Twitter is How I Obtain Job Opportunities

My first job was obtained via networking with the right people at college.  My 2nd, 3rd, and 4th job was from + my email address in my code.  I pretty much stopped working W2 jobs in 2004, and started doing full time contracting & consulting.  Thenceforth to 2007, all my gigs were from networking such as going to industry events, blogging, and my email address in my code.  From early 2008 to now a new source has emerged: Twitter.

I’ve already talked about this on Twitter, but that doesn’t have much use nor context if you don’t follow me on Twitter, or if you’re not on it because you don’t see any value in it.  Twitter is a lonely place without friends to talk to and/or follow, so it can have a perceived higher barrier of entry if you don’t feel like you have much incentive to invest time in it.  I’m here to tell you it’s my primary way of making my living now through networking.

Networking has always been at the core of how I’ve obtained new opportunities in my career.  Knowing the right people is the #1 thing you can do to improve your career and get the best opportunities.  You should strive to NOT have a resume, and good networking is one way to do it.  The good opportunities don’t always specifically seek you out, and increasing your exposure increases your ability to potentially spot them.  Twitter is just another form of networking.  The lines between personal life and professional are unfortunately very blurred there, but suffice it to say being myself has not negatively affected my career options as I perceive it.

I was talking to a recruiter yesterday, and the conversation went how it always goes: Hey, interested, wrong work style & too low pay, here I’ll refer you.  The longer version is:

“Hey, are you interested in this gig?”

“Possibly, what do they want?”

“Contract to W2, on-site only with no remote working, for half of what you are making on consulting.”

“No thank you.  Since you’re a nice sounding recruiter, send me an email and I’ll send you a list of potential contractors with notes on who is probably appropriate.”

The change yesterday in this oft repeated conversation for the past 4 years is:

“If I may ask, how do you obtain most of your opportunities nowadays?”

When I answered Twitter, I thought back to the history and relayed it to him.  Friends at college, then, then email in code, then Google indexing my blog, and now Twitter.  Things that haven’t worked for me are and Facebook.  LinkedIn usually just forwards me more recruiter emails.  Recruiter emails and phone calls, assuming they speak good English, are worth my time because sometimes an opportunity I forward actually does get acted upon.  What goes around comes around, and in turn those contractors/consultants/W2 devs I network with will in turn send me opportunities.  So I technically do get paid by being a part time recruiter, just in a different fashion.

In conclusion, I just wanted to point out on the place where I used to get all of my work, my blog, where I now get most of my work, on Twitter.  Currently this blog appears to have a larger, and more prolonged audience, so hopefully this’ll spark new opportunities for those of you who are either not on Twitter for this sole purpose, or are but just haven’t realized you can obtain employment in this fashion.  I felt it was interesting now that I had some time to reflect, and am curious if it is just a fad, or perhaps a trend.  If it IS a trend, how are traditional avenues going to react?

The following are some tips that have worked for me and may help you maximize your potential in getting employment on Twitter:

Follow People in Your Industry

They may have opportunities they’ll actually post about.  Alternatively, if you post you are looking, they are usually most apt to know where to point you for potential opportunities.  Remember, people cannot direct message you  (which also sends you an email) unless you follow them, so if you refuse to follow them back, at least provide a way for people to contact you.  Having an email on your website seems brainless, but I unfortunately see many blogs and portfolio sites with NO way to contact the owner.  “Hey, I have a check for $10 million dollars with your name on it… hello?  I guess I’ll just give it to someone else, then?”.  If you are worried about spam, utilize  You don’t have to change your email address; Gmail supports routing your existing email address through their POP servers so you can utilize their pimp Spam blocking.

State Simply You Want Work

If you are looking for an opportunity, state simply what you are looking for, and that you are looking for work.  It should be short enough that others can retweet it (your message with an RT in front of it).  This means give room in Twitter’s allotted 114 characters for your message + your name + RT plus a space.  The more the better because it can then be re-tweeted by multiple people.

Proof Read Your Message

Make sure it has correct spelling, and states clearly your intent.  You only get 1 shot at this.

Have a Clean History

Make sure your previous messages (4 minimum) have something that isn’t aversive to your potential employment.  If you cuss, make sure to make some tweets without curse words.  Link to industry relevant articles and/or talk about pertinent things in your industry.  Space your tweets out at least an hour or so in case the reader see’s your frequency and decides to go back to find less savory tweets.  Remember, there is no such thing as “delete” on the web.

Post during the Height of Activity

For me, this is around 10:00 AM EST GMT-5.  The hardcore east coast twitterers have already broken new news, and the international crowd is either turning in for the evening, or just winding down their work day.  The early risers in the west coast are just waking up, and checking Twitter just like they check their email.  This will maximize your exposure.

Use Twitter’s Email Marketing “Spam Feature”

If are pointed to someone who may have an opportunity, follow them on Twitter.  This’ll usually spawn Twitter to email them.  They’ll get a link in their inbox to your profile on Twitter.  If they click it, your employment request message will be at the top, and the first thing they see next to your Twitter icon and hopefully relevant profile information.  This is a cheap form of email marketing.  I, like the majority of people, hate Spam… but it works, hence why it still occurs.

Keep Your Job Tweet Around

Leave your tweet up awhile without making new ones.  You want to ensure it stays around awhile for those to read it.

Say Thank You

Finally, say thank you to your network afterwords.

Good luck!

4 Replies to “Twitter is How I Obtain Job Opportunities”

  1. Interesting. I think the “networking” part is so true. I always say “people hire people” so whatever you can do to increase your time in front of or with people the better. I’m frankly surprised actually provided any opportunities–not to diss them, but I’m just surprised. With all due respect to recruiters they are ultimately your competition because what they want/need are gigs–not people to fill the jobs. Sure, sometimes they need to find someone to fill a job–but that’s their smallest priority.

    I get a lot of referral business… actually I think almost all of it is referrals. Maybe my twitter followers are directing stuff my way. I guess I just haven’t seen the direct connection to twitter (yet).

  2. Having a resume in the tech field is kind of a joke.
    It always starts the same. I am seeking an opportunity to move the bar blah blah blah. I do flash and saved the company Eleventy Billion dollars with my widgets. The end. It also lumps you in with the group of folks that have accepted that conforming and not going against the grain is the way to go. It’s terrible that most companies require them. I would much rather see a BIO on a blog that has design or code samples than a poor attempt at formatted word doc.

    When consulting for a few years I refused to send out the resume. When they asked me to send it I sent them my blog. Even with recruiters. It actually only seemed to heighten interest rather than diminish.

    Now that we are the guys looking at the potentials we find that most of the resumes are from people without websites or out of date websites.

    Along with twittering and networking have your blog or site updated with something pertaining to what you want to do with your life.

    Last resort is a resume but before you do check out what Seth Godin has to say.

    If you don’t have a resume, what do you have?

    How about three extraordinary letters of recommendation from people the employer knows or respects?
    Or a sophisticated project they can see or touch?
    Or a reputation that precedes you?
    Or a blog that is so compelling and insightful that they have no choice but to follow up?

  3. Readers take note….Jesse gives GENEROUSLY of his time to connect others with job opptys. I’m actually pretty amazed how much effort he gives to the Flash/Flex community. He doesn’t get directly paid for his efforts, but his long-term rewards are huge.

    Let me illustrate how networking pays off from the perspective of an employer (I run a design/dev shop)

    In-evidently, there comes a time with any significant project where you need to pick up a phone and call in other talent. Having team members with large, active networks reduces the stress when we need to find answers fast. Therefore, having Jesse on my team instantly reduces one of the headaches that I as a PM run into when searching for talent.

    Another important point: if you are helping others find opptys, then don’t jack around with trying to extract “match-making” fees. For example, there are a portion of developers that if you ask “Hey do you know anyone we can add to our team?”, they’ll respond with “Sure, if I help you locate someone, can I skim a few bucks off the top?” Or they may ask their buddy, “If I can position you for this project, can we pass along a few bucks from your pay rate?” Jesse never operates in that manner, he sees the long term importance of connecting his network with project opportunities

    Bottom line….(1) Developers with active networks are worth more to me than those without networks. (2) Give generously to your network to help them connect with opptys and talent.

    Jesse does both well… a result he is the first guy I call when I want to ramp up a Flex/Flash project.

  4. LinkedIn totally worked with me, most of work I get from there.

    Twitter, I am yet to talk about what I do there :-)

    Hopefully, soon I would talk more about what I am doing, etc etc.

    Totally great, how things work now. I don’t even remember, when I updated my resume last time or where is the source(.doc, .odt) file on my machine.

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