We searched for jobs through ads in newspaper, long ago – we still do. Then, those ads were posted online, in the form of job databases and we searched through them…applied to ones that we thought were appropriate.

Last week, one night, I got a call from a guy from a bank I have an account with. He asked me for a job! I asked him where he got my number from and he took his manager’s name – now, I’m sure he’s merely accessing the bank’s database, most probably without his manager’s knowledge, looking at senior profiles and trying his luck at random. Wrong, but I understand his position, given the desperation in his voice. I do not appreciate his strategy, but I’m not going to expose him either by giving his name/ bank’s name since he doesn’t deserve such reprimanding. More so, from me.

And, here’s job search 3.0, using Twitter.

ankitaAs I track twitter for keywords related to Edelman and PR, I came across this tweet from a girl, Ankita Satija. It said,
@Edelman_India Hi, hope this finds you well. I’m a 1st div BCom (H) DU grad; currently looking for placements in PR, can you plz help? Thnks

Hmmm, interesting, I thought. But wanted to know more about Ms. Satija.

First stop – her Twitter profile: http://twitter.com/ankita_10

Joined: March 8th
Number of tweets on Day 1: 20
Context: Jobs, by calling out specific people!

Now, it is easy to denounce this seemingly spammy practice. But, let us consider two of my observations here before we jump to conclusions.

  • In the good ‘ol days, we had a stock email draft that we customized and sent to specific people during a desperate job seeking spree. The customization was to ensure that each recepient is treated with some relevance – but the content was largely similar. Ankita’ approach is similar, except for the fact that email is one-to-one communication (till 2 recepients cross-check the content and find it to be similar), while Twitter is a one-to-many communication tool and the archive is available for the world to see.
  • Ankita has chosen people and has taken the effort to customize the tweets. For instance, to @Gauravonomics, she is asking for an internship opportunity, possibly after noting that he had indeed shared such opportunities at 2020Social recently.To corporates like @MicrosoftIndia, @MindTreeCareers and @MindTreeCMO, she’s seeking ‘placements’ in general. To well-known people from the industry, like @ShankkarAiyar (India Today’s Managing Editor), @anandmahindra, @swatipiramal, @jessie_paul, she’s seeking generic ‘placements’.To Edelman India, the tweet was customized to add ‘placements in PR‘. Even the salutation is personalized, with complete awareness of the gender and seniority of the recipients.

Now, how would you categorize this job seeking tactic? Beyond calling it spam (the recepients did not intend to receive it, at the outset – but given the amount and kind of stuff posed to these recepients every day, why should this job-seeking tweet be considered any different?), isn’t it simply replicating a conventional process to adapt to a new communication medium?

While using email, you needed the email IDs of these people – not a very difficult process to get them, but not easy either.

On Twitter, they are available out there. When we get an email with such contents, it is easy to trash it and forget all about it. On Twitter, you see the tweet, but the rest of world could see it too…well, technically, if one were to see Ankita’s twitter profile.

Isn’t it a bit like complaining to a company for deficient service/ product – on email (one-to-one) Vs. on a social network (one-to-many)? In a publicly available complaint, the company responsible may be forced to comment/ act upon the complaint given the possibility of negative perception if they do not. But, in this job-seeking case, that is not necessarily a concern.

So, would such a tactic work at all? Only Ankita can answer, if she does manage to get a job through this effort. It is definitely an interesting idea and I’m not going to take sides on the right or wrong of it. She has targetted people and has taken at least a rudimentary effort in customizing those 140 characters.

But, is it a blanket tweet spam that may not work? What do you think?