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.
- Find my dream job(s).
- Make sure I (mostly) qualify for them.
- 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:
- Most likely not HR, or in the department with the job opening.
- Are Facebook users with their job filled in properly. Not everyone has or uses their Facebook regularly (gasp!).
- Consume countless ads every day (unless they have AdBlock, in which case you’re screwed).
- 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:
- Branding: Integrate their logo, name, or corporate colors.
- Imagery: Some companies have strong visual representations outside of their logo (mascot, famous ad campaign, spokesperson, etc).
- 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?
- 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.
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!
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.