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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 July 17, 2019

    The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

    The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

    What happens in our heads when we set goals?

    Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

    Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

    According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

    Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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    Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

    Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

    The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

    Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

    So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

    Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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    One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

    Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

    Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

    The Neurology of Ownership

    Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

    In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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    But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

    This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

    Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

    The Upshot for Goal-Setters

    So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

    On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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    It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

    On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

    But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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    Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

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