Preview: Using Your Online Network to Get a Job #IRL

justin2Jocelyn Lai and Justin Gignac understand digital relationships. In fact, their relationship has been completely digital. Both deal with these online non-traditional relationships on a daily basis and understand the importance of consistent social presenece. Lai, Talent Acquisition Manager at GSD&M in Austin uses social networks as a tool to recruit and network with people. She even refers to it as her own form of social “stalking.” Gignac, a freelancer in New York City, started his own network for freelance creatives. is a freelance “apparatus” that allows for freelancers and agencies to easily connect with each other. Starting as a joke, the website allowed for Gignac to display when he was available for work. Unexpectedly, word spread and he began getting 2-3 job offers a day.  The website only continued it’s growth when agencies began asking if his friends were available for work. The site now boasts more than 1,000 freelancers and 60 agencies.

What better people to host the panel, Using Your Online Network to get a Job #IRL (In real life).  Lai was quite impressed with last year’s variety of panels and began talking and networking with different people in hopes of a chance to one day host her own. After several events, she stumbled on the perfect topic. “On three different occasions people came up to me and mentioned one of my social networks,” said Lai.”I was having digital run-ins, people were talking about my tweets face to face with me.” After meeting Gignac, the plan fell perfectly in to place. “Justin had created a whole new network on his own and we knew we could trust each other because we trusted the mutual friend who introduced us,” said Lai.

The panel will offer two different perspectives. Lai will discuss how to “stalk” social accounts to find candidates and to get a job. She will also focus on how recruiters can use social media tools to find the right employees. “There are so many tools and many people don’t know how to engage them in the right way,” said Lai.

Jocelyn Lai_2012_pr4Gignac will focus on sharing the importance of taking care of your online identity. “Even when you meet people in person, people don’t represent themselves accurately,” said Gignac. It’s important to have an online presence that reflects yourself well and is relatable.” He will also discuss the importance of being responsible with your online presence and the importance of having continuity within all of your networks so that people can gauge your own style and personality.
Both digital media experts agree, people should understand and be able to relate to your social identy and your online presence should reflect yourself well. “If I am looking for a new recruit and I end up retweeting them a lot, I know they will be a solid fit for the job,” Lai discussed about recruiting on social media. Gignac agees, “If you are in a certain role and you aren’t using a related social media tool, you are doing it wrong.”

The panel will offer non-traditional advice, beyond the everyday job advice and into the digital world. The pair is enthusiastic and ready to share the information they have experienced themselves. “The really cool ‘I got a job’ stories are those that stem from non-job related sources,” said Lai. Gignac, who once got a job through video gaming on X-Box live couldn’t agree more.

“People tend to wait around for luck to fall in their lap, but what if that opportunity falls across the street or around the block? You have to be putting yourself out there and looking for it, that’s ‘the secret,’ shared Gignac.