In the past year, 6 million people joined the ranks of the unemployed. Meanwhile, Twitter's monthly traffic more than doubled. One out-of-work 23-year-old saw the door of opportunity open and launched twittershouldhireme.com, an attempt to catch Twitter's eye and land a job there. Twittershouldhireme.com links to Jamie Varon's personal blog, resume and references. And she streams her tweets, of course.
"I want to be hired for who I am," Varon says. "So I have to be more open about that." That meant using her social media finesse to tweet her way into a job at Twitter.
Twitter didn't hire Varon, but the experience inspired her to start her own Web design and consulting company. Other job-seekers might not launch such public campaigns, but they're wondering if social media and job hunting with services like Twitter will work.
Of course, for every 140 characters that herald a dream desk, there are at least 140 characters of vicious job bashing. Searching for tweets that mention a company's name can offer a glimpse of what it would be like to work there (or who your coworkers would be). ConnectTweet (still in alpha) allows employees to add a #tag to company-relevant tweets then posts them to a firm's Twitter account.
When it comes to looking for work through Twitter, there are plenty of Twitter users, like @newmediahire, devoted to job postings. Twellow, the Twitter Yellow Pages, categorizes Twitter users and makes them searchable by location, industry, position or topic. In May, a London-based search engine tech company started TwitterJobSearch.com, an open-source search engine for jobs posted on Twitter (SimplyHired and Indeed grab the same postings.) And the owner of an IT staffing firm in North Carolina launched TweetMyJOBS.com, a Twitter add-on that allows users to get tweets when jobs become available.
"This is instant notification, unlike a lot of job boards that give daily notification," says Gary Zukowski, who started TweetMyJOBS.com in March. "It's very competitive to find jobs right now, so it gives people a leg up to be the first to know when something opens up."
Zukowski says there are about 200 companies posting positions on the site and there are currently 140,000 jobs being tweeted. Users can search jobs by signing up for various job channels (in over 200 cities in 12 countries). A New York man who landed a position through TweetMyJOBS.com called it "instant Karma." The same postings will come up in a SimplyHired search, but the prospect of instant notification has attracted over 6,000 hopefuls to TweetMyJOBS.com. When a job becomes available, a person will get a text message that looks something like this:
Hiring a Restructuring - Senior Manager-Ernst & Young LLP-Chicago,IL http://tinyurl.com/p2qet8
TweetMyJOBS.com offers everything from IT positions to health care and automotive jobs, but Zukowski says he sees potential in using the site to recruit temps or day laborers. Shafiq Lokhandwala, CEO of an HR technology firm called NuView Systems, says the usefulness of Twitter and other social media sites for recruiting is still debatable.
"[Social media sites] may be very good for lower level jobs because your vetting process is not deep," Lokhandwala says. "For professional hiring, that sourcing cannot be depended on." And Lokhandwala sees potential for lawsuits if employers make hiring decisions based on inaccurate Internet information about a candidate (that tweet about smoking crack was a joke!). Getting hired using Twitter might be as likely as getting fired using Twitter.