My entire team is in Chicago right now for our 2013 planning meeting and holiday dinner.

In preparation for the week, travel plans were made, client work was doubled to make up for two days away, guest blog posts were scheduled, and anticipation filled the air.

In fact, I think most of Facebook is jealous they’re all here because of the anticipation they’ve built online about their visit.

To say it’s been fun is putting it mildly. We’re like a bunch of old friends getting together after not seeing one another for years. And the really interesting part? Some of them have never met in person.

Having a virtual company will do that. We added three new staff members in third quarter this year and this is the first time they’ll have a chance to meet live. Sure, we see one another’s faces through Skype a few times a week, but it just isn’t the same.

How Hiring Has Changed

Heidi Massey said to me yesterday, “Isn’t it interesting you’ve hired all these people you first met online?”

It’s true. I met all of our new team on Twitter, Facebook, or in the Spin Sucks comments.

In fact, I have a list of people I need to meet in person soon because they’re who we think we’d like to hire in 2013.

That’s how hiring has changed for us. We get to know people online first and then, if we think they might be a good fit, we do the in person thing. Then they get to go through the formal interview process and take a writing test. By the time they’re hired, we already know where they’ll fit, how they’ll fit, where their strengths lie, and how others on the team will fill in for their weaknesses.

Job Search through Social Media

People ask me all the time to comment on how graduating students should look for a job and my answer is always: Connect online with the people who work at the companies where you think you’d like to end up.

If you are going into journalism, communications, advertising, marketing, or any other related field, this is not a nice-to-have. It’s a necessity. In fact, if we receive your resume and we don’t already know you online, we’re going to pass on you, no matter how qualified you think you might be at doing the job.

We want to know that you already know how to build relationships using technology. We want to see you writing consistently on your own blog or for others. Double gold star if you write a compelling guest post for us.

And the same goes for those of you with experience. We just won’t give you a second look when your competition is keeping themselves top-of-mind every day by connecting with us online and commenting on blog posts here.

Social Media + Working Virtually

Add on the layer that you have to be extremely motivated to be productive working at home, that you’re a self-starter, and don’t need a lot of direction (I am not a micromanager) and you’re soon competing with about one percent of the communications population who would be a good fit here.

I know I’m not alone in this. Many organizations, particularly in our field, hire the same way. If you have the perfect company in mind for your future career and they are active online, you’d better quickly figure out how to worm yourself into their hearts and minds in new and different ways.

Otherwise, make way for someone who will.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

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