This Man Got A Six-Figure Job Through Twitter (No Resume Required)

Bilal JafferyA few months ago, Vala Afshar, an exec at Enterasys, was looking to hire a director of social and digital marketing -- a position that came with a six-figure salary. Afshar made news when he said he wasn't accepting resumes and would only consider candidates who contacted him via Twitter.

There were 500 applicants and a short list of 15. The winner: Bilal Jaffery, who wowed Afshar from a first contact and has now been with the company a month. Neither would say that the traditional, paper resume is dead, although Afshar only gives it a handful of years, expecting something that will automatically update with links back to social media.

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However, they agree that Twitter is becoming critical in the dance between hiring managers and candidates. "Prior to the [Twitter experiment] I was on a roster to interview senior level folk coming to the company," Afshar says. "I would immediately put the paper resume down and get on the Web." Over time, he noticed that most of his research into people was online. "The web is your [resume] and social networks are your references," he adds.

Twitter is also a good way to check out a potential employer -- and for openings. "I was following Vala for a long time," Jaffery says. Knowing more about the person who might make a hiring decision is something impossible with a resume.

More: Job Hunters: It's Time To Up Your Social Media Game

But you won't get a job off Twitter by getting an account and sending "Hire me" messages. Here are 7 tips that they offer to people who want to make Twitter count in their own job searches.
  1. Have a complete profile: A hiring manager wants to learn something about you. That means having a professional sounding brief profile on Twitter and a picture of yourself. "I'm never going to hire an egghead avatar," Afshar says of the default image when someone doesn't upload a picture.
  2. Understand how the medium works: Every social network has different technical limitations and its own feel. On Twitter, someone might want to see the number of followers you have, how often you participate in conversations, whether others pass your message along, and how often you appear on the lists kept by other users, to mention a few items. Learn what all these mean. "You want to practice the medium before you use it," Jaffery says.
  3. Bring in things you do that are relevant: Many people shoot the breeze on Twitter, and that's fine, to a degree, But if you want to get hired, address your area of expertise. Blog about the topic and send out links to particularly good posts.
  4. Always be professional: "You can get a sense of someone's character and how prickly they are," Afshar says. Watch your language and don't spent most of your time complaining, whether about companies you've done business with or former employers. It makes you look unpleasant.
  5. Follow the accounts of the company and the hiring managers: Do as Jaffery did and research people and companies that you could end up working for. You want the right job at the right firm, not any job at some business that you might live to regret.
  6. Build an authentic presence: Some people use shortcuts to get followers on Twitter and look as though they are more connected and respected than may be the case. Some people follow thousands, looking for people who will follow in return. But that doesn't mean anyone actually finds you interesting. There are even people who will pay to get Twitter followers, but experienced hands like Afshar can usually tell when someone isn't on the level.
  7. Remember to tell a story: Don't try to sell yourself on Twitter. Be yourself. As Jaffery puts it, tell the story of who you are, what you do, what is important to you, and what you're working on.
You'll still need to build your skills and career over time. Twitter isn't a shortcut around paying your dues. But, increasingly, it will give you a chance to be noticed ahead of hundreds of competitors for a position.

UPDATE: 1:48 p.m., June 25 -- Want to know more about how Bilal Jaffery got his position? Read Jaffery's post here.

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Erik Sherman

Erik Sherman

Contributor

Erik Sherman has written for the Wall Street Journal, Inc, Newsweek, the New York Times Magazine, and other publications. He's a regular contributor to CBS MoneyWatch and Inc.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman.

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Jay Oza

Bilal,

Thanks for responding to my question.

Can you send me (joza@5toolgroup.com) the link of the follow-up post? I am blogging about this and would like to use your answer and the process used in my post.

July 01 2013 at 7:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ChrissieK

It is also important for potential employees to check out companies via social media. I did a search on the assistant in HR for one local company and saw that her main hobby was getting drunk when not at work (using untappd dot com). She had some great drunk shots on twitter and on her facebook page. This would explain why she couldn't figure out how to contact me via email, set up a simple phone interview and then the in person interview.

June 26 2013 at 12:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jay Oza

It would help if Bilal could provide some details on the entire process, at a high level, from the first tweet to the job offer.
Was there a phone conversation, Google+ Hangout call, or a face-to-face interview, etc.?
Or was the hiring strictly made on Bilal's social media footprints?
It seems hiring is not going to be a transaction, but more of a relationship building process since SM facilitates that.

Thanks.

June 25 2013 at 12:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jay Oza's comment
Bilal Jaffery

Jay,

Absolutely -- there was a process that was followed. Much of those details will come from the blog post tomorrow.

Vala Afshar, CMO @Enterasys, had established a Social CV recruitment process with an internal committee which represented senior leadership from Support, Product, IT, Engineering, Marketing ,Finance and HR. It incorporated learnings from social into the HR recruitment process which ultimately made the process much more productive and efficient for both sides.

June 25 2013 at 2:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bilal Jaffery

Thank you for taking the time to describe our journey. I am more than welcome to answer any candidate's questions or comments around this process from candidate's perspective

June 25 2013 at 10:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Victoria

This is a great how-to guide. I will say, again, that recruiters in Silicon Valley are not using Twitter to screen candidates. In top enterprise or startup organizations most recruiters are barely aware of the company's corporate Twitter presence. I know sales and marketing execs who are scared to death of Twitter. I do hope there will be more highly visible "hires" made using Twitter and that the resume will soon become an extinct tool.

June 25 2013 at 9:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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