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! 🙂

So, you need a job? Man, do resumes suck

Since the economy is slowing down, I’m hearing of lots of you who are getting laid off and looking for jobs. Here’s my experience on the other side of that — being someone who is trying to hire someone.

Fast Company TV is hiring an administrative assistant. We advertised the job Friday morning on Craig’s List (which is where I got my job at NEC in the depth of the last tech bust back in 2002). So far I’ve received more than 90 resumes for a job that’ll pay $12 to $15 (not much, I know, but for a starter job not too bad — my first job back in 1993 paid $10 an hour and this one should be a good launch to a fun career in journalism or PR or any number of jobs).

It’s very possible that in the next two years YOU will need a job too and will be facing that kind of competition (when I got my job at NEC, it was even worse, they said I beat 500 people for the job that I got). How do you get past the first stage?

First, based on the resumes I’m seeing, realize that 80% are crap and will be rejected out of hand. How do you get put into the crap pile? Here’s some ways.

1. Include only an attachment and don’t write anything in the body of the email.
2. Include a misspelling.
3. Apply for a job which you are clearly unqualified for (it stands out like a sore thumb).
4. Include a Word document that can’t be opened (one person sent one in Microsoft Word 2007 format).
5. Include only a resume and don’t explain why you think you are qualified for the job (believe it or not, a well written letter puts you to the top 20% pretty quickly).
6. Send it from an email address with a goofy name. You should see some of them that I’ve gotten.
7. Apply for a job for which you are clearly overqualified for (I got one resume from a software engineer).
8. Have your friend send in a resume for you (I got one of these, actually).
9. Don’t test your email on a variety of clients (a bunch that I received were poorly formatted, had characters that didn’t display properly, etc).
10. Send it from free version of Hotmail, which puts an advertisement at the end of your email. Looks very professional when all I see is the ad and nothing else.

OK, I assume most people reading this will be in the 20% of those who didn’t screw up in some way and get rejected outright.

So, now how do you get into the final two or three pile which is what will earn you an interview? You need to stand out from the crowd somehow. Here’s some ways to do that.

1. Blog. Only one out of 98 included his/her blog address on the email. Make sure your blog’s content matches the job you are applying for, though. If someone had a blog showing how to be a better administrative assistant you can bet that I’d read every word. Same for a Twitter or Facebook or FriendFeed profile. But don’t send those along if they aren’t professionally-oriented. Do assume that I’ll Google you and search around for what you’ve done online anyway.
2. Include a customized video that demonstrates your skills and personality. No one did that yet.
3. Demonstrate you did some research on us. One person said “hello Scobleizer.” That was one of the few that was customized and demonstrated that there would be a human being on the other side who’d read all these.
4. Make sure you write for a human, but include tags and things for electronic scanners too. Do some searches on Google for “how to write a resume” and you’ll find tons of tips on how to do this. But always assume there’s a human reading these things first.
5. Don’t just apply for the job, apply for the career. I’m looking for people who don’t want to be stuck in a $15-an-hour job forever. I want someone who I can get out of that job as quickly as possible and into something more fun and higher paying. Even if that doesn’t work out, I’m looking for people who have a career in mind, not just a “job.”
6. Demonstrate that you’d be fun to have around. In this case you’re applying for a job at Fast Company with someone who does videos with innovative people around the world and who loves talking tech. No one put in there anything about their skills in using travel services like Tripit. No one put anything in there about their love of technology to be more productive. An administrative assistant who mentioned that they used David Allen’s programs, for instance, would get noticed.
7. Make sure your email is perfect in every way. Have tons of friends look it over for mistakes. I’d even pay a professional editor to do that because of how bad most of these resumes were. Even little mistakes get noticed instantly and usually get you rejected outright (there’s no excuse for sloppiness here).

Anyway, these are just some ideas. I remember at NEC that it was my cover letter that got me noticed (they had highlighted what caught their eyes) and my blog (they had printed out lots of my blogs and wanted to talk to me about why I wrote what I did).

Hope this helps one of you get a job quickly. Do you have any other ideas for how to help job seekers?