Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess


Tweeting For A New Job: A Case Study
May 15, 2009, 8:00 am
Filed under: Career Advice, Networking/Social Media, Recruiting, Twitter

When most people notify their Twitter networks that they’ve been laid off or are looking for work, they’re not very specific:

job tweeter1job tweeter2

This obviously doesn’t help much in the job search. You must be specific about what you’re looking for if others are going to be able to help you. In the same breath, it’s good to have a strategy when you are using a social media communication tool to assist in your job search. The trouble is that most people just simply don’t know where to start. This post should offer some hope!

My friend Colin is an IT professional. He’s not really big on social media, because he works with technology all day long and wants to take a break from it when he is through with work. He was laid off from his job several months ago and has been applying for positions and attending local networking events, trying to meet as many people in the IT field and in the recruiting industry as he possibly can. He surprised me about a month ago when he told me he’d signed up for a Twitter account.

After I caught my breath and mentioned something about hell and frozen, I began thinking about how he could use this to assist in his job search, and at the same time how I could prove to him that he hadn’t ‘crossed over to the dark side’ by registering. I started formulating a strategy in my head, and when I shared it with him, he said ‘Let’s give it a shot!’

The following is a sort of case study of what we did to get Colin prepared for using his Twitter account appropriately, and exclusively, for a job search.

  1. Choosing a Username: as Colin was a brand new user, he was a blank slate. We tried to come up with a username that would help him to achieve the objective he had for signing up in the first place, which was to help him find work. We chose Colin4Hire. Colin admitted that he thought it was a little cheesy, but there is little doubt as to what his purpose in being on Twitter is. Besides, you’re allowed to change your username without losing your followers, so he will be able to change this if he chooses to continue twittering once he’s found work.
  2. Uploading an online resume: we decided to use the Website line on Colin’s Twitter profile to display a link to an online resume. A couple of great options for doing this include VisualCV and Emurse. We chose to go with Emurse because of the ease of tracking traffic to the resume.
  3. Tracking: I told Colin we should track as much traffic as possible, since he was going to Twitter with the sole purpose of trying to find work. Here are the things we chose to track:
    1. Resume: we selected Emurse as the resume-hosting site in order to track resume views and downloads.
    2. URL: We chose to track the actual resume link using cli.gs. This allowed us to monitor at an extra level.
    3. Email: Colin signed up for a new Google email address that was used exclusively for this study. That way we could also observe who was reading his Twitter profile and following the contact instructions we outlined in his tweets.
  4. Planning the message: As you saw above, many people using Twitter to search for work don’t really plan out how they’re going to share that message with others. We chose to make six simple tweets with basic information about Colin’s work skills and most recent employment, ending with his email and the URL to his resume (offering two ways for Colin to be reached). We also decided to control this study by not having Colin tweet out any other messages other than the ones we pre-planned. We chose to use keywords describing his abilities to make his profile more searchable, and we also used two popular job-seeker phrases (“new job” and “new opportunities”) which many recruiters have set up as search agents to find potential candidates.
  5. Planning for responses: I would normally never advise someone to auto-DM new followers, but as Colin had a very specific objective for his use of Twitter, I suggested that he set up an auto-DM using Twitterfeed to respond to anyone who decided to follow him. The reason for this is because Colin did not plan to monitor or use Twitter for anything other than trying to help him find a new job, and he wanted to make sure any followers knew this. His DM said something to the effect of “Tnx for the connection! I am using Twitter to find work, so plz check out my resume: [link]”
  6. Planning the promotion: At the time of this study, I personally had about 2,900 followers, many of whom are recruiters. I decided to leverage my network to get the message out for Colin. I requested several local recruiters and recruiters across the country to help re-tweet my message:

My friend @colin4hire is new 2 Twitter. He’s using Twitter just 2 find a new job – check out his profile & plz RT this note 2 help him out!

Once we’d registered for all of the appropriate services and got Colin’s actual profile taken care of, I had Colin tweet his messages:

Colin twitter

Then we settled upon a good time for me to begin promoting. We chose to tweet on a Tuesday at approximately 1pm EDT. The reason for this time selection is that many folks working on the East Coast would be coming back from lunch, while others across other US time zones would be at least at work and possibly monitoring their Twitter accounts. Starting too early in Eastern time would have prevented some of the West Coast folks from seeing the message. Once I sent out my initial promo tweet, I DM’ed approximately 20 of my colleagues and asked them if they would kindly re-tweet my message.

I set up a search on my own TweetDeck to monitor the re-tweets of my message, and others who were reaching out to Colin. My original message introducing Colin to Twitter was re-tweeted 44 times, and within the first 24 hours, Colin had about 23 followers – all earned through word-of-mouth and not through any obligatory follow-back services.

Below are the stats and some screen shots with which Colin provided me – the information is current as of the publishing of this post:

  • 30 Twitter Followers
  • 266 Resume Views
  • 2 E-mails on G-Mail
  • 1 Meeting with Erin Schreyer on May 1st 2009
  • 1 Interview with Ray Attiyah on May 4th 2009
  • 2 Potential Job Leads with one of Ray’s companies

Cli.gs stats:

cligs stats

Emurse stats:

emurse stats

ANALYSIS:

  • Colin was a great subject for this – I have been warming him up to the business use of social media for the past few months and trying to convince him that it’s not just for play. Having seen such immediate results of this little study, he admitted to me that he was pleasantly surprised at what he saw happening and might be changing his tune on what he thinks of social media. (score!!!)
  • We tried to set up a SiteMeter account to monitor the actual views of Colin’s Twitter account but were unsuccessful in being able to do so before we ran this experiment. This data would have provided some insight as to a profile view:resume view ratio.
  • The ratio of resume views:downloads is approximately 44:1. At first glance this doesn’t seem significant but if you consider the fact that he has two job opportunities in the works as a result of 24 hours of real activity, that’s not too shabby.
  • The percentage of humans vs. the percentage of bots to hit the cli.gs link to Colin’s resume is remarkable.
  • There were no hate-filled messages regarding Colin’s auto-DM to new followers. This might suggest that people are OK with it when you’re honest about your intentions of being on Twitter. It’s important to note here that Colin did NOT auto-follow anyone.
  • The promotional power of the re-tweets was quite evident. Over 2x the number of people I originally DM’ed and requested to re-tweet my message actually helped to promote this message.

CONCLUSIONS:

This type of a case study won’t work in every situation. You must individually evaluate your use of Twitter and if this is the right place for you to be looking for work. But one of the big take-aways here I think is planning. If you have a specific objective you’re trying to achieve in using a social media communication tool such as Twitter, it pays to put some strategic thought into the message you want to send. Otherwise, you really are just throwing stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks. Think about what kind of an outcome you want, and then backtrack from there to craft your message. Be specific in your message and don’t leave any guess-work for your audience. Especially when you are looking for a job, a simple “I’m looking for a job” doesn’t give anyone any idea of what you’re looking for – what job functions are you interested in, where are you located, would you be willing to move, how many years’ experience do you have, etc.

I’ll end with three things:

  1. Please still feel free to reach out to Colin if you’re interested in his skillset. His resume can be found here, and you can also take a look at his Twitter profile.
  2. Searching for a job using social media isn’t a haphazard task. It’s obvious that planning ahead pays off in the end. Take some time to consider what you want to achieve before you dive in head-first, and track your results.
  3. Your network is your ally. It’s always good to have others who will support your endeavors and help you accomplish something. Never take your network for granted. Special thanks to everyone who assisted in this experiment!

I hope this has provided some of you with some pointers on how to begin a job search using Twitter. For your convenience, I’ve made a PDF document of the case study available for you to download and save for future reference. If this was helpful for you, please let me know by leaving a comment below!

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15 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Hey Friend,

Thank you for documenting and sharing this.

Comment by MN Headhunter | Paul DeBettignies

If I ever need a job, can I contact you? 😉

Comment by Mark McFadden

This was awesome – thank you for sharing.It was eye opening and educational for me. Let us know when Colin gets his job!

Comment by Lisa Rosendahl

a truly good article.. great research, great testing methodology.. best article i have read in a few.. =)

Comment by @steveplunkett

Thanks for sharing this great information. I have a few friends looking for jobs, and I’m going to pass it on to them.

Comment by cammicam

[…] This post was Twitted by MarySheely – Real-url.org […]

Pingback by Twitted by MarySheely

What a great article and the message, research, and methodology are first class. Well done Amybeth. I want to share this with my readers and will tweet and stumble you today.

Comment by Bill Vick

You’ve done it again! Incredibly thoughtful and helpful post! I will be sharing this all over the interwebs!

Comment by Peopleshark

Very nicely done. I know that twitter is powerful, but you showed how great a tool it really is. Now if only my clients would get it 🙂

Comment by Michael Blaes

Amybeth,

I think your strategy was amazing!!!

However, while I think the twitter re-tweeting and direct messaging strategy was incredible, I don’t think it was THE most important aspect of the campaign.

Here is what I mean:
First off, most job seekers are not going to have access to 2,900 followers, most of whom are in the recruiting industry. So, unfortunately, in most cases, this twitter strategy isn’t going to work.

This being said, I don’t think it was JUST the 2,900 tweets and 20 DMs that made the difference.

More importantly, was the fact that the DMs and tweets came from Amybeth!

Plan and simple… Even if someone did have access to 2,900 recruiter tweets, I don’t think they would have had the results that Amybeth did.

Amybeth has a very trusted and authoritative brand. The 2,900 followers like and trust Amybeth. As a result, when Amybeth asked them to review the resume, 9% of them did, resulting in 260 views in 24 hours. (chances are 80% of those views were from highly targeted recruiters as well!)

This is the magic!

This is a referral strategy implemented via Twitter.

Job seekers don’t need 2,900 tweets to recruiters. They need a handful of Trusted, Authority referrals to take action on their behalf.

Twitter just acted as the quickest way for Amybeth to communicate with here network.

Even better was the fact that outside of the couple of minutes to actually do the tweet and DMs, it didn’t take much for Amybeth to help a friend. In the end, the results were incredible.

Amybeth, give yourself more credit!
You were the star here!

We all know someone who could use a little help, like what Amybeth did… I hope anyone reading this will “Play this Forward”, for anyone they know who is out of work!

(Amybeth, Do you know if Erin or Roy found Colin’s resume through a DM, direct Retweet from you, or a Retweet from one of the people you tweeted (2nd degree RT)? I think this would be pretty interesting to know.)

Comment by Jonathan Duarte

Jonathan, thank you for the compliment. Actually, Erin discovered Colin’s Twitter through a RT from another local recruiter and a highly respected one, and from what I understand, she reached out to Colin based on having a conversation with that recruiter about Colin, because the recruiter had also met him in person. So there again is the trusted connection working.

I think this plays out on both sides – my network needed to trust me in order to participate in this little study and RT my request, but Colin also needed to have faith in me that this would be a helpful experiment. In both instances I had to earn the trust of the people involved which takes time.

So, you are correct that this strategy may not work for everyone. Which is why it’s a strategy and not just flinging poo against the wall to see if it would stick.

Job seekers generally are not connected with that many recruiters, and the only time they really engage us is when they themselves need us. I always offer this piece of advice: be nice to recruiters, because the job you don’t want today might be the job you need tomorrow. Aside from the fact that I work in a recruitment capacity, I keep my friends in mind when I talk to people, and if they work at a company or in a position in which a friend of mine who has been laid off is looking, I will inquire as to the hiring status of the company and ask if I may do an introduction.

Some additional things job seekers can do is conduct some research on the companies (and people) to which they are applying, and be specific about what they want. For example: I now work with a company that has over 300,000 employees. Chances are at any given time we ARE hiring somewhere, so simply asking me if we’re hiring is a moot point. A better question to ask of a recruiter is a specific one – are you currently hiring for salespeople in ‘X’ location? Being specific in your needs/wants will help others to help you.

Thank you again for all of your great observations!

Comment by Amybeth

[…] I found this interesting post by looking at my former boss’s tweets, oddly enough, perhaps she was hoping I’d stumble […]

Pingback by Going back to using Social Media for Job Seekers « Bouncing Back from a Bad Economy

Specificity is important, especially if your set of skills is narrow, as most recruiters seem to want.

Tweeting for a job… hmm, interesting. I’ll give it a try. Got nothing to lose. Thanks for the informative post.

Comment by Survive Unemployment

Hi there- great post; just curious if there are any concerns about posting all that personal contact info for the ‘world’ to see? not sure if i’d want to be googled and have my address, phone number and work history available. wondering what your thoughts are.

Comment by Amanda

Amanda, great question! Colin and I discussed this before we launched the experiment. I had looked at his Emurse resume and noticed all that contact information and asked him if he was comfortable having it up there, and suggested perhaps hiding it. He assured me that he was fine having it up there.

Great observation; each individual must choose what works for their own comfort level.

Comment by Amybeth




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