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

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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.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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