I had the opportunity the other night to speak in front of a group of job-seekers. It was an event called Wired4Hire, presented by Gretchen Gunn, Principal owner of MGD Services, a recognized leader in job recruitment services. My part of the evening was to discuss how using creativity within social media can get you where you want to go. When Gretchen asked me to tell my story, I talked about reaching out to the man I consider to be the “Steven Spielberg” (my description) of font design on the business side, via Facebook, to introduce myself and ask if he was familiar with the font that I had created with ITC – International Typeface Corporation. Not only did he respond within an hour or so, but it led to a conversation in which he expressed that he’d always been curious about the artist behind “Weber Hand”, and more specifically he said, “Why no more fonts?” Needless to say, his response made my day/week/month/year, and with further discussion and a bit of time, we actually developed the font into a full font family, and it all happened because I reached out on Facebook. One thing I spoke about last night was that I could have contacted him any number of ways. But the point was, I didn’t. It was the relaxed and somewhat casualness of Facebook that brought with it the comfort level to reach out on a professional level, but in a more informal manner.

Here’s an excerpt I referenced at the presentation, from an upcoming article I’m writing:

“ENGAGE. ENGAGE. ENGAGE. Whatever you do, if you’re going to use social media to get ahead in business, don’t be stagnant. It’s important to be dynamic and participate. Remember, if/when employers or clients are checking you out on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, you actually get to control what they’re seeing. Yes, it does kinda sound like Big Brother, but might as well use it to your advantage. Post relevant content that is engaging and shows you to be just who they’re looking for. Reading between the lines, I’m talking about posting volunteer work that you do, community service, etc., and for gosh sakes, put that drink down. Use your common sense and don’t have the “partying” pictures on your profile. Cross-pollinate too. Comment, post, tag, share, tweet, re-tweet, and then some. Write a great and short tag line including your occupation to include with your comments.”

This led to a bigger discussion of the differences between Facebook and LinkedIn for job seekers. Most of it is obvious, but the subtleties are important. It’s a given that if you’re looking for a job, LinkedIn is the place to be. But so is Facebook. Personally, I believe that in the socialverse, everything crosses paths with everything else. The more present you are, the more engaged you are, the better your chances to see and be seen, and therefore heard, and hopefully hired. Engaging wisely on Facebook with the understanding that you are utilizing it for both personal and for business, can yield results in a roundabout way that has everything to do with word of mouth.

At the event, we discussed that even in this advanced state of technology at our fingertips, sometimes, scratch that, oftentimes the best results still come from good ol’ fashioned word of mouth. It’s just that even the word of mouth has a Twitter page these days. So use the Social Media to be the VOICE for that word of mouth. Help others along the way too. It’s the right thing to do, and who knows, it could come back to you in great ways. I could tell that several people in the room hadn’t thought of Facebook for job searching. Sure there are actual job search tools that utilize Facebook, but again, I meant utilizing it in a way that you can seek, find, sleuth, engage and contact potentially anyone you want, in a less structured way. Using Facebook to be SOCIAL with people that you wish to connect with for work. Which leads me to…….breathing.

As we progressed through the evening, I talked about the importance of taking a deep breath, yes, even with social media. What I really meant, is that once you click POST, it’s a done deal. So whether it’s editing and proofing what you write, or simply taking a moment to make sure you really want to hit SEND, take that deep breath. It could save an embarrassing situation, and potentially your career.