‘Social Media and the Job Hunt’ or ‘Don’t Look Now, But Somebody Changed the Rules!’

The Social Media Web

The Social Media Web

I can remember writing my first resume.  I painstakingly typed it out (Yes, on an actual typewriter.  Don’t mock me.) along with a cover letter and hand-delivered it to my prospective employer; Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream.  Well, those days are gone along with my habit of binging on 31 flavours  and an occasional ‘International Cream’ (They were laced with various liqueurs from around the world.  It was great.  You could be a rebellious bad ass and have ice cream at the same time.).

No, we live our lives digitally now and whether you like it or hate it, it ain’t gonna change.  The only winning strategy is to roll with the times and acknowledge that having a strong web presence across a variety of social media platforms isn’t just a bonus, it’s pretty much a necessity.  Sites like linkedIn, facebook, youtube and twitter are allowing people to find out about and connect with each other to a degree that would have been almost inconceivable just even twenty years ago.  (Some of us were still getting used to having a bank card back then.)

Upon graduation now, my best prospect for finding an employer or for having them find me, is to

Dan Schawbel of mashable.com has written an excellent article entitled ‘7 Secrets to Getting Your Next Job Using Social Media’ that provides a solid outline for developing and managing a social media-based job search strategy.  http://mashable.com/2009/01/05/job-search-secrets/ The 7 secrets he outlines are as follows:

  1. Conduct a people search instead of a job search
  2. Use attraction-based marketing to get job offers
  3. Be proactive on Twitter
  4. Capitalize on LinkedIn
  5. Advertise your brand using AdWords and Facebook Social Ads
  6. Construct a video resume and upload it to YouTube
  7. Subscribe to blogs that have job listings

Of particular interest to me is number 2.  This is a fundamental swing away from the classic job-search model.  Whereas I had to go out and pound the pavement for that first job, proactively seeking out employment, now the prescribed strategy is to have a well-planned and well-groomed presence on the web and use that to attract employers to you.  Businesses large and small are using sites like linkedIn as resources for finding just the right person to fill spots in their organization.  This change in the nature of the job market is explained here briefly in the following video.

“That’s great”, you say! You love social networking!  And it is great.  It’s never been easier to connect with people, or people that know people, than it is today. We have the whole world at our fingertips and that is an incredible resource.  There are perils though and we need to be aware of them.  Because just as easily as a potential employer can find your resume, they can also stumble across that picture of you from that night when you went to your buddy’s, got really hammered, passed out on his couch and he drew kitty-kat whiskers and the like all over your face.  Some employers may find that entertaining or think it shows your humanity, but don’t count on it.  It doesn’t mean that you have to whitewash your facebook account or go page-to-page untagging yourself, it is just a reminder that Big Brother may indeed be watching!

‘Motivation in Exercise, or ‘Come on baby, light my fire’.

This is an article I wrote for the Algonquin Fitness Zone newsletter.  (Memberships at excellent rates, only $130 for four months for full-time Algonquin students.  Get ’em while they’re hot!)  I should point out that it is also this month’s front page article, but I’m reallllllly humble, so I won’t do that.

As I sat there it was minus 20 degrees outside… minus 31 with the wind-chill.  My couch was comfortable and warm.  It whispered seductively in my ear… ”stay home!”  The cold wind blasted against the window.  It screamed at me… “Stay home!”   A moment of uncertainty followed as I weighed my options.  Then a deep breath was followed by a long sigh and leaving my indecision behind, I stood up, bid my uber-comfy temptress goodbye, grabbed my warmest toque and headed towards the door.  I was going to the gym.

As I crossed the threshold of the doorway, bundled up like I was going to spend a month in the Arctic, I started to wonder about what had gotten me out the door.  What is the difference between doing it and not doing it?  What provided the spark?

The answer ofcourse, is motivation.  Motivation is the force that drives us, that spurs us, that urges us on to greater things.  It is also arguably THE most important component of any training regime.  You can have the time, the knowledge, the equipment and everything else, but if you don’t want it bad enough to actually do it, you’ve got nothing.

So, where does it come from?  How do you get it?  Can you buy it in a bottle?? Sadly… no.  It is trickier than that because different people are motivated by different things, so what might light my fuse might not work for you.  Still, a good starting point is to try and figure out what motivates you.

Social Needs Theory

Psychologist David McClelland suggests in his Social Needs theory that individuals are motivated by three different basic needs; achievement, power and affiliation.  The type of motivation that we lean towards is a product of our upbringing and experiences and most of us actually exhibit a mix of the three.

A person dominated by a need for achievement likes to accomplish things and is most successful when their program has goal-setting incorporated into it. They are also often motivated by competition, both against themselves and others.  Often they gear their training around events such as bodybuilding competitions or triathalons.

Individuals who are predominantly motivated by power have a need to be influential and are motivated by prestige and recognition.  This type of person may enjoy being seen as the fittest, biggest, strongest, or most dedicated person at the gym.  They can be more focused on the end result than the process of getting there.  This is the most dubious of the three types of motivation as it involves not only the person themselves but their impressions of and the attitudes of the people around them.

Those who are motivated by affiliation enjoy being a part of something.  They know that all the coolest people are at the gym and they want to be there and be part of that too.  For them to be most successful in their training they have to find ways to take advantage of that.  This person might consider joining a team or doing a fitness class.  They might also do well with a workout partner as their responsibility to each other and the ‘team’ would help keep them committed!

Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation

A discussion of motivation wouldn’t be complete without considering intrinsic and extrinsic motivators.  An example of extrinsic motivation would be promising to buy yourself a new pair of sneakers if you stick with your workout plan for a certain period of time or reach a certain goal.  This is perfectly fine but will probably only be viable for short-term goals.  At a certain point your motivation needs to come from somewhere deeper.

Intrinsic motivation on the other hand comes in the form of the positive feelings you have when you work hard, achieve goals, etc.  While a new pair of Nikes is an awesome prospect, the feeling that comes from sticking with your workouts and achieving your fitness goals will last long after your sneaks are in the trash!

Conclusion

The information in this article is by no means exhaustive.  Rather they are some bits and pieces intended to make you more aware and give you a starting point for further discovery (more information is only a Google away!).  At the end of the day, the best motivational tool is whatever gets you active and keeps you that way.   So try some different things, see what works and go with it.  And if anybody wants to motivate me by buying me some new sneaks, feel free!

My Favourite Blog

This week’s assignment asked us what our favourite blog is, why it is good and why people read it.

My favourite blog is found at http://failblog.org/.  It is not a technical page.  It is not an insightful page.  It doesn’t instruct, guide or inspire me to greater heights in my personal or professional life.  Still, I believe that it satisfies a basic need in the human psyche; that is the need to feel superior to someone.

There are all kinds of places around the web where I can find the blogs of incredible people doing incredible things.  I can read the words of missionaries in Africa.  I can learn from NASA’s rocket scientists.  I can study the motivations and actions of a high school student fighting for human rights in China by leading a letter-writing campaign.  I can even gain insight into the creative process by reading the blogs of some of the most creative musicians/artists/designers on the planet.  I can… but I won’t.  It’s not that I don’t want to learn, grow or evolve as a person, because I do!  (Well, most days anyways.)

No, the sad truth is that while awesome, talented people are great, they are also kind of irritating.  I mean, have you ever known someone who was good at everything?  I’m talking about the type of person that wins the math award, the english award and is the captain of the whatever-impresses-you team?  For the purposes of this blog we’ll call this person ‘Captain Awesome’.  And while they certainly have an abundance of greatness to share with the world, I personally always end up feeling inferior afterwards.  After all, when compared to Captain Awesome, many of us fall a little short.

This is where failblog.org comes to our rescue.  Rather than bombarding us with excellence, which would inspire us to set lofty, unattainable goals and set us up for disappointment, failblog reminds us that even if you have some pretty idiotic moments (and we all do), there are always people out there that will make you look like a genius in comparison.  Consider the hair salon sign below.  Somebody actually thought is was a good idea. Knowing that they are that stupid and that I am not is very reassuring.  And the next time I run into a door or say something truly bone-headed I will be able to deal with it, because hey, at least I didn’t give my business a name that inspires images of Cameron Diaz and her special hair  ‘mousse’ in ‘There’s Something About Mary.”

failblog.or case #1

Failblog showcases examples of stupidity in all of its myriad manifestations.  Case #2 is another solid example of ‘I may be an idiot, but at least I’m not this guy.”

If at first you don't succeed...

Tell me honestly that you don’t feel better about yourself than you did before you started reading this article and I’ll call you a liar.

There are other reasons other than the ego-stroke that contribute to failblog.org’s popularity though.  One is that it is community-based in that it allows anyone to upload and contribute.  This encourages users to be involved and engage themselves.  Thus rather than being a one-way line of communication,  it is an interactive process that allows users to invest themselves in the site.  This higher level of involvement will bring them back to the page time and time again.

It is also possible to vote on individual submissions to determine the subject’s degree of failure.  That is nice, because while it is enjoyable to bask in someonelse’s stupidity, it is even better when we can tell them just how stupid they really are.

My Favourite Social Media Site

Hello, and welcome to my very first post on my wordpress site. We have been asked by our teacher to discuss what our favourite social media site is and why.

My favourite site (so far) is facebook. Yes, I know I lump myself in with the masses on this one, but facebook has wormed its way into my heart and my daily routine.  It has allowed me to connect with a wide array of people.  A number of those are individuals that I see and talk to on a regular basis in the real world, but there are even more people whom I would not have the opportunity to interact with regularly.  They are friends and acquaintances from other stages and locales in my life; classmates from other institutions, friends who have moved away, co-workers from previous jobs, etc.  Were it not for facebook (or other types of social media) these relationships would by and large be lost.  It would be great when I happened to run into those people, but that would happen very rarely if at all.  With facebook I have the ability to maintain contact with those people through messages, comments, status updates and the like.   Ultimatley, I don’t believe there is any substitute for live encounters.  I can read someone’s face or pick up on vibes in their tone when I encounter them in a way that just isn’t possible when limited to text.  However, if  it comes down to either having virtual interactions or none at all,   I’ll take the virtual ones any day.

Ofcourse, my affection for facebook and its ever-growing popularity might make one wonder why has it grown so fast?  What need does it (and social media in general) fill?  What role does it play that its integration into our lives has seemed so natural?

To understand this, let’s take a detour and visit our cousins, the chimpanzees.  These wonderful individuals spend a consistent portion of each day grooming each other.  They pick the ticks, leaves, burs and the like from each other’s fur.  This process hast two important elements to it.  First of all, clean fur is healthy fur.  So, if they want to be healthy, they have to get the crud out.  As you can probably imagine though, it is very hard to groom yourself front to back.  And if you can only groom your front side, then the job is only getting half done.  This is where the second element comes in: cooperation!  Many creatures have figured out that sometimes two heads, or in this case, sets of hands, are better than one.  The Great Apes have certainly come to this conclusion, and humans have taken it to the extreme.  So when the going gets tough, the tough work together!  It is impossible for a single chimp to groom himself perfectly, but an accord is reached wherein two or more chimps basically say that  “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours”!  This eases tensions in the group and is the basis of bonding amongst individuals.  The relationships formed by this means benefit the chimps by promoting cooperation in other aspects of their lives, including protection from dangers, sharing of food and selection of mates.

As humans, we don’t tend to spend a lot of time grooming our friends.  (Well, some of us may, and I’m not here to judge them.)  But there is an activity that chimps don’t do that occurs in the about the same proportion in our daily lives… chit chat!  We have switched one activity out for the other, but they play the same role in that they strengthen interpersonal relationships and improve group cohesiveness.  At first we were limited to talking with the people of our family group, but technologies such as the telegraph and the telephone have allowed us to stretch this further.  Social media is just an extension of this behaviour designed to perform the same function at the level of the world wide web.  In essence it has allowed us to extend the reach of our relationships beyond the end of our arms to the ends of the Earth.

test post

This is a test of my posting system. This is only a test. Were it not a test I would say something witty and insightful. For now, just tweedle your thumbs.