editione1.0.1Updated January 28, 2020
In addition to posting and engaging with others to increase your exposure and meet interesting people, there are ways of being proactive on Twitter when it comes to finding specific opportunities for professional growth.
The idea that most job opportunities are not posted publicly is true, with 70–80% of jobs only available through the hidden job market. Luckily, Twitter is a good place to crack whisper networks, where hiring managers often tweet about upcoming or available roles. If you’re interested in working at a particular company, follow the people who work there on Twitter.
People often include the company they work for in their Twitter bio. Do individual Twitter searches using a company’s name (“Slack”) and handle (@SlackHQ) and navigate to “People” under search results.
If you enjoy someone’s blog, they’ll often have a link to their Twitter account in their site’s header, footer, or About/Contact page.
Simply Googling someone and where they work (“Kyle Russell Skydio” or “Kyle Russell Skydio Twitter”) will bring up their Twitter account in the first few search results.
Use LinkedIn to find people of interest at a company you’d like to work at. Type their name into Twitter search to see if they’re a user.
Once you find them, founders, hiring managers, and other employees will often post about the following:
Jobs that are available. These posts will notify you about jobs you might have missed (or that weren’t posted) on a company’s jobs page and will give you more insight into your potential manager or team member.
Jobs that haven’t yet been posted. Often hiring managers or team members will mention jobs that will be posted soon. Seeing this can give you a head start on preparing your application.
Call for contractors. These are requests to collaborate with individuals or teams in a temporary capacity (like a freelance illustrator, writer, developer, animator, et cetera). While these may start out on a per-project basis, often such contracts can lead to long-term opportunities. If you’re trying to raise your profile, short-term gigs can help you build your portfolio, network in your field, and gain recommendations.
Finding a job posting through Twitter also gives you the opportunity to read through a hiring manager’s Twitter timeline to gauge what it would be like to work for them and what they might appreciate in an application.
While it isn’t necessarily fair to judge a company based on one person’s tweets, managers and founders are well aware that their companies will be judged this way, and are often deliberate about cultivating or supporting their company’s brand through their tweets. For example, a company that values diversity and inclusion may be easier to spot when its founder is often posting about D&I best practices.
Following people can give you insight into the ideas these individuals and companies appreciate in order that you may improve your communication with them; their posts about work can provide specific insight into company culture and how you might fit or contribute. If the company is small enough that you can reasonably do so (if it’s a ten-person startup), following a large portion or even all the employees gives you a chance to form a judgment about the work environment.
Instead of waiting for happenstance, and expecting opportunities to pop up in your feed, you can also do the following:
Create opportunity lists. Add people you’re interested in working with to a private Twitter list so you never miss if they post about an opportunity.
Just ask. Message people you want to work with a little about your background (make sure to have proof of your work through a blog, portfolio, CV, or GitHub). Rather than asking them about opportunities at their company, ask if there are current challenges at their organization that you can solve with your skillset. In some cases, people are very willing to be forthcoming, tell you about upcoming roles, or refer you to existing ones. However, this isn’t always the case and often people are not comfortable referring people they don’t know, or their company may have a policy against this. This can be a good strategy with people you’ve interacted with several times or may be familiar with you through following your account.
Use Twitter search. Simply search for opportunities with people you want to work alongside with Twitter’s advanced search queries like “(job OR or OR opp OR or OR opportunity OR or OR role OR or OR work OR or OR contract) (from:roxanneemadi).” This can be surprisingly effective.
How to use Twitter’s advanced search
Using Twitter to showcase your work and win opportunities means you’re not in competition with other candidates through a traditional hiring process. On the contrary, you can get people competing for you.
Instead of applying to jobs, broadcast your skills in a creative way that compels people to share and state that you’re looking for a new role. This method isn’t ideal if you’re not comfortable with informing your current job that you’re on the job hunt. However, it can make a lot of sense if you’re a recent graduate or are in-between jobs.
Here are two great examples of this practice:
Francine Tamakloe built a website and marketing campaign to apply to the AMP Development Program at Spotify in 2017. Her tweet garnered over 2K RTs and 5,700 likes and landed her the role.
Alyssa X announced she was looking for a role on Twitter by posting about her skills and showcasing them in an eye-catching video trailer that further highlighted her capabilities, resulting in 389 RTs and over 2K likes. Responses were filled with potential places that were hiring and interested in potentially hiring her, including highly competitive companies like Adobe and Amazon.
Posting is powerful because it can draw eyes to your work that lead to opportunities you can create yourself. One such example is receiving praise from people in positions to hire you for roles or projects (Head of Product Development, Technical Lead, Founder, et cetera).
If something you post about garners positive feedback from someone in this category at somewhere you’d like to work, leverage the opportunity. Send them a DM, thank them, and note that you’re looking to switch jobs or take on a contract opportunity related to what they complimented you on. Tailor your pitch carefully to their company and be specific on how you can help them. While they may not be interested, they may keep you top of mind or refer you to someone else.
Valerie Phoenix (@DigitalBlkHippy) used #BlackTechTwitter and #BlackTechPipeline, both frequently used by Black technologists to share opportunities, when she was searching for a new role.
Deb Lee (@jdebbiel) used #visdev and #portfolioday, common “Design Twitter” hashtags, when searching for freelance work on Twitter.
Twitter is a place where people can be extremely generous with their time and money, often just to pay it forward—at some point, someone helped them. Here are a few examples of opportunities offered on Twitter:
Stephanie Hurlburt office hours: Frequently asked for advice about the tech industry, Stephanie decided to lend more personal help through video call office hours.
Clair Byrd job search/resume review help: As a hiring manager with years of experience, Clair offered “women or underrepresented gender folks” help getting jobs in tech through mock interviews, resume reviews, and job search coaching.
Joel Gascoigne coffee with early stage founders: While visiting NYC, Joel offered to meet with early stage founders to provide advice.
Len Markidan marketing application reviews: Having reviewed thousands of marketing job applications, Len offered to help review applications and provide free feedback.
If someone you trust and admire offers an opportunity to learn more from them, take it! This kind of engagement is one of the happiest things Twitter can facilitate.
caution While you don’t want to be overly skeptical of what people offer on Twitter, don’t jump right in when something flashy comes alongL not everyone’s “opportunity” is legit as those just listed. It’s best practice to be cognizant of offers that seem too good to be true; Twitter has become inundated with scams like fake job offers and free bitcoin giveaways. Not everyone has others’ best interests at heart, and it’s crucial to use common sense and critical thinking to separate gifters from grifters.
When people think about using Twitter for business, it’s often promotion, digital ads, and building a following that come to mind. Indeed, Twitter can play a key role in marketing your business. But Twitter can also be instrumental in actively building your business, not just promoting it. We covered building in public, sharing your work authentically, and testing new business ideas in Choosing What to Tweet. In this section we’ll cover ways to get feedback on your business or work, and find collaborators, potential employees, and strategic partners.
Before people quit their day jobs and cash in their 401K to start a business, it all begins with an idea. Often that idea keeps you up at night, looping through your brain and eliciting the same question on repeat: “What if?”