Self Advertising for Jobs: Clever or Creepy?

As more than a few of us are approaching graduation, the stress of landing a job after May is enough to get anyone’s heart beating a little bit quicker. I for one, tend to spend at least an hour of every day perusing the listings on MediaBistro or the tips at OneDayOneJob (both excellent resources for upcoming grads), while contemplating my future. In all of my research I keep coming across the same advice: make yourself stand out. There are going to be hundreds, if not thousands of people all trying to enter into the same industry, and you have to be the ONE person they choose.

So how do you make yourself different? At least a few people have taken on a tactic straight from Jay Conrad Levinson’s Guerilla Marketing for Job Hunters 2.0: targeted advertisements. Yep, I’m talking Facebook.  In my blog roll, I have come across at least three individuals who have posted ads on Facebook seeking employment.

Kevin Dugan over at Bad Pitch Blog believes that these ads are a great idea. He spoke about a Grant Turck, a recent graduate from Pepperdine who posted an ad on Facebook with a simple headline of “I Want to Work in PR.” Dugan argued that the use of the ad immediately gives Turck a level of attention that he would not otherwise have. Duganmaintains that this attention is positive, but I’m not sure I completely agree with that. In my mind, the Facebook ad, while definitely unique, comes off as a little bit desperate.

condenaste0Dugan did make one point that lands on the side of these ambitious advertisers. By setting up an ad on a major social media hub, and providing  a link to another  one (LinkedIn), these kids are already showing potential employers that they are clued in to the ever-important and ever-expanding social media world.

Thomas Pardee, who graduated from Columbia College Chicago’s Journalism school, also used the Facebook approach. He took it one step further though, titling his ad “I Belong at Conde Nast.” The Big Money spoke with him about the thought process behind it. He said he bought the ad and targeted it so it would only appear to current or former employers at Conde Nast and Hearst.

As of right now, neither of these go-getters have landed a job, though they both report some helpful contacts. So weigh in: are these ads the wave of the future? Can we all look forward to accepting job offers in a 14o character tweet, or are should we stick to more traditional approaches? I’m still on the fence. I can certainly accept the creativity, but it might be a little too much for my tastes.

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7 Responses to Self Advertising for Jobs: Clever or Creepy?

  1. hmick says:

    I think in the future, applying for a job is going to integrate BOTH of the traditional and new approaches. I still think a resume will be needed, but possibly on your PERSONAL website. Another example is possibly a book of your clips/writings but once again, on your PERSONAL website. I think it’s important to show a potential employer that you are capable of working online and incorporating online features because that is where the PR industry is headed.

  2. kmcnally says:

    This was very interesting, I didn’t know that people had started using Facebook as a way to get their name out their for career purposes. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I mean, I see where you are coming from when you see it comes off as too forward and desperate. But like the article said, you have to make yourself stand out and because Facebook is such a widely used form of social media you are doing just that, you are making yourself known. My only reservation on this, is do people really look at the ads? Personally, i don’t pay attention to the ads that are on Facebook, because when i am on Facebook that isn’t what im looking for.

    I’m interested to see how things pan out, but i can see it going both the old traditional way as well as the new social media route. i mean, I think interviews and resumes will still be important in seeking employees, but with the direction that the career world is heading, it wouldn’t shock me if everything began to be integrated to the internet. I guess we will have to see where the wind blows us.

  3. aguido says:

    I have to agree I’m on the fence right there with you on whether or not this is an effective tool in landing a job, though I’m leaning on the “it’s not” side.

    One question, don’t those ads on the side of Facebook cost money? I guess if you want to spend money to make money in the long run it makes sense, but it DOES seem quite desperate.

    Then again, I see your point that it shows a potential employer that you are social media savvy and know how to use the tools. It is a great way to get yourself displayed to say, the 4 million people of Maricopa County (if they all use Facebook) but who exactly does their job-hunting based only off of Facebook?

    I generally disregard those ads and would perhaps think it was a prank if someone was advertising him or herself. Or that maybe his or her name is the name of some firm or agency, and that could get confusing.

    • cmcelroy says:

      To answer your question, it does cost money to run those ads. From what I understand from the various interviews with the people who are using these ads, you are charged based on how many clicks the ad gets, and you can cap the amount you are willing to spend. So you can set the limit at $15 a day, and as soon as you reach that amount based on clicks, the ad will no longer appear that day. One hopeful who posted the ad said that after a week, he had spent $52. So its not a ton, but as a poor college student living off of part-time wages, I’m not so sure I’d be willing to spend the money on such a gamble.

  4. crandell says:

    I think now a days, especially in our industry, we are expected to stand out. We have to sell ourselves to potential employers almost as a test run as to how we would package, market and sell our future clients. Competition in jobs makes it inevitable that we must advertise ourselves on LinkedIn or other more professional and reliable outlets. I think it goes too far when people go as far as posting self ads. To me, that screams desperation. Creativity in self advertising doesn’t have to be creepy. It may just require recent grads or those who are unemployed to be more creative. You have to tweak your skills and qualifications to be the most appealing to the industry and company for which you are applying. Isn’t that part of PR; A particular perception or image you put out there?

  5. a_hundza says:

    It’s great to see so much input on the Greyn Agency post!

    I agree with the possibility of using both online and traditional portfolio/resume items. In fact, I think many students are already utilizing some tools to showcase their online portfolios.

    As far as Facebook goes, I am still going to need convincing to use it as a tool for career purposes. There are so many other professional tools out there, LinkedIn for example, that are meant for careers. Facebook has become a social hub for fun and friends in my eyes.

    • dolson says:

      I agree with you about LinkedIn being a more appropriate setting than Facebook. I don’t see Facebook as a professional setting; posting vacation photos, recipes and birthdays and whatever else isn’t related to our work. I see Facebook as purely social. It’s entertainment, and any connecting I am doing is likely with friends I haven’t seen in years. The Facebook ad approach, while clever, strikes me as ineffectual. I don’t look at the ads when I am on Facebook. Most of them seem to be written by bots, and I find the ad language annoying. What am I to make of an ad reading “Cops Desperately (NEEDED)”? If I didn’t know better, I would think the “I Belong at Conde Nast” ad is the work of a bot as well.

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