Dave Cutler is trying to find a job. He’s also trying to break into the social media business. So it made perfect sense for him to launch his job search with an all-out social media blitz.
He created a website, hiredavecutler.com. He started blogging and tweeting about social media-related news, including references and links to his job search. He made a video resume, set up a YouTube channel, launched Dave Cutler’s Job Search Foursquare venue, and even created a Dave Cutler smartphone app.
“It’s an easy way to cast as wide a net as possible,’’ he said. “You can reach a lot more eyeballs through social media than you can through reaching out to people on a one-on-one basis.’’
In a job market crowded with talented people, resumes and cover letters just don’t cut it anymore. As almost any recruiter, career coach, and human resources specialist will tell you, effective job searches have become marketing campaigns, and social media, as Cutler shows, provide the tools to promote the product: the job candidate.
Social media can increase the odds of getting noticed in the game of “resume roulette’’ that hiring managers play when sorting through endless job applications, said Art Papas, chief executive of the Boston recruitment software company Bullhorn. Employers, he added, are starting to shift their focus from job sites like Monster and CareerBuilder to sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
“If you’re looking for a job, you’ve got to be serious about social media - it’s one of the best ways to cut through the clutter,’’ Pappas said. “Every company we work with, social media is top of their mind.’’
Cutler, 34, of Waltham, sees his efforts not only as a way to stand out, but also increase the odds - as often happens - that a chance meeting can lead to a job. Think of it like a virtual cocktail hour.
“You’re sending out resumes, you’re beating the pavement, you’re networking,’’ Cutler said, “And then you’re at a wedding and you’re at the bar getting a drink and you strike up a conversation with somebody and they say, ‘What do you do?’ and you say, “I’m looking for a job in XYZ,’ and it turns out they know of an opportunity, and that’s how you get the job.’’
Cutler started his social media frenzy a year ago after getting laid off as a graphics production manager at a health care research firm in Burlington. Unemployment, he decided, was the right time to pursue a new field.
He enrolled in a weeklong “mini MBA’’ program in social media marketing at Rutgers University in New Jersey, and then immersed himself in Boston’s social media scene - going to networking events, reading articles, attending panels, and watching webinars about the latest developments in the field.
The tidbits he picks up along the way give him something more than his job search to blog and tweet about, such as a new beer Samuel Adams is creating with advice from followers on its social networks. Cutler also includes snippets from his personal life, including his frustrations with a car dealership and a photo of him proposing to his wife at a baseball stadium.
Cutler promotes the successes of other social-media job seekers. He blogged about a copywriter who used Google AdWords to create personalized job pitches to several New York creative directors; when they searched for their own names, the top result was a message from the copywriter. He spent $6, made five ads, got four interviews, and landed a job.
He also highlighted the exploits of a job seeker moving to Milwaukee and seeking a job with a public relations company. She spent a weekend tweeting photos of herself holding up the company’s logo at area attractions. She posted an online slideshow of her escapades, and a few weeks later, got the job.
The social media network Cutler has developed has brought in far more leads than traditional job listings, some in unanticipated ways. A few weeks ago, for instance, he noticed a picture posted by one of his Twitter followers, whom he had never met, via the photo-sharing iPhone app Instagram. The photo was an aerial view of the follower’s office, which Cutler realized was in his neighborhood.
Cutler commented on the photo. His message prompted the follower to check out Cutler’s profile, which includes a link to hiredavecutler.com, and invite him to his marketing firm to talk about job possibilities. There weren’t any openings that fit, but now one more company and a handful of people in his field know about his search.
Cutler has come up with other social-media-centric ways to present his job history. The references tab on his website includes video testimonials, tweets, and blog posts praising his abilities; the writing sample section lists other people’s tweets linking to his posts.
Some of the tools Cutler uses aim to show employers his grasp of emerging technologies. His iPhone app aggregates his social media channels, with tabs to view his blog, videos, tweets, and biography; the icon is the same smiling picture of Cutler in a suit that appears on his Twitter profile and business card. He also created a QR code, which allows potential employers to use their smartphones to scan a code, either online or on paper, that will pull up his app or video resume.
In his yearlong journey, Cutler has had dozens of meetings and interviews and been a finalist for several positions, but has yet to get an offer. It’s discouraging, he admits, but he also knows that many companies are just starting to create jobs for social media managers.
“Really what I’ve been doing is acting as the community manager of the Dave Cutler brand,’’ he said. “A lot of what I’ve tried to do for myself I’d like to think could be replicated for a company or a brand.’’Katie Johnston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ktkjohnston.