Hitting a dead end on the road to a new job? Maybe you’ve reached your breaking point. Not getting a mall kiosk job was the last straw for me.
In retrospect, it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me.
If you’ve ever agonized over how to break out of your job search rut, here’s how I did it — and maybe you can, too. Fed up with traditional tactics, I took out a Facebook ad aimed at people who worked for the hottest companies in Austin. It earned me an interview with the company at the top of my list. A few weeks later, I had the job.
Would it work again?
Fast-forward to today. In writing my book about strategies for getting access to hard-to-reach people through social media, I tested the same Facebook ad tactic to see if it would work with the world’s most coveted employer: Google.
First, I created the two ads you see below.
Both use humor in the headline and body text, but the element that makes it stand out is the direct reference, which is bound to catch a Googler’s eye.
Since I wasn’t actually looking for a job at Google, I had to come clean with whoever clicked. The next step was to create a custom landing page that explained the experiment. If I’d been looking for a Google gig at the time, I would have created a “Hire Me” page.
The ad targeted 16,560 Facebook users “who live in the United States, age 25 or older, who graduated from college, who work at Google.” In two days, the ad got 48 clicks (0.103 percent click through rate, or CTR) at a total cost of $30.68. If you know about advertising, you know that’s a fairly low CTR — but think about it for a second:
For about $30, 50 Google employees were willing to consider me as a candidate. (Click here to Tweet this stat.)
Recently, I re-entered the job market and found a VP of Marketing job post at a startup. I decided to devote a few hours and bucks to getting the CEO’s attention. His email wouldn’t have been hard to find, but I wanted to get in front of him in a unique way, since I knew hundreds of people applied for the position.
The company was too small to be targetable in the same way Google was, so I tried targeting individuals. The first step was to hit the company website and write down the names of the employees on the company’s “about” page.
Next, I searched for those employees on Facebook and plugged their user ID numbers into a CSV spreadsheet. (Use this tool to find user IDs.) I uploaded the list of user IDs as a Custom Audience in Facebook’s Power Editor tool, which helps businesses manage multiple campaigns, and just like that, I had my targetable audience.
Then I created a page on my blog that detailed why the company should hire me, followed by a call to action instructing the reader to tell the CEO to ping me. To create the ad, I used the company color palette with the text “Hi, [company name]!” The accompanying ad copy mentioned that I’d applied for the VP position and asked the user to click to learn how he or she could help.
The results were fun to watch. Of the 16 targeted employees, the ad was served to 10 of them. Of those 10, seven clicked and one left an encouraging comment. Within a week of starting the campaign, the CEO’s assistant reached out to ask if I could chat with the CEO that weekend.
The phone chat led to an in-person interview with the CEO and another executive. The interviews went well, but I didn’t have the experience they were looking for. Oh well — it cost me $6.48.
Once you try this technique, you’ll wonder how you looked for a job without it. It’s a proven strategy to get C-level attention at virtually any company, it’s repeatable and it’s cheap. Give it a try, and let me know how you fare.
Ian Greenleigh is a social media and content strategist and author of the new book The Social Media Side Door: How to Bypass the Gatekeepers to Gain Greater Access and Influence . Greenleigh tweets at @be3d and blogs at daretocomment.com.