Judging by the swarm of testers trying to connect with me on LinkedIn recently it seems no-where is now safe from those who want a job.
99.9% of those who try to connect with me have never had a conversation with me (in the real world or digital). I see the same thing on Twitter, where I have less control over who follows me and also on this blog, where I delete a huge number of comments from people wanting a job.
It seems many testers are falling in to the simplistic trap of believing that social media will get them a job. It’s not surprising when there are a number of companies, individuals and organisations who are pushing social media (in the Testing world) as the way to land a job.
It’s easy to see why people would sign up for Twitter, follow some people in testing and then directly ask them for a job.
Social Media alone will not get you a job. Social Media, in a simplistic sense, is a communication (and publishing) platform/channel. It’s a way of networking, communicating and distributing content. Social Media may get you connected to people with jobs, or put you in front of people who are hiring, but you’ll still need the skills to see the application through (unless of course the hiring manager is not assessing you on anything). You still need your thoughts, ideas and the ability to articulate these clearly. Social Media alone won’t help you there.
(Note: I do know of some examples where simply turning up to the interview would get you a testing job, but I don’t really consider that testing, or a proper job.)
Here’s some thoughts on why I believe the message is too simplistic.
- Some companies may see an active social media user as a drain on resource. After all, you should be working instead of tweeting…right?
- Some companies may see an active social media user as a risk. “What are they going to say that could get us in trouble?”
- Some companies may see active social media users as a boon. After all, their business may benefit from the thought leadership, experience or free marketing. They may even be working in the social space and demand people who understand and “get” social media.
- Some testers wield their social presence with great skill and attention, yet aren’t great testers, but great marketeers.
- Some testers wield their social presence with great skill and attention and are amazing testers, and great marketeers.
- Some testers don’t wield their social presence well, and are bad marketeers.
- Some testers sign up to social channels because they think they should and do nothing spam others.
- Some testers sign up to social channels because they think they should and have no interactions, followers or conversations.
- Some testers use social media as a platform to sell services and goods.
- Some testers use social media to communicate ideas and further their skills and thinking.
- Some testers use social media to build communities.
- Some testers use social media to destroy communities.
- Some testers just don’t get it and stay away.
- Some testers are afraid of social media. Their personalities don’t gel with the public display of thoughts and ideas, yet they can be incredibly talented.
- Some companies hire very well without social media.
- Some companies go straight to their social channels for hiring.
I probably know someone who fits all of these, and a whole load more categories too.
I know a great tester who recently landed an amazing job and she isn’t on any social networks. Not even LinkedIn.
I know testers who are on social networks and actively connecting, but they can’t get jobs. They lose out to better candidates.
I know of some testers who have been offered a job directly through Linkedin without even being interviewed.
It’s too simplistic to say that getting a job requires you to be on a social channel and it’s too simplistic to say that being on a social channel will get you a job. It’s clearly not true in either case.
What get’s you a job (apart from “jobs for the boys” mentality) is proving to yourself, your peers and the hiring manager that you can do the job.
Social Media is no different to networking in person at Testing events, presenting at conferences and offering training services to build a wider network.
Getting in front of the hiring manager is easier with more connections, but these don’t have to be online through social channels. Many testers operate very well indeed and that’s purely from the old fashioned face to face networking.
Networking has been the key to getting a job (especially in hard times) for years, and it’s true that Social Media makes that’s easier now for the masses. But any hiring manager worth their salary should be recruiting for the person and their mind, not the number of social channels they are on.
Social channels and social media can help you amplify your thoughts, build your network, generate content and communicate with those who can get you jobs, but your skills and experience will be what ultimately separates you from others.