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Twitter icon displayed on a laptop. Issue date: Friday September 25, 2009.

Twitter Helped Me Find a Job

October 12, 2009 09:30 AM
by Shannon Firth
One of the worst experiences for a job seeker is hearing, “We’re sorry. The position has been filled.” Meet Twitter, a job seeker’s new best friend.

Tweeting for Employment

When Jen Harris was laid off from her job at MPC Computers in Idaho last October, she tweeted the message "just been laid off from MPC."

"By the time I left the parking lot, I had a job offer from a friend that had a Web development company in town," she told in May.

It’s worth noting that Harris works in the field of computers, making Twitter a natural medium for her search, but it’s also important to note that Twitter as a job search tool is definitely growing.

And employers are looking to social media platforms for job candidates. Paul Mabray, a chief strategy officer for VinTank, a wine industry think tank, hired 23-year old Ashley Bellview using Twitter. “We got to learn about her persona, her work ethic and her thought process by the information she'd link to in her tweets and by how she communicated with other people on Twitter,” Mabray said, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Jason Rivera, a graphic artist and a collaborator in “the pink slip-party movement”—a group of unemployed artists and writers sharing their job search struggles—sees the immediate benefits of Twitter. Instead of getting buried in the hiring manager’s inbox, Rivera suggests that Twitter may “give you a shot at actually talking to a hiring manager,” Mercury News reported.
Give Your Account a Makeover

Sarah Evans, a writer for Mashable, a technology blog, suggests making your Twitter account “employer-friendly.” This means transforming your 30-second elevator pitch into your Twitter bio—in 160 characters or less. To create a more attractive background for your account, Evans recommends a visit to The Closet Entrepreneur. She also recommends linking to your resume using VisualCV.

Another site for finding and changing your Twitter account background is TwitBacks. “TwitBacks lets you add a longer description, logo, profile picture and links to your other online presences like LinkedIn,” Josh Smith writes for WalletPop.

If you really want to make it clear that you’re looking for a job, the next best thing to sporting a sandwich board is to add a red “Hire Me!” ribbon to your Twitter avatar using Twibbon, Smith suggests.

Patrick May, writing for the San Jose Mercury News, advises creating separate twitter accounts: One that is personal and one just for your job search. And don’t use a goofy cartoon icon for your avatar, he writes, because “it could turn off a potential employer.”

Start Networking

“Think like a detective,”
Jason Buss advises in The Talent Buzz. Using Twitter Search, formerly Summize, you can look for tweets with hashes such as “job,” “hiring” or “employment.” Other popular hash tags are “haj” (have a job) and “naj” (need a job).

A writer for the blog Lost in Technology offers a list of several Twitter users for job seekers to follow. These are Twitter accounts that tweet about the latest job openings.

On Mashable, Sarah Evans also shares dozens of accounts worth following, organized by company, field, job type and region. She highlights other ways to connect with employers, such as following @Microjobs, which forwards or retweets (RT) messages about job openings as they happen. TweetMyJobs, a Web site and a hashtag (#Tweetmyjobs), lets job seekers get instant tweets about new jobs, and the messages can be sent to your phone.

Mind Your Manners

Learning proper Twitter etiquette is important. Respond to direct messages in kind, instead of publicizing what may be personal information. And remember, “[d]on’t rely on Twitter to make all the connections for you. Network off Twitter or follow up with an e-mail when it’s appropriate,” MBA Jobs recommends in its 50 Terrific Twitter Tips for Job Seekers blog post.

Lastly, notes Jason Buss in The Talent Buzz, “[Y]ou are building your brand. A tweet like ‘Looking for an opportunity in SEO and open to relocation’ might go over better than ‘Being lactose intolerant just sucks.’”

Video: Twitter 101

If you’re new to Twitter, start with Mashable’s list of the Top 7 Twitter Tutorials on YouTube. You’ll find videos from the popular teaching site CommonCraft and information on other helpful platforms such as TweetDeck.

Related Topic: You’ve tweeted somebody; now meet somebody

Just because you’re networking online doesn’t mean face-to-face encounters are a thing of the past. Getting to know people in a casual, friendly setting is fun, and also puts your face in the mind of people that work in your field. The Web site is a great way to find networking events involving people who share your interests.

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