If you are laid off, here’s how to socially network

I’m getting a LOT of chats from people who have been laid off. Most of the time I find that they just aren’t presenting a good face to me for me to help them find a new job.

If you are laid off, here’s what you need to do:

1. Your blog is your resume. You need one and it needs to have 100 posts on it about what you want to be known for.
2. Remove all LOLCats from your blog.
3. Remove all friends from your facebook and twitter accounts that will embarrass you. We do look. If we see photos of people getting drunk with you that is a bad sign. Get rid of them. They will NOT help you get a job.
4. Demonstrate you are “clued in.” This means removing ANYTHING that says you are a “social media expert” from your Twitter account. There is no such thing and even if there were there’s no job in it for you. Chris Brogan already has that job and he’s not giving it up.
5. Demonstrate you have kids and hobbies, but they should be 1% of your public persona, not 99%. Look at my blog here. You’ll see my son’s photo on Flickr once in a while. But mostly I talk about the tech industry, cause that’s the job I want to have: talking to geeks and innovators.
6. Put what job you want into your blog’s header. Visit Joel Spolsky’s blog. He’s “on software.” That’s a major hint that if he were looking for a job that he is totally, 100%, thinking about software. If you want a job as a chef, you better have a blog that looks like you love cooking, like this.
7. Get rid of the LOLCats. Do not argue me on Twitter about this. Google finds Twitters. Do you want your future potential boss noticing that you post LOLCats all day long? Believe me, you do not. It will NOT help you.
8. Post something that teaches me something about what you want to do every day. If you want to drive a cab, you better go out and take pictures of cabs. Think about cabs. Put suggestions for cabbies up. Interview cabbies. You better have a blog that is nothing but cabs. Cabs. Cabs. Cabs all the time.
9. Do not beg for links. If you did the above, you can Twitter me and say “check out my great software blog” though. Include @scobleizer in the tweet so I’ll see it. I’m an egotistical baaahhhsssttttaarrrrddd so I read all Twitter replies that include my @scobleizer name in them. Hint: I haven’t met a blogger yet who is not an egotistical baaahhhhsssttttaaarrrdddd. Take advantage of it. But no begging.
10. If you want to be a plumber, look for other plumbers to add to Twitter, friendfeed, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Remove all others. Be 100% focused on what you want to do.
11. On Twitter ou can tell me what you had for lunch, but only after you posted 20 great items about what you want to do. Look at Tim O’Reilly’s tweet stream. Very little noise. Just great stuff that will make you think (he wants a job as a thinker, so do you get it yet?)
12. Invite influentials out to lunch. Getting a job is now your profession. If you were a salesperson, how would you get sales? You would take people out to lunch who can either buy what you’re selling, or influence others who can buy. That means take other bloggers (but only if they cover what you want to do) out to lunch. That means taking lots of industry executives out to lunch.
13. Send out resumes. Make sure yours is up to date and top notch on LinkedIn and other sites where employers look for employees. Craig’s List. Monster. Etc.
14. Go to industry events. I have a list of tech industry events up on Upcoming.org. If you want to be a plumber, go to where contractors go. Etc. Etc. Make sure you have clear business cards. Include your photo. Include your Twitter and LinkedIn addresses. Your cell phone. Your blog address. And the same line that’s at the top of your blog. Joel’s should say “on software.” Yours should say what you love to do. Hand them out, ask for theirs. Make notes on theirs. Email them later with your LinkedIn and blog URLs and say “you’ll find lots of good stuff about xxxxxxxx industry on my blog.”
15. When you meet someone who can hire and who you want to work for. Follow them on Twitter. Facebook. LinkedIn. Their blog. Stalk them without being “creepy.” Learn everything you can about them. Build a friendfeed room with all their stuff. That way when they say on Twitter “I have a job opening” you can be the first one to Tweet back.
16. Tell others where the jobs are. One thing I learned in college is by helping other people get jobs you’ll get remembered. So, retweet jobs messages (if they are relevant to your professional friends and to you). Blog about job openings. Help people get jobs. Hold lunches for people who are jobless. Some of them will get jobs and they’ll remember you and invite you along.
17. Do what you want to do. Let’s assume you’ll be laid off for a year. Are you going to lay around on the couch waiting for a call? No. You will do exactly what you want to do. Want to be an engineer at a great startup? Go and volunteer to work there for free. Make sure you do a blog post about every day you do what you’re doing for free. Say “I could do this for you, call…”
18. Do some work on SEO. Make it possible for people to find you. THINK about how people would search for someone with your expertise and skills. Here’s how, Visit the Google AdWords Keyword Tool. Do a search on a word that you think represents best what you want to do. I just did one for “Electrical Engineering” and it brought up a ton of great info about what people are searching for. Include those terms in your blog. And, even better, blog about those things!
19. UPDATE: Mark Trapp added to remove any hint that you hated your old job from all your online things.

Good luck. It sucks. I know that. I was laid off last time and, who knows, might be laid off again, but if you’re doing all this stuff and you aren’t finding a job, let me know. You know where to find me.

Got any other ideas? Post them here or on my friendfeed.

UPDATE: you can still get a job even after weird photos and other things are posted about you. I have naked pictures of me out there on the Internet (and that’s been true for the past three jobs I’ve gotten). They still wanted to hire me. So, all of these rules can be broken, but break them carefully! :-)

308 thoughts on “If you are laid off, here’s how to socially network

  1. These are great tips. In such a dim economy all of this optimism is encouraging. One tip that I would give, is to evaluate your marketable skills in the mean time and see what you can do as a consultant or a temp or an entrepreneur, and yes, blog about it.

    I don’t like how there is a massive void when it comes to company/employee loyalty, but it will take generations to turn this around. So, in the mean time, you are only as valuable as you are useful so hone your skills well and if you are lucky follow #17 and you may find yourself never in this position again.

  2. These are great tips. In such a dim economy all of this optimism is encouraging. One tip that I would give, is to evaluate your marketable skills in the mean time and see what you can do as a consultant or a temp or an entrepreneur, and yes, blog about it.

    I don’t like how there is a massive void when it comes to company/employee loyalty, but it will take generations to turn this around. So, in the mean time, you are only as valuable as you are useful so hone your skills well and if you are lucky follow #17 and you may find yourself never in this position again.

  3. These are great tips. In such a dim economy all of this optimism is encouraging. One tip that I would give, is to evaluate your marketable skills in the mean time and see what you can do as a consultant or a temp or an entrepreneur, and yes, blog about it.

    I don’t like how there is a massive void when it comes to company/employee loyalty, but it will take generations to turn this around. So, in the mean time, you are only as valuable as you are useful so hone your skills well and if you are lucky follow #17 and you may find yourself never in this position again.

  4. Dear Robert,

    Thanks for this very interesting piece; should help in an upliftment in such testing times indeed.

    Having been laid off *twice* in a singe year, I can perhaps perfectly relate to the context that you are providing.

    [Link: http://blog.mindgap.in/2008/07/hbr-right-way-to-be-fired.html This analysis titled ‘the right way to be fired’ by Peobody and Stybel that featured in a Harvard Business Review helped me come to terms with accepting the job-market dynamics.

    Best, Mil

  5. Dear Robert,

    Thanks for this very interesting piece; should help in an upliftment in such testing times indeed.

    Having been laid off *twice* in a singe year, I can perhaps perfectly relate to the context that you are providing.

    [Link: http://blog.mindgap.in/2008/07/hbr-right-way-to-be-fired.html This analysis titled ‘the right way to be fired’ by Peobody and Stybel that featured in a Harvard Business Review helped me come to terms with accepting the job-market dynamics.

    Best, Mil

  6. Dear Robert,

    Thanks for this very interesting piece; should help in an upliftment in such testing times indeed.

    Having been laid off *twice* in a singe year, I can perhaps perfectly relate to the context that you are providing.

    [Link: http://blog.mindgap.in/2008/07/hbr-right-way-to-be-fired.html This analysis titled ‘the right way to be fired’ by Peobody and Stybel that featured in a Harvard Business Review helped me come to terms with accepting the job-market dynamics.

    Best, Mil

  7. Hi:

    I just finished transcribing all the interviews for The Social Media Bible, http://www.TheSocialMediaBible.com . I became part of the team virtually; I am a virtual transcriptionist. I only mention this as a testament to the power of social media, or as I like to call this combo, Social Media ².

    Joanne Zimakas

    East Longmeadow, MA 01028

  8. Hi:

    I just finished transcribing all the interviews for The Social Media Bible, http://www.TheSocialMediaBible.com . I became part of the team virtually; I am a virtual transcriptionist. I only mention this as a testament to the power of social media, or as I like to call this combo, Social Media ².

    Joanne Zimakas

    East Longmeadow, MA 01028

  9. Hi:

    I just finished transcribing all the interviews for The Social Media Bible, http://www.TheSocialMediaBible.com . I became part of the team virtually; I am a virtual transcriptionist. I only mention this as a testament to the power of social media, or as I like to call this combo, Social Media ².

    Joanne Zimakas

    East Longmeadow, MA 01028

  10. Hi Robert, I found your post brilliant!! I’ve been always trying to follow those rules, Even when I wasn’t laid off.

    I left my job a week ago to start my own social media company in Argentina, and I still think it’s the right decision. I’ve been very involved in social media the last year, and my team and I are pretty sure that we’ll have work to do.

    Thanks for those tips.

    Best,
    Matias Paterlini

  11. Hi Robert, I found your post brilliant!! I’ve been always trying to follow those rules, Even when I wasn’t laid off.

    I left my job a week ago to start my own social media company in Argentina, and I still think it’s the right decision. I’ve been very involved in social media the last year, and my team and I are pretty sure that we’ll have work to do.

    Thanks for those tips.

    Best,
    Matias Paterlini

  12. Hi Robert, I found your post brilliant!! I’ve been always trying to follow those rules, Even when I wasn’t laid off.

    I left my job a week ago to start my own social media company in Argentina, and I still think it’s the right decision. I’ve been very involved in social media the last year, and my team and I are pretty sure that we’ll have work to do.

    Thanks for those tips.

    Best,
    Matias Paterlini

  13. This is practical advice but begs the question: What the hell is the hiring manager doing looking at your personal blog?!

    He’s begging for a lawsuit! Has he heard of the OFCCP or the EEOC’s E-RACE initiative?
    http://www.eeoc.gov/initiatives/e-race/goals.html

    I definitely agree that recruiters should use social media, in addition to other sources that are not as heavily weighted to a particular demographic, to identify potentially qualified applicants. And smart job seekers should put their best face forward on all fronts. However, once they become a qualified candidate, no one in the company needs to be checking out their online profile. It’s an invitation for a lawsuit.

    See my recent item on this issue at http://blogs.imperativeinfo.com/imperative_information/2009/01/the-wrong-way-to-use-social-networking-in-hr.html

  14. This is practical advice but begs the question: What the hell is the hiring manager doing looking at your personal blog?!

    He’s begging for a lawsuit! Has he heard of the OFCCP or the EEOC’s E-RACE initiative?
    http://www.eeoc.gov/initiatives/e-race/goals.html

    I definitely agree that recruiters should use social media, in addition to other sources that are not as heavily weighted to a particular demographic, to identify potentially qualified applicants. And smart job seekers should put their best face forward on all fronts. However, once they become a qualified candidate, no one in the company needs to be checking out their online profile. It’s an invitation for a lawsuit.

    See my recent item on this issue at http://blogs.imperativeinfo.com/imperative_information/2009/01/the-wrong-way-to-use-social-networking-in-hr.html

  15. This is practical advice but begs the question: What the hell is the hiring manager doing looking at your personal blog?!

    He’s begging for a lawsuit! Has he heard of the OFCCP or the EEOC’s E-RACE initiative?
    http://www.eeoc.gov/initiatives/e-race/goals.html

    I definitely agree that recruiters should use social media, in addition to other sources that are not as heavily weighted to a particular demographic, to identify potentially qualified applicants. And smart job seekers should put their best face forward on all fronts. However, once they become a qualified candidate, no one in the company needs to be checking out their online profile. It’s an invitation for a lawsuit.

    See my recent item on this issue at http://blogs.imperativeinfo.com/imperative_information/2009/01/the-wrong-way-to-use-social-networking-in-hr.html

  16. Awesome post. Thanks for it. Am a career services rep for an association and hope I can get half these lessons across to our jobseeking members.

  17. Awesome post. Thanks for it. Am a career services rep for an association and hope I can get half these lessons across to our jobseeking members.

  18. Awesome post. Thanks for it. Am a career services rep for an association and hope I can get half these lessons across to our jobseeking members.

  19. Robert, what if I am passionate about many things and not just topics related to my career? For example, my job is not technology related at all (although I have acquired technical skills because of it). I am certainly passionate about technology, but not an expert in any specific area.

    Nevertheless, that is a great list. I certainly need to blog more.

  20. Robert, what if I am passionate about many things and not just topics related to my career? For example, my job is not technology related at all (although I have acquired technical skills because of it). I am certainly passionate about technology, but not an expert in any specific area.

    Nevertheless, that is a great list. I certainly need to blog more.

  21. Robert, what if I am passionate about many things and not just topics related to my career? For example, my job is not technology related at all (although I have acquired technical skills because of it). I am certainly passionate about technology, but not an expert in any specific area.

    Nevertheless, that is a great list. I certainly need to blog more.

  22. I love how you emphasize mistake free writing, yet your tip #11 has a typo. Content wise, you posted useful advice. Once I figure out what it is that I want to do, I’ll follow your tips for finding productive employment in that area.

  23. I love how you emphasize mistake free writing, yet your tip #11 has a typo. Content wise, you posted useful advice. Once I figure out what it is that I want to do, I’ll follow your tips for finding productive employment in that area.

  24. I love how you emphasize mistake free writing, yet your tip #11 has a typo. Content wise, you posted useful advice. Once I figure out what it is that I want to do, I’ll follow your tips for finding productive employment in that area.

  25. Found this via PSFK and love it. Thanks so much for the great ideas. I’ve just locked down my facebook and couldn’t be more thrilled.
    Your advice–it’s all the sort of basic, “You should know this already” kind of info that most people “know” but rarely apply. It means so much when someone goes the extra mile & actually applies all those “oh yeah, I really should do that” things.

  26. Found this via PSFK and love it. Thanks so much for the great ideas. I’ve just locked down my facebook and couldn’t be more thrilled.
    Your advice–it’s all the sort of basic, “You should know this already” kind of info that most people “know” but rarely apply. It means so much when someone goes the extra mile & actually applies all those “oh yeah, I really should do that” things.

  27. Found this via PSFK and love it. Thanks so much for the great ideas. I’ve just locked down my facebook and couldn’t be more thrilled.
    Your advice–it’s all the sort of basic, “You should know this already” kind of info that most people “know” but rarely apply. It means so much when someone goes the extra mile & actually applies all those “oh yeah, I really should do that” things.

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