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Can you actually get a job through Twitter?

by Fiona Christie on April 15, 2011

I don’t think there’s a lot of hard evidence on this one yet but there’s a lot of talk.  Guardian Careers have even set up a Twitter job challenge to challenge their followers to get a job through Twitter. I await the results with interest.

Personally this whole “job thing” was one of the factors that pushed me onto Twitter having attended a Media careers event earlier this year where I heard a speaker Justine Thornton saying she hired, and got jobs herself via Twitter.  I was inspired to blog about Justine’s statement “I can’t believe you’re not on Twitter” Not that I’m after a new job myself (if my boss is reading) but more because as a careers consultant I realised this was something I needed to get under the skin of.

I also posted the question above on Twitter myself and it was asked at the Manchester Digital Development Agency Social media surgery this week (@MDDA and #mansms). Numerous examples were given by the panel of speakers of how organisations had used Twitter to recruit but also how Twitter was subtly changing how connections were being made which could lead to jobs. These included organisations actually using Twitter and Facebook to recruit (e.g., volunteers for Wimbledon). Fran Holden from a creative sector  recruitment agency  observed that  most of her company website referrals for vacancies were coming via Twitter;  and one of the businesses present (North Star Deli)  said they had actually spotted a potential project collaborator on Twitter.

If you are interested, try and get along to the next MDDA surgery; always nice to see these social media people in the flesh – not just their Twitter IDs. Andy Stevens blogged about the MDDA social media surgery too if you want to read more.

In the last couple of days I have been passed a couple of other Twitter stories. One is a research assistant at my own university who had maintained a link with his undergraduate supervisor via Twitter and spotted that his supervisor was recruiting and so contacted him (gis a job). To quote him “sometimes… just sometimes, it pays to be a cheeky ….”.  Another story was from Jonathan Hewett, an academic in London who sent me a story in the Telegraph of one of his students who got a job via Twitter.

This will be one of the many topics we’ll be looking at our Postgraduate Futures Careers event here at the University of Salford (21st June – details coming soon). Our theme is “career management in the digital age” and we will be certainly asking speakers and employers to talk about how they use social media for recruitment. My definite sense is that it’s more prevalent in some industries that others. But Twitter definitely makes it possible to get in front of the people you would like to work with /for whatever your sector.

For more detail of how to establish and use social media in job search go to my colleague Jemma Houghton’s blog post on the subject.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Chi-chi Ekweozor April 15, 2011 at 6:14 pm

Fiona Christie:
Great post, the examples you cited show that Twitter is indeed changing the way careers are made.

I think it’s down to how our connections as professionals are now visible on the social web. Just a few years ago, we didn’t have the ‘watercooler’ that is Twitter and so relied on serendipity to let us know when old contacts had moved on to pastures new.

In the next 5 to 10 years I think digitally connected graduates and school leavers will move from role to role based on the networks they built up during university via Twitter, LinkedIn and to a lesser degree, Facebook.

Which is why Andy Stevens from Prospects comments at the Manchester Social Media Surgery about creating a community for graduates is so forward-thinking.

Look forward to welcoming you at a future Social Media Surgery event!

Reply

Fiona Christie April 19, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Thanks very much for your comment. Have been offline so this is a delayed reply. Since posting I have been passed another example of someone else in the media industries who has got work through Twitter. Thanks to @kingfishercoach, @mattorchard and @jessyp for this.
One thing that strikes me is that there is no simple mechanical way of describing how you might get work throught Twitter, but being part of Twitter allows people to take and seize opportunities that they otherwise might not stumble on, eg., it may take patience to turn someone you have been following for a while into a useful contact. I wonder how this will develop as currently there does seem to still be a feeling of specialness around Twitter – a good club to be part of. As more people go onto Twitter things may subtly change. I like your mention of the watercooler – yes social media is really a digital watercooler. I do think Twitter is more relevant to some industries than others. To work most effectively there has to be an authentic voice coming through which may be harder in jobs and fields where confidentiality is all. My friends in fields such as probation, social work and teaching are very cautious about it.
And yes – I must get along to one of your Social media events…

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Jon Wade May 9, 2011 at 12:30 am

I have just never been able to get my head around Twitter as a way to actually find up to date information. I know, I know, that is what it is all about. But it just seems like a lot of noise to me. I do make use of Google search with the advanced settings to only show the latest or last 24 hours.

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Fiona Christie May 9, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Thanks Jon, I do recommend you have a go. It is hard to be specific about how Twitter can work in job-hunting but it really is a way to connect to people that you would like to work for in the future. I am actually attending the Social Media Surgery in Manchester tomorrow which is focussin on recruitment and Twitter so will undoubtedly find out even more there.

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Jon Wade May 9, 2011 at 7:34 pm

Sounds like an interesting event, I trust that you will be sharing all the juicy details in your next blog?

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Fiona Christie May 9, 2011 at 7:42 pm

Here are details of event tomorrow. Taken from twitter.RT @Orchard_Andy: Next Social Media Surgery: Getting jobs through social media. Panel includes @mattorchard @O… (cont) http://deck.ly/~4MDxR.

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Natalie Copuroglu May 23, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Great article and great examples!

To answer the question, yes, it is possible to get a job through Twitter. Twitter is a way to network online and if you build relationships, it will eventually pay off. You may not be offered a job through Twitter right away, but you may be offered an interview which will lead to a job, or someone may spot your link in your bio and DM you to tell you they’re interested in your profile.

I think it is really important for graduates to network online via Twitter or Linkedin. A considerable amount of graduates get their jobs through connections each year and I believe social media will increase that trend. Recently at the BBC Social Media Summit, the managing editor of Washington Post said he will not hire journalists who don’t have Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Journalism is not the only industry where having a Twitter account is essential. If you are looking for a job in marketing for example, having a Twitter account as well as a personal blog is almost a pre-requisite.

-Natalie
@natalietweetie

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