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Taking Your Job Hunt to Twitter

Taking Your Job Hunt to Twitter

5-jobs-twitter-search

    Some Twitter users update about everything — including when they’re hiring. Some do it just to mention what’s going on in their day, while others like the thought of reaching out and finding someone in their online network. Either way, Twitter can offer a quick way to learn about who actually has a job to fill and perhaps even help you get your application on the top of the pile.

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    It’s All About the Hashtags

    There are three hashtags that can come in handy to someone on a search for a new job. Keeping an eye on #rtjobs, #jobangels and #jobs can give you a look at who’s looking to actively recruit on Twitter. Even recruiters from companies like AT&T have started posting job listings, often labeling them with #jobs. While #jobs may be the most obvious tag, there’s a reason behind both #jobangels and #rtjobs tag.

    JobAngels is a Twitter account dedicated to helping individuals get back to work. Through retweets and reply messages, a number of Twitter users direct JobAngels’ attention to mentions of job listings on Twitter. Those listings are then broadcast to JobAngels’ 700+ followers on Twitter. Using the #jobangels tag provides another layer of tracking, for both individuals passing jobs along to JobAngels, as well as letting them listen in on another layer of the discussion about jobs that are available.

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    For the most part, #rtjobs seems quite similar to #jobangels. But rather than having one central Twitter account bringing job opportunities together, #rtjobs relies more on Twitter users including the appropriate hashtag in their messages. One Twitter user, Aaron Brazell, has created a site to help organize all the information labeled with #rtjobs. The site is based on the Twitter API, the #rtjobs site brings all #rtjobs tweets together in one place and makes them searchable. It makes using all the information flowing through Twitter that much easier to use — and it can be a much faster way to search through tweets to find a job opportunity than any other approach. You can even follow it through an RSS feeder if you aren’t so inclined to rely on Twitter.

    Running a Search or Two

    Looking at job opportunities that a recruiter labeled with a hashtag — or one of his followers retweeted with a tag — may be one of the easiest ways to use Twitter for job hunting. But not all Twitter users in charge of finding a new employee are so kind as to label that fact. In order to catch a few additional job leads, it can be a good idea to search for phrases like “looking for a writer,” substituting in your job title of choice for writer. The results can be pretty hit or miss, but if you automate the process a little, you can scan through the results and follow up on them quickly.

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    There are several services that will run automatic searches on Twitter for you. I use Twilert to have search results for a few variations on “looking for a writer” emailed to me each day. It takes only a minute or two to scan through the results and follow up — and I’ve found a few projects this way already.

    Ask Your Network

    If you’re a Twitter user, it’s worth posting a mention that you’re job hunting (unless your current boss follows you on the site, of course). Even if your network of followers isn’t the largest, if you can convince a few people in your circle to repeat your comment, you can have a surprisingly good chance of reaching someone who may be looking for your particular skill set. You can make mention of specific job titles you’re interested in: just as job hunters who use Twitter regularly have turned to it as a way to find job leads, so have recruiters. Some are even running searches for specific job titles they’re hiring for.

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    It’s worth noting that you’ll likely have better results if you’re an active Twitter user and you communicate with your followers beyond automatically tweeting your blog posts. And remember that if you respond to a job mentioned on Twitter, it’s pretty much a given that the recruiter will look you up on Twitter. Keeping up a professional appearance on Twitter can come in handy during a job hunt.

    You can have just as much luck looking for freelance gigs and projects for your own business through Twitter as finding full-time employment. You may need to adjust your methods, slightly — most Twitter users seem more likely to consistently tag a full-time job than a project or freelance gig. However, it can still be useful.

    Whether you’re looking for a new full-time job, or just a project to fill in the gaps, it’s worth having a resume (and possibly a portfolio) online. Being able to link to your resume in a tweet can move you to the top of the stack in a hurry — especially if a recruiter is wary of handing out his email address over Twitter.

    Twitter is a Tool

    Just like email or a blog, Twitter is a tool. You can use it to communicate just about anything, including a job listing. Of course, it’s not the only option out there and I wouldn’t recommend relying entirely and only on Twitter to land you your dream job. But it is an option for finding some job leads. I’ve actually found several projects there myself over the past few months and I’m keeping an eye out for more.

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

    Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

    Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

    This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

    The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard.

    The Keys to Learning Anything Easily

    Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

    Curiosity

    Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

    People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

    Patience

    Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

    When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

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    Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

    A Feeling for Connectedness

    This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

    A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

    The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

    How to Self-Taught Effectively

    With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

    1. Research

    Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

    Learning the Basics

    Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

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    Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

    What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

    Hitting the Books

    Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

    Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

    Long-Term Reference

    While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

    My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

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    2. Practice

    Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

    A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

    Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

    Check out this guide for useful techniques to help you practice efficiently: The Beginner’s Guide to Deliberate Practice

    3. Network

    One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

    These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

    Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

    Here find out How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life.

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    4. Schedule

    For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

    Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

    Final Thoughts

    In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

    If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

    At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

    More About Self-Learning

    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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