My first job was obtained via networking with the right people at college. Â My 2nd, 3rd, and 4th job was from Monster.com + my email address in my code. Â I pretty much stopped working W2 jobs in 2004, and started doing full time contracting & consulting. Â Thenceforth to 2007, all my gigs were from networking such as going to industry events, blogging, and my email address in my code. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â Knowing the right people is the #1 thing you can do to improve your career and get the best opportunities. Â You should strive toÂ NOT have a resume, and good networking is one way to do it.Â Â The good opportunities don’t always specifically seek you out, and increasing your exposure increases your ability to potentially spot them. Â Twitter is just another form of networking. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â Friends at college, then Monster.com, then email in code, then Google indexing my blog, and now Twitter. Â Things that haven’t worked for me are LinkedIn.com and Facebook. Â LinkedIn usually just forwards me more recruiter emails. Â 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. Â What goes around comes around, and in turn those contractors/consultants/W2 devs I network with will in turn send me opportunities. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â Alternatively, if you post you are looking, they are usually most apt to know where to point you for potential opportunities. Â Remember, people cannot direct message you Â (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. Â Having an email on your website seems brainless, but I unfortunately see many blogs and portfolio sites with NO way to contact the owner. Â “Hey, I have a check for $10 million dollars with your name on it… hello? Â I guess I’ll just give it to someone else, then?”. Â If you are worried about spam, utilize gmail.com. Â 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. Â It should be short enough that others can retweet it (your message with an RT in front of it). Â This means give room in Twitter’s allotted 114 characters for your message + your name + RT plus a space. Â 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. Â 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. Â If you cuss, make sure to make some tweets without curse words. Â Link to industry relevant articles and/or talk about pertinent things in your industry. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â The early risers in the west coast are just waking up, and checking Twitter just like they check their email. Â 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. Â This’ll usually spawn Twitter to email them. Â They’ll get a link in their inbox to your profile on Twitter. Â 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. Â This is a cheap form of email marketing. Â 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. Â You want to ensure it stays around awhile for those to read it.
Say Thank You
Finally, say thank you to your network afterwords.