Greg in the Pioneer Press

March 2, 2009 — 1 Comment

This weekend I was in Julio Ojeda-Zapata‘s Pioneer Press story on the power of Twitter in the job hunt.

When my firm was looking to hire a junior Web developer, we didn’t have much luck with online job engines and the traditional marketing channels. So I secured the “okay” from our human relations department to “tweet” the job opening.

Within 12 hours I had four people inquire, two send resumes and… we hired DOUG HAMLIN. Brilliant!

Since the Pioneer Press is notoriously horrible about archive their stories, I’m going to cut/paste the entire thing so you can still read this six weeks from now.

Here’s the full article:

In this troubled economy, how’s an English-to-Klingon translator supposed to land paying gigs? Why, on Twitter, of course.

Twitter, the popular microblogging service for swapping super-short text “tweets” on computers or cell phones, has recently morphed into a powerful online tool for job seekers.

It was through Twitter that Michael Roney Jr. of Indianapolis scored a juicy Klingon-translation contract.

The package courier, who moonlights as an expert in the guttural “Star Trek” language spoken by furrow-browed alien warriors, was doing Twitter keyword searches for the word “Klingon.” He learned of a software publisher that wanted one of its programs translated from English to tlhIngan Hol (“Klingon” in Klingon).

In short order, Roney had the job. Qapla’ (Klingon for “success”)!

Twitter is great for getting all manner of Earth-focused employment, as well. That’s partly because Twitter is easily searchable, as Roney discovered, and because it is so simple for one user to reach hundreds, thousands — even tens of thousands — of others with a tweet.

As a result, Twitter is emerging as an online-networking tool not unlike LinkedIn, the professional-networking site so crucial to job seekers. Because Twitter is a less-formal realm, many users say it is more appealing than the sometimes-stuffy LinkedIn.

The ailing economy, more than anything, has spurred use of Twitter for job searching, said Paul DeBettignies, a co-founder of the Nerd Search employment firm and creator of the MN Headhunter job-related site (www.mnheadhunter.com). This trend has exploded in just the past few months as the job market has gone south, he said.

With less and less of a stigma about being unemployed, people “don’t care if it’s out there” on Twitter for all to see, and possibly provide leads, DeBettignies said. “With a mortgage, student loans and car payments, you get past that.”

The key to successful Twitter use for job searching is having a solid “network” — a critical mass of “followers” who will read every tweet — experts note. Savvier users have hundreds or thousands of followers in place prior to needing them on job hunts, said David Erickson, e-strategy director at Minneapolis-based Tunheim Partners public relations.

Beyond “do you know anyone who is hiring” pleas, Twitter can help establish job-seekers as experts in their fields, said Jason Calacanis, the famous blogger and entrepreneur who now runs the Mahalo.com online-search company.

The key, Calacanis noted, is to post often and eloquently. Twitter tweets are “appetizers” in this regard, he believes, but main courses in the form of blog posts also are essential. “I’m not sure why so many people don’t do this,” he said.

Twitter is an equalizer since it’s easy for a lowly job seeker to approach a top executive on Twitter, Calacanis added.

This process can work in reverse, as well. Angela Berardino of Denver-based Turner PR recently announced a job opening only on Twitter. “My reasoning is that I need someone who understands social media — key job requirement — and don’t want someone reading the job on Monster.com and then trying to fake it,” she said.

Employment-related services that are fully or partly Twitter-based are springing up. These include Job Angels and JobShouts. An extensive listing of Twitter feeds for job seekers can be accessed at ow.ly/mnu.

But Twitter is only one of many tools job seekers must exploit, DeBettignies said. These include old-fashioned e-mail and physical networking along with Internet-based social networking. Using just one or two options is like “having steak and milk but forgetting orange juice and green beans,” he said.

Those who have nailed jobs via Twitter aren’t hard to find, however.

Doug Hamlin of Minneapolis has his Web-developer job at the public relations firm Weber Shandwick courtesy of a tweet by another agency worker, Greg Swan.

“It’s basic human networking,” Hamlin said. But “Twitter lets you put your personality out there. On LinkedIn, you look like a stuffed shirt.”

Rick Mahn, though, nailed his job as a Land O’Lakes social-media strategist via LinkedIn, which he sees as vital. His LinkedIn profile came to the attention of a company recruiter, who reached him via others on that networking site.

“No one social-networking tool will do it all,” said Mahn, a Hudson, Wis., resident who holds monthly gatherings of local social-media experts in his spare time. Twitter is not a replacement for LinkedIn, he said, but it is “an adjunct.”

Julio Ojeda-Zapata can be reached at jojeda@pioneerpress.com and 651-228-5467. Get more personal tech at twincities.com/techtestdrive and yourtechweblog.com. Follow twitter.com/jojeda.

Btw, I’m going to waste my referral bonus on 33 Snuggies.

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Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. I’m in CNN Money today… « Greg Swan - May 12, 2009

    […] in CNN Money today… As if a Pioneer Press feature on getting hired via Twitter wasn’t enough for us, Doug Hamlin and I are in CNN Money today telling the story of our star-crossed employment […]

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