In May 2012, I was one of the many new college graduates to finish school unemployed. Not knowing what to do with myself, I moved in with my parents, applied to jobs, ate Spaghetti-Os and watched all seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not exactly a resume filler for an aspiring marketer!
Like every twenty-something with a problem, I turned to the internet. With a combination of blogging, social media and “inbound job hunting”, I was thrilled to land my dream job at HubSpot, the all-in-one marketing software company on a mission to make marketing people love. This is my story.
When I started my job hunt, everyone around me seemed to be drowning in a sea of resumes, applicant tracking systems and unanswered emails. I knew there had to be a better way to connect with my future employer. Enter LinkedIn.
The challenge was to differentiate myself from an enormous group of people just like me–according to The Atlantic, 53% of new graduates were un- or under-employed in 2012. At Tufts University, I minored in Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies and in Professor Jack Derby’s marketing class, I learned about inbound marketing. Instead of interrupting customers with advertising messages, inbound marketing encourages the use of social media and content to get found and build relationships with customers. I decided to apply those same principles and used “inbound job hunting” to connect with employers through relationships and content.
LinkedIn and Inbound Job-Hunting
LinkedIn was one of my biggest assets because it united all the aspects of my job-hunt in one place. Here’s how it helped me:
- Promote blog and personal assets: In college, I started a blog called How To Market To Me about marketing to millennials/GenY. During the job hunt, I decided to get back on the horse and write again—this time using the LinkedIn/Wordpress tool to stream my articles directly onto my profile. Writing these articles gave me a new sense of purpose and a title: millennial marketing blogger. Even though I wasn’t employed, I was working, and LinkedIn gave me the platform to show it.
- Connect online and offline relationships: Whether it was collecting business cards at conferences or just talking to people in line for coffee, LinkedIn gave me a great way to bridge online and off-line relationships. For example, I met Heidi Lasker from Sonicbids, at an airport terminal and thought she had the coolest job in the world. I followed up with a personalized LinkedIn connection request, turning an in-person connection into a professional relationship. This opened the door to interviews with the company, and I used LinkedIn to introduce myself to other interviewers before meeting them. My introduction included a few links to help them get to know me, including one article I had written about why I admired their company. This extra step made me feel significantly more professional and prepared for the interview process. I ended up getting the job offer, but took my dream job at Hubspot instead.
- Target individuals: Rather than applying to any job opening I could find, I narrowed my focus to interesting companies I found through blogging and researching my industry. I found HubSpot in my research on inbound marketing–the founders actually coined the term and wrote the first book on the subject! Since I was a big fan of HubSpot’s marketing blog, I used LinkedIn to find Rebecca Corliss, the head of the blogging and content creation team, and started a relationship with her. Instead of directly asking her for a job, I expressed interest by sharing industry articles and commenting on mutual connections. Identifying the point person within the company helped me address my emails and cover letters to an individual, not a “To Whom It May Concern”.
ByeBye Buffy, Hello HubSpot
Online platforms like LinkedIn gave me enormous power in a process that often felt out of my control. As a new job hunter, LinkedIn was more than a static, online resume–I used it to navigate and maximize every step of my job hunt. Now, I’m just excited to see how this same platform can empower my next chapter as a young professional. Keep you posted!