MBA Grad Seeks Job With Microsoft; Posts Ad On Facebook

Like tens of thousands of seniors across the U.S., Eric Barker graduated this month with no job.

But unlike every one of those tens of thousands, the newly minted MBA from Boston College took the unconventional step of running a job-wanted ad on Facebook.

“You know that old saying,” he wrote us explaining why, “If your stock broker knows so much, how come he isn’t rich? I think the same thing goes for marketing: ‘If that marketer is so good, he’d better be able to market himself.'”

So that’s just what this marketer did. His target is Microsoft; the work is entertainment, and; the results? Well, no job yet, but a boatload of contacts, lots of buzz, and offers of help from people like Glenn Gutmacher of Arbita and JobMachine. “Considering this was just a little experiment in unconventional job hunting that cost about a half hour of my time and less than $50, it’s been insanely successful,” Barker says.

Before we get into our Q & A, you should know that Barker himself is a bit unconventional and certainly no amateur. His undergraduate degree is in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. He earned an MFA in entertainment production from UCLA before working in Hollywood for 12 years as an independent screenwriter and media developer whose deals made it into Variety on occasion.

And a note of caution: Be nice to Eric should you meet him. His LinkedIn profile mentions that he’s a mixed martial arts/Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner who has trained with champions.

ERE: How long have you been looking? Are you currently employed? What’s your specialty or type of job?

Eric: I just graduated MBA school (May 18), believe it or not. My background is in media and entertainment — it’s all I’ve ever done. From writing screenplays for Disney and Fox to transitioning Spiderman creator Stan Lee’s superheroes to the web to marketing the Wii for Nintendo, helping companies bring people great entertainment has been my thing. Now that I’ve completed my MBA, my focus is product marketing/product development for companies involved in the media and entertainment space.

ERE: What made you decide to buy an ad?
Eric: I thought it would be unconventional and innovative. I’m a big fan of Tim Ferriss and Seth Godin’s work. The old model of marketing is changing. It’s trickier to reach people and to reach people effectively. I took this to heart not just in my marketing work, but in how I market myself. You know that old saying, “If your stock broker knows so much, how come he isn’t rich?” I think the same thing goes for marketing: “If that marketer is so good, he’d better be able to market himself.”

ERE: Why did you pick Facebook for the ad?
Eric: Facebook was the perfect place for me to put my ad. It gets enormous traffic, it’s inexpensive, allows you to precisely target your advertising, and provides you with solid metrics with which to track your efforts. Plus I think people enjoy going there, spend a lot of time there, and are in a good mood while they’re on the site. And most importantly: nobody else was doing what I was doing. That was key.

ERE: What is it costing you?
Eric: No more than $10 a day. Usually under five. I can control my bid price and set a cap on my daily spend. Starbucks puts a bigger dent in my wallet than promoting myself online does.

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ERE: What kind of response have you gotten?
Eric: Considering this was just a little experiment in unconventional job hunting that cost about a half hour of my time and less than $50, it’s been insanely successful. My ad got tens of thousands of impressions and hundreds of clicks and more than 20 people contacted me with offers of assistance. More than that, the quality of the interactions is very high — people were impressed with the concept.

ERE: Had any solid bites? Interviews?
Eric: No interviews just yet but plenty of solid interaction, lots of buzz, and most importantly, I’m making good contacts.

ERE: Do you have a sense as to whether this approach might work for others? Why do you think so or think not, as the case may be?
Eric: I think this could definitely work for others. The market could quickly get saturated, of course, but given proper targeting this is a good way to reach the right people cheaply and passively — to work on job-hunting even when you’re sleeping. But past the method itself, you need to have something to offer. In the end, it’s all about the value proposition. But if you’ve legitimately got something that the company needs, this can be a great way to reach the right people with minimal effort and expense.

ERE: What other approaches have you tried to finding a job?
Eric: You want me to reveal ALL my tricks?

ERE: Is this something you would or will do again?
Eric: Now that this method is getting exposure, a lot of people may start doing it and it won’t be quite as innovative. I’ll just find another unconventional way to reach employers — but if my personal marketing keeps going this well, hopefully, I won’t need to. 🙂

John Zappe is the editor of TLNT.com and a contributing editor of ERE.net. John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.

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