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How I Used Facebook To Get An Awesome Job

High profile companies receive way too many applications. It is common knowledge that places like Google use keyword searching to rule out resumes. It is also common knowledge that the easiest way to get a job is through connections.

So what do you do if you don’t have any connections? How can you set yourself apart from the crowd of applications? Enter shameless self-promotion via Facebook Ads.

Those of you unfamiliar with Facebook Ads, do yourself a favor and at least look at the Create an Ad page. Its really easy, provides multiple ways to accurately target your audience, and offers pay-per-click payment option, meaning you only pay if your ad is successful.

The targeting I was interested in is “Workplaces.” Go ahead, type in any mid-size to large company. Facebook will find it, and update the Estimated Reach in the upper right.

My Strategy

  1. Find my dream job(s).
  2. Make sure I (mostly) qualify for them.
  3. Apply.
  4. Target that company with a Facebook Ad & custom lander page.

It would be a waste to run ads for a job that you are obviously not qualified for. But if you think that all you need is to be noticed, this might be the ticket.

For the ad itself you’re targeting the whole company. So put yourself in their shoes. Here are some assumptions:

  1. Most likely not HR, or in the department with the job opening.
  2. Are Facebook users with their job filled in properly. Not everyone has or uses their Facebook regularly (gasp!).
  3. Consume countless ads every day (unless they have AdBlock, in which case you’re screwed).
  4. They don’t care about you.

Keeping those things in mind, I wanted to run a successful ad campaign that was so obviously targeted to that company, any employee wouldn’t be able to resist clicking on it. For this, I came up with a few ideas:

  1. Branding: Integrate their logo, name, or corporate colors.
  2. Imagery: Some companies have strong visual representations outside of their logo (mascot, famous ad campaign, spokesperson, etc).
  3. Message: If you are truly interested in this company, you will know what their corporate culture is like. Would they respond better to something  super professional, or something silly?
  4. Set yourself apart: I usually run Adblock (I happen to hate ads… ironic I know). But I turned it off just to see what my competition was. What are they doing to get people’s attention? Try to think of something else, because you don’t want to just blend in with the rest of the ads.

My Ads

I picked two companies to target: Valve: makers of awesome video games like Half-Life and Portal, and SEOmoz: #1 SEO tools company in the world.

Both of these companies were probably getting a lot of applicants for the positions I wanted, and I knew their culture is  pretty relaxed and open to some silliness or humor. But above all, I wanted them to think “Wow, this guy is pretty creative, and obviously wants to work here!”

Valve’s first games featured an intro image that is now a bit of an icon. I knew that any Valve employee would immediately recognize this. So I chose to rip it off. I recreated the photo and Photoshopped a Valve onto my face. I knew this would scale down to 80x100px and still be totally recognizable.

 

SEOmoz has a simple logo, a gem icon, and a robot mascot. All three of these things are very iconic for them. I took an old black and white photo of myself and Photoshoped the robot’s eyes and antenna in. I also recreated their logo with the words JOB PLZ.

My Lander Pages

If all you have is great ads but terrible content, you failed. People will click on your ad hoping for something amazing, and be very disappointed if its just a bland page with a link to your resume. You might as well just Rick Roll them and be done with it.

I learned this the hard way. I ran that Valve ad, and immediately saw a great response. However, the next day while reviewing the analytics data I noticed that the bounce rate and average time on site were pretty low. I was sending them to the front page of my portfolio site, which is nice and all, but was missing something crucial: my Valve face.

Lets put ourselves in their shoes again: They don’t care about me, but found my image amusing. But its tiny on the Facebook ad, so they click on it hoping to see it larger. When they are presented with essentially a solicitation, they bounce.

So I rectified this by creating a custom page for the Facebook ad that displayed the Valve image, and a custom greeting. But the damage had already been done. After the next few weeks I continued to run the ad, but it was not as successful as that first day: The people that were willing to click on it did, and won’t again–I missed the opportunity to capture their attention.

I tried a few different ads that weren’t as successful. But, they did finally contact me. They had me in for a tour and let me know that, while I wasn’t a good fit at the moment, they would like me to keep in touch (Hi Dina!). So the ads worked! I was noticed, but I wasn’t quite what they needed.

For SEOmoz, I wasn’t going to make the same mistake: I purchased www.jobplz.org and setup a similar landing page with the larger graphics that I would use on their Facebook ad. It was also hugely successful the first day. That day their VP of Marketing sent me a tweet complimenting me on my work and said they would be in touch. Success!

Conclusion

Facebook ads are a great way to get people’s attention in a place they wouldn’t expect. Its cheap (I spent ~$20 on each campaign for what Valve called “carpet bombing” them), highly targeted, and fun. However, I don’t think its a silver bullet for every scenario. Think about the points I made above (company culture, if you’re a match for the job, etc).

Now go get those jobs! But please be respectful. Don’t “carpetbomb” companies for too long. Run the ads for a week or two and then shut it off and try again later. And know when to quit.

Do you have experience with this technique? If so, leave a comment! I’d like to hear your story.

 

New Project: QWZ.ME

QWZ.ME (pronounced “Quiz Me”) is a new startup I am part of. I was asked to help out with design and development. Essentially, QWZ.ME is a simple way to create quizzes. There are no simple solutions for creating quizzes online. Most are convoluted and offer way too many features that no one is interested in. We have found a simple way to create quizzes using just a textbox.

When I began helping out, the name was “Assignments to go.” My first involvement was to design a logo. This is what we came up with.

I suggested we reconsider the name — One long word with a lot of “S” (and starts with “Ass”), and two of the shortest words possible at the end. There was no way to make this look good! In fact, my first iteration of ideas was using the word “Assignments” because I got confused. So we tooled around on domai.nr to find a better name. I am proud to say I came up with… wait for it:

“Playful but not cartoony.” That’s what we were going for.

We will be launching a private beta soon. Please go to http://qwz.me/ to sign up and give us your feedback!

Here’s the process we went through on this logo design. I usually take the time to do hand sketches so as to not “lock myself in” to selecting fonts and stuff. But this was a quick job so that we would have something for the beta launch.

Google Analytics Request PHP Class

I recently needed a way to make a Google Analytics tracking request in the background, using PHP with no javascript, while serving up an image. After 2 seconds of googling, I came across an old blog post by Peter van der Graff. Like 2007 old.

Basically, the Google Analytics javascript builds a url to a GIF file that includes all of the tracking data as GET variables. So Peter’s idea was to simply recreate the URL building using PHP, and make the request in the background using fopen(). This would fit my needs, as I could build and make the GA request in the background, and then fetch and serve the JPG data to the browser. So basically I converted his original code into a GoogleAnalyticsRequest() class, making it very easy to make these requests:

[php]
<?php
require_once(‘GoogleAnalyticsRequest.php’);
$ga = new GoogleAnalyticsRequest(); // pass TRUE = debug
$ga->domain = ‘example.com’;
$ga->account = ‘UA-12345678-1′;
// $ga->custom defaults to user’s IP.
$ga->makeRequest();
[/php]

The GoogleAnalyticsRequest.php class can be found here.

I haven’t done extensive testing on this, and I think its using the old Urchin GA request type, but I think it will do for my purposes. Leave a comment if you have any suggestions on how to improve this.

“Made to Break” Music Video

Last month my cousin Mike asked me to shoot a music video for the local band Made to Break. He was producing their new album and had an idea for a video of one of their new songs.

The location was a rundown shed on an overcast day. We spent about an hour clearing everything (well most everything) out of the room. The band had spent the past few days painting a small upright piano that they bought at a thrift store. So we started shooting the parts with Matt, the lead singer, “playing” piano by himself. It was weird because there isn’t actually any piano in the song.

Anyways, we shot drums, full band, and some shots with a crowd behind Matt. It was pretty fun, we were able to integrate some of their most loyal fans into the music video.

This was the first major video project I used my Canon 60D for. Yes, I switched to Canon. Mostly using my 50mm f1.4 at f2, since it was pretty dark in there. The other lens I used was my 16-25 f2.8. I also used my DIY Igus Dolly for most of the shots, but as I got more courage I shot hand-held some parts.

I ended up filling my 8gb SD card, but I was able to dump it to my iPad using the camera connector kit. I had no idea video would fill up the card so fast! I ended up filling it again at the very end of the shoot, so a total of 16gb of raw footage.

For color grading I used Magic Bullet Mojo, a cheap Premiere plugin that applies a pretty specific color grading effect. It was good enough for our purposes and saved me a lot of time trying to figure something out with the default effects.

Enough talk, here’s the vid:

Watch it in HD on youtube

4th of July Fireworks Video

I am usually more interested in shooting pictures or video of the fireworks than actually lighting them. This was my first year with a DSLR with video capability (My Nikon D300s) so I chose to shoot mostly video. I put the footage together quickly this morning. I like how the sparks look out of focus.

Fireworks and bonfire at my Uncle’s house. Music: “The House that Fire Built” by Mae. Shot with my D300s, hand-held, mostly with my 50 f1.4. No grading. As a side note, you can really notice the poor rolling shutter at 0:50s, where the flashes are shorter than 1 frame sweep of the camera.

Watch it in HD on youtube

New Portfolio Site

It still needs a lot of work I think, but I decided to launch what I had for my portfolio site. Check it out: http://www.devin.cl/. I think the navigation needs some help; currently there is no way to go from one section to section without returning to the homepage.

Anyways let me know what you think!

Working on my portfolio site

OK so I’ve finally decided on a layout for my portfolio site and I’m working on coding it all right now. I am using WordPress 3.0 Beta 2 for the CMS, which is pretty cool because I’m trying out all the new features they have baked in to the new version. Oh, and it will be my first HTML5 site, although I probably won’t use any HTML5 features other than the DOCTYPE.
Anyways I thought about posting a little screenshot or something but I decided to leave it a surprise. Not like anyone reads this blog anyways haha.

Jokerman

I’m sure every designer has experienced this same thing, but I still thought I would share. Basically, I was asked to design a poster. So I did and sent it back for review. After several weeks I got an email saying “We have decided to rethink our approach to advertising the event this time around.” Then, a few days after that, I got their poster in a mass-email. I’ll let you decide which is which.

Jazzmatazz Posters

Compressing DSLR Video for YouTube

We know that YouTube only accepts a maximum of 10-minute videos. We also know that they accept any file under 2gb. However, my parents have been having some trouble getting a 1.4gb video from their Canon T1i to upload. It met both these requirements. I decided that I needed to find a very simple way for them to compress their videos. I decided to go with FFMPEG because everyone online seems to love it. I had never used it, the lack of a UI seemed daunting, and if I ever need to do any type of encoding, I just use the Adobe Media Encoder.

Anyways, I found a good preset using the h.264 codec online. It compresses to less than 20% its original size without any visible quality loss. The link below is to a zip file that contains a WIN32 build of FFMPEG, and a .bat file. Make sure you put FFMPEG.exe in your root C:\ drive. Put the .bat file anywhere. Just drag your file onto the .bat, and it will compress it.

http://blog.devin.cl/files/converter.zip


UPDATE (2/19/2011)

I’ve been getting emails from time to time about this easy way to convert videos. One asked if I could update it to contain both 720p and 1080p formats. The link above now includes both batch files.

Nikon D300s — First Video

I recently got a D300s to replace my D300. I know, its basically the same camera, but I wasn’t very happy with my results with the JAG35 on my Sony camcorder. So I’m ditching that whole setup and just switching to an SLR that meets both my photo and video needs.

Anyways, I finally got out and shot a little bit with it over the weekend. Needless to say that, for video purposes, the camera has serious limitations.

I don’t really get the “manual” controls. You are supposed to be able to set the exposure manually before entering “live mode” but sometimes it just doesn’t. For example, in this video I wanted to silhouette these trees against the sky. I set the camera to a dark enough exposure, entered live view and it was still trying to expose for the tree. The only thing I can think is that if you are several stops off of EV, the camera assumes your stupid and sets the exposure itself.

As for rolling shutter, I didnt really notice any for this shoot, but then again I had a tripod with a fluid head and was shooting relatively inanimate objects.

One thing I really like is my new Tokina 11-16 f2.8 lens. I used it here for the second shot, showing the tree. It’s a really cool look to use in conjunction with tight tele shots like the ones following.

Watch it in HD on youtube



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