Job search

How My LinkedIn Posts Led to My Next Job

Each of my post had original, positive content I came up with to answer a question from an imaginary person who was interviewing me for a new role.

Keith_Stelter standing next to a car.
In my first time on a racetrack recently, I performed in the top 5% of drivers. It was an amazing confidence booster. Not because I think I should be a race car driver. But because, I had the chance to do something new, and did it well.
Keith Stelter

There I was near the end of 2019 working for a global wireline company that was shutting its US operations. But I was in the Permian Basin, the busiest place in the world, and I knew a few people, so I picked up the phone and within a few hours I had a lead on a new job. The lead turned into an offer within days, and I proved to my wife, and myself, that we made the right decision moving to Odessa, Texas. There would always be someone hiring in the Permian. Then 2020 came along….

At the end of May 2020, I was let go because of the unprecedented downturn in the oil industry. I wasn’t alone; countless amazing people were being let go all across the global oil industry. The job market was in dire straits with too many job seekers, and not enough work to go around. How was I going to beat the odds and get hired?

My strategy came from working with a very resourceful young woman. I may have had more field, operations, and management experience than her, but she had figured out early in her career something I had not. Networking was a skill and she was great at it.

I decided I had to make my own opportunity happen, start marketing myself, and building my network. I could not sit at home, send out job applications for jobs that may, or may not, just be internal postings. I was not going to wait for the phone to ring, or something to come along. I was going to make sure I got in front of as many people as possible to demonstrate what I had to offer—make my own opportunity and bring people and job offers to me.

The first challenge was easy to overcome and solve. How do you get in front of countless people during a global pandemic full of quarantines, closed offices, and cancelled events? Go online of course, and my platform of choice was LinkedIn. To me it was already a platform made for job seekers, and plenty of people were already taking to it, posting that they were looking for new roles.

That led to the second challenge of my marketing journey, separating myself from all the other job seekers on the platform. Growing up on a farm in Northern Canada, and 18 years of operations experience, was not exactly the traditional background for an online digital marketing specialist.

And it is coming from this nonmarketing background that makes the story interesting. I decided to separate myself on LinkedIn by “putting myself out there,” so to speak, with positive posts about myself, my experience, and some of the problems I had solved. I was “out of my comfort zone” as I posted pictures of my time working in Iraq, my family, or anything creative I could come up with to draw attention. I posted videos of myself telling stories from my time as wireline supervisor/manager, growing up on a farm, or even driving on a racetrack for the first time. Each post was original, positive content I came up with to answer a question from an imaginary person who was interviewing me for a new role. Or that is at least the premise on which I came up with my posts, 90% of which was done from my phone. For example, I was answering the question, “Tell me about a time you tried to pick up a new skill? Did it come quickly to you?” and answered that with my Lamborghini track post. The post shared my first time on a racetrack in which I performed in the top 5% of drivers.

At first, as you can imagine, I did not reach a large audience, but those that did see it, engaged and encouraged me to continue. I made it my full-time job coming up with positive posts about what I would bring to an organization as an employee. I engaged with others on the platform, slowly building a following and getting to know people from all around the world. And in turn the people I engaged with began supporting my posts, which led to a larger number of viewers and greater overall exposure. People began to take notice that I wasn’t giving up and was keeping a positive attitude as I searched for my next opportunity.

These people began reaching out with messages, tags in posts, comments, calls, and even in-person meetings. Now I wasn’t the only one looking for a job for me, I had hundreds of people invested and helping me find my next opportunity. Give-a-ways were organized online (thank you Donnie Davis and Roye Strawn) in order to increase my network, and then David Gibson (host of the online LinkedIn Live show The Vdoor Locksmith) invited me on his LinkedIn Live MWD podcast to do a segment. He saw what I was doing, was impressed by my determination, and offered to help raise my online presence and profile.

He called it “A Minute With Keith” and it was an amazing experience. I found myself doing a live broadcast, and was again outside my lane, or “out of my comfort zone.”

I kept at the posts on LinkedIn, increasing their frequency from three a week to every day. It drove my creative thinking into overdrive coming up with something original every day. The combination of David’s show, and the increased posting, drew more than 200,000 views per month. Not bad considering my lack of prior marketing experience and having only 5,000 connections on LinkedIn.

I saw the benefits of social media almost immediately after I began the posting. I started getting requests for my resume. And soon the requests turned to interviews. I was getting meetings by people feeling me out to see if I would be the right fit for their organization. Everyone was intrigued on how I was able to generate the engagement I was getting on LinkedIn. They loved the positive attitude and the resilience I displayed in my search. But most of the people had a traditional script they wanted to follow (e.g., I needed 5 or so years doing sales or something related in their industry previously). So, I came in at second place in numerous openings. But some great advice got me to stay positive and keep going.

Lots of people are not hearing anything back or getting interviews, let alone second interviews. You are getting the attention you want and anything beyond that is out of your control. It isn’t you, it’s the organization, so don’t spend your energy worrying about changing something. If you change something, you might stop getting calls and interviews. Just be patient, keep growing, keep learning, and your time will come.

And they were right. My time came when I got to choose from a couple different places. But ultimately it was a phone call from Jason Arceneaux, the president and founder of ARC Energy, a company that provides the oil and gas industry with complete process facilities solutions. Solutions that really weren’t part of my wireline background, but Jason had been following my journey on LinkedIn and liked what he saw. I wasn’t completely sold on the position until he convinced me to meet their Global Vice President of sales Mikey Mahoney. Next, I had to pass their culture test by having a video call with their US Corporate Sales Manager Adam Ross. And after that, I wanted to be a part of their team. They were different from all the other companies I had interviewed with previously.

A few days after my video call, I had an offer letter from ARC, which I didn’t hesitate to send back signed. What a journey to get to that point, and there is no doubt in my mind that it was because of what I did on LinkedIn: the decision to go on the platform and draw as much attention as possible. And to me it wasn’t about likes, comments, or views. It was getting people to take a look at my profile. To really look at my background and see that I was more than just an operations manager. And at one point, I had reached more than 5,000 profile views.

And that is where this part of the story ends and another begins. I went from feeling secure about life in the Permian to wondering how to compete in an overwhelmed job market. Starting out with a few posts a week on LinkedIn, to numerous engagements of my content, and even having people sharing it in their own posts. Gradually building a following that allowed a great company to see my worth. Landing a great job, with a great possible future being part of a great team. The next chapter is just beginning and is about the role I took, the amazing team I joined, and where I go from here. But with any luck, I can take what I learned from this journey and come up with another terrific chapter.

Keith Stelter is West Texas Business Development Manager at ARC Energy and can be contacted on LinkedIn.

[The article was sourced from the author by TWA editor Adam Miszewski.]