Job Search Tips – Find a Job through Using Google Alerts

My friend and colleague Meg Guiseppi just posted a great article here on Google Alerts. She provided great advice, which you should follow.

I’d like to add my two cents to this discussion, since Google Alerts are also a favorite tool for me. Here’s my twist: use the Alerts to write about specific target companies. You see, most companies also run Google Alerts on their company name and on their product names (and competitors’, too).

This is a great way to get a job! Write about your target companies. Use Google Alerts and blog searches to do your research first. Then write something important about the company. If you don’t hear from them the first time you do this, keep writing about them. Eventually, they’ll notice and contact you.

You’ve probably heard about companies that offer a public face on Twitter. Comcast is famous for @ComcastCares. Bank of America has a similar service I’ve used – with incredible results. You may even have tried some of these online communication channels without ever thinking about using them to get visible to your target companies.

Here’s an example: I had a target company in my area. It’s a company that offers a wide range of cloud-based software solutions. I watched this company for a long time, and read about them extensively in blogs. (If you want to read about how you can use Google Reader for this type of research, see my articles here.)

I like to research companies before I approach them. I do that before interviews, and before pitching consulting or business deals. I even do it before cold-call sales calls. The objective is to find some common topic that you, the caller or emailer, have with your intended target. My favorite tactic is to research companies deeply before interviews so I can propose some solutions for the company I’m interviewing with.  But what if you never get that invitation?

That’s where your own publishing efforts can change the probability of success. When I wrote about the company I targeted, I also wrote about their founder, a man I really respect on many levels. I mentioned him (along with a short review of one of their products), and the next day, I had an email from the founder of the company. (In this case, I actually had no ulterior motive – I had already decided I wouldn’t pursue a personal relationship with the company.)

This isn’t the only time this has happened to me – and there’s really no magic here. Even if you’re just starting your career, you can do precisely the same thing. Remember to pick your target carefully. Research them thoroughly before you open your mouth. Write convincingly and meaningfully. Keep doing it until it works.

And yes, be prepared for them to contact you! Be sure to have something compelling to tell the person who calls you or emails you.

(Here’s a great telephone technique: if you receive a call from a headhunter or hiring manager, ask if you can call back in just a minute – say you have somebody on hold on your other line. There’s a slight, but important, advantage to the caller, and it also gives you a minute to get your thoughts together.)

And while you’re at it, make sure to do Google Alerts on your own name (unless it’s a very common name), because that’s a good way to get some objective measure of how much the world is talking about you.


Add yours
  1. 1

    Not sure if I recommend putting a recruiter on hold for long periods of time while you google search either yourself or a recruiter but I love Google Alerts. They are a great brand awareness option.


  2. 2

    Great post Walt. Thoughtful targeting combined with strategic Google alerts can be exceptionally powerful. One of my friends went into a job interview having received a Google alert about the company an hour earlier. He was even more up to date about the company's news than the interviewer was – and got his foot in the door!

    – Pete Kistler

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