MBAOnline, in conjunction with Jobvite and artist Anson Foster, released an awesome infographic a couple of days ago outlining how people are actually using Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to find employment. Clearly, social media has changed the way that companies are finding new employees. But I have noticed that most of these surveys, infographics, and exposés typically ignore Tumblr.

The micro-blogging outlet may be overlooked, but people are certainly trying to find jobs using it. And that makes sense – with an 85% retention rate and over 69 million blogs on its platform, Tumblr is a great way for job seekers, particularly ones fresh out of college, to try to network with other professionals and get a foot in the door. In fact a fellow Tumblr user looking to break into the social media field recently sent my social media manager Heather Taylor a message via Tumblr, asking for advice and (I’m sure) fishing for a lead. For as nicely put as the message was, there are still certain habits and mannerisms that Tumblr users exhibit which might not translate into the best skills for job-hunting online. If you do decide to try and take advantage of Tumblr to find a job, keep the following in mind:

Have an account that is STRICTLY professional

It seems that most of the people who are trying to get a job through Tumblr do want to work in social media, but that doesn’t mean that someone who is trying to land a management position, or an IT job, can’t use it as well. The trick is to have an account specifically for job hunting. You can link it to your personal account if you’d like, as long as that account doesn’t have any questionable content. Make sure your professional blog doesn’t stagnate. It isn’t enough to just put a nice picture of yourself as the avatar, slap on your CV, and then start sending out messages. Post regularly about news in your industry, or about developments in your professional life. Even if it seems like no one is listening, there is a good chance that everyone you message will click over and check out your Tumblr. And what do you think they’d rather see – a barebones blog with a standard theme, or an active, engaging individual that has enough passion about what they do to talk about it?

Treat any messages you send like you would a cover letter

That means please, please, please don’t fanboy/fangirl out and start gushing about how much you love what the person posts, how inspired you are by their drive and the content they put up. Trust me when I say, they see right through that charade. Even if it’s true, it reeks of desperation. When you write your message make it personable and make it readable - just don’t make it sound like you should be pitied. Even if you HAVE been looking for a job for six months, your messages and your Tumblr need to exude self-respect. First impressions are everything, even on the internet. Also, remember to leave them an alternative way to contact you. An e-mail address or a link to a Twitter account are fine; just something that will let them, if they choose to help out, take the conversation off of the Tumblrsphere.

Try not to annoy the person you’re talking to

Any message you send out shouldn’t be a chore to get through. Introduce yourself and be clear about what you hope to gain from this exchange. The last thing someone wants to do is read through a five-paragraph essay about why you’re the model employee. Be short, quick, and to the point. And then back off. Don’t send message after message after message asking if they had a chance to look over your Tumblr or talk to someone in their office. If they help out, they are doing you a favor. I know that in the digital age, patience is sometimes hard to come by but relax.  Update your Tumblr and check out some pictures of cats in the meantime. Just don’t be an annoyance – the last thing you want is for this person to dread opening the private messages box on their Tumblr.

Of course, a little common sense goes a long way when trying to make contacts and network. Remember to use your best judgment, along with the tips I gave you, when branching out. Some people will be more responsive than others, and some might not want anything to do with you. The great thing about Tumblr is that you can get a pretty good feel for a person’s personality simply by reading their blog, so always take that into consideration. With a little luck, some perseverance, and some patience, networking and job-hunting through Tumblr can be a very worthwhile pursuit.