Home >Companies >Start-ups >Using the fine art of social media cold calling to land a job

NEW DELHI : When Apoorva Sikka was looking for a job, she knew exactly the kind of work she wanted—something that combined strategy, marketing and social media. The 23-year-old started checking online for brands that were “cool" and landed on travel startup Zostel’s page. After reading about them, she reached out to the company via LinkedIn and was called up for a few rounds of telephonic interviews. Within two weeks, all interviews were done, and for the past year, she has been handling Zostel’s social media.

Many people have started using social media platforms to reach out to potential employers, especially right now given that the pandemic crisis has resulted in large-scale job losses. But just reaching out and bombarding people with CVs won’t help in landing a job. Your skills and personality matter as well.

Experts believe this “modern-day cold calling" is a result of people being accessible on social media platforms. “In such a scenario, being authentic is absolutely necessary. Even though these are hard times, do not attempt to fake your identity just to get that interview call. In these super-connected times, it is not difficult to find out the truth," says Kapil Verma, assistant professor (organisational behaviour and human resources), Indian Institute of Management-Kozhikode.

It’s also important to read up on the company as much as possible. Reaching out without doing any research on the brand is a lazy approach and can spell instant rejection, says Ankur Warikoo, founder of hyperlocal ecommerce company, Nearbuy. Warikoo prefers all job applications to be on LinkedIn, even if a founder is active on other, more informal, platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

“Some people send a message on Twitter or Instagram without going to LinkedIn. Some just say ‘hey this is what I am good at’ and I am left to figure out if he even knows what Nearbuy is, and would even be able to contribute anything to the company. Messages which are sent without doing any research reflect the inertia or laziness of the person, and I would be inclined to believe that this is his/her inherent personality," says Warikoo.

Most startups also want to ensure that you are a good cultural fit. “If I get a message from someone who has not said why they would like to work with us, or how they love travelling – how would I even know if it is someone I’d like in the team? That said we do love bold approaches backed by research," says Aviral Gupta, chief strategy officer and HR Head, Zostel, a network of backpacking hostels. Gupta speaks about a social media message they once received asking for a job. “He knew his skill set and offered to help us grow our business in the northeast. It was to the point; the applicant knew what he had to offer and knew where we could use his expertise. It was an instant match," he adds.

When job applications happen online, it is imperative to keep your profile up to date, say experts. Highlight your knowledge, skills and past experiences in the profile summary. “At the same time, be flexible in these troubled times. Look out for alternative jobs which require similar skills. Networking continues to play an important role, and thus, it might be useful to join professional groups on LinkedIn and Facebook. When you do approach someone online, keep the message brief but precise. Be active on social media by posting and commenting on other posts because visibility enhances your chances of getting that interview call," suggests Verma.

Another thing to be kept in mind is that most companies do a background check before calling a candidate for an interview. According to Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, co-founder of sleep products startup, “It is easy to do so if the message comes on LinkedIn. If it is on Facebook or Twitter, I often ask them to send their LinkedIn URL, along with their email ID and phone number. Social media is a good place to see where the talent can come from but I do forward these requests, if I find them interesting enough, to the concerned team to take it ahead," explains Ramalingegowda.

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