the paid workforce) and the world’s in the middle of a huge recession.  Still, fortune favours the bold and encouraged by my success I started tapping on the virtual shoulders of a few people on LinkedIn.  Having joined a whole host of groups on behalf of FIGT, I discovered I was now connected with literally hundreds of thousands of people and with a former career in real estate, combined with my expat experience, I thought relocation companies might be a good target.  Not all my polite requests for referrals were answered, but all it took was one, and soon my resume was being placed in the hands of someone directly responsible for hiring.  The wheels of corporations turn slowly, and I must admit that as the weeks drifted by after my first interview I assumed I wasn’t a suitable candidate, but then in late November I was summoned to a second interview and by the end of the day had a job offer in my inbox.  Wahoo, I did it!

What I’ve learned through these two experiences:

  • Writing online profiles is a really useful excercise in defining who you are and what you want.  Don’t expect to get it right first time; I still tweak mine from time to time.
  • Networking can be done from your living room.  I’d rather have root canal than walk into a room full of people I don’t know.
  • You can reach out to people even if you’re new in town or newly returned.
  • Strangers (not all, but most), as well as friends and former colleagues, will give you a helping hand.  Don’t be afraid to ask.
  • Networking and working, even as a volunteer, gives your self-esteem a huge boost and really helps you get over culture shock/re-entry shock.
  • Social media is an incredibly power tool.

Good luck to all those who are job hunting!

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6 thoughts on “I got a job using Social Media

  1. Woohoo!!! Congratulations !!! You are indeed brave. I have only just signed up for twitter and LinkedIn. But in a fit of unexplainable courage (maybe it was the margarita), I also went to Internations.org and “requested” an invitation. Several days went by. And I got one! Internations is supposedly very “exclusive/invitation only”. But they took me at my word, when in my application, I explained my TCK childhood —- I too, am finding whole new worlds opening up to me. I no longer feel so isolated. And I too, have hopes that maybe eventually, I will be able to either get a different/better paying job, or expand my horizons so that I can once again, work for myself (very preferable to me.)

    I’m really happy for you!!! You worked hard and you EARNED it! 😀

    Best wishes for your continued and stellar success in 2010,

  2. Thanks, *blushing* 🙂 In the last 6 months I’ve found social media has opened doors for me and boosted my battered self esteem immensely. It is a far more friendly and supportive world out there than you might imagine. I’m also a member of InterNations but never seem to have enough time to devote to it. If anyone else wants an invite, please let me know.

  3. Hi!

    Great piece, I can totally relate. I am launching, promoting and running my wedding videography company “MY BIG DAY FILMS” all through social media. its fun, sassy and results in friends more real than the ones you make in flesh and blood at a random place.

    Cheers! and Kudos to you!

  4. That’s cool!

    It’s definitely an incentive for me to write better profile and keep networking online. I completed a short term contract last year because someone had spotted my blog – I know it can happen again!

  5. Very inspiring, I too am finding that people are generally so willing to help if asked. Which makes me consider my limiting belief that people are not and will think me a pain for asking – silly I know as in reverse I will pretty much fall over myself to help out. I wish I could make the FIGT conference this year – but distance and consequence expense makes it an impossibility – next year!!? Hope you enjoy it though! Look forward to reading the post conf blogs and articles. Louise

  6. Pingback: An Insider’s Guide to the FIGT Conference « ExpatriateLife

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