Can the Job Hunt be…Fun?

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This curly-tached man certainly thinks so

I left my job last month.

I was surrounded by talented, wonderful people and don’t regret my time there (so much so that I’m now freelancing with them), but ultimately, it just wasn’t the right role for me.

So here I am, on the job hunt. And between a handful of freelance projects to keep me ticking along, I’m writing applications, pursuing and creating opportunities and networking my ass off. It’s hard.

We’ve all been a job hunter at some point in our lives. And whilst every job hunt is unique, the one recurring theme is that everyone hates it.

The recurring theme of any job hunt is that everyone hates it.

But does it always have to be so tedious?

Of course, there are always serious factors that come with job hunting and possible unemployment, be it having dependants, making rent, paying bills – serious responsibilities to rightly prioritise.

But when you’re in a situation where these aren’t desperate concerns (immediately anyway) – why is it that the job hunt is still as depressing as ever?

It’s a challenge to get motivated, stay positive and feel like you’ve been productive, even when you’ve spent all day and evening actively working. And I know I’m not alone in these thoughts. Whilst I’m not naive enough to believe a mere change in mindset will make all these issues disappear, I’ve gone full Pollyanna and thought about the 3 reasons I – and any others in a similar position – should make the most of this situation.

1. You are not restricted by the typical 9-5

Whether it’s an interview, a phone call, a run in the park or lunch with a friend; I don’t have to plan it around my work day. So tomorrow I’ve planned a museum crawl around London, and I’ll job hunt in the evening. Because I CAN!

2. You can use the breathing room to think

What do you really want from a new job? What do you really not want? What do you want to do with the rest of your life? You know, small stuff like that. If you’re always operating at a million miles an hour there’s no time to think. Until now.

3. You can put time towards fun things

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. This is one of the hardest things as a job hunter – giving yourself time off. But it’s necessary. Fresh air, friends and food make a day decidedly better, and they’ll without doubt improve any applications.


I won’t lie and say that the job hunt is a walk in the park. Except possibly tomorrow when I do plan to walk in the park. But it doesn’t have to be a complete misery. Yes you’ll feel vulnerable, frustrated and sometimes just plain low. But it’s also so rare to have the flexibility, time and mental space that come with this situation.

Will it ever be fun? Probably not. But I intend on making it as fun as it can damn well be.

10 Masterful Ways to Get a Graduate Job with Twitter

Hashtag blog image

So you probably have Twitter. Maybe you even tweet occasionally, have a reasonable bio and know your way around a hashtag. But I’m willing to bet that there’s more you could be doing to secure the graduate job you want.

Social media is often taken for granted, reserved as a space for procrastination and the odd cat picture (guilty). We all know that Facebook is the personal platform and LinkedIn the professional one. Yet many forget Twitter as the beautiful amalgam in between that’s been maturing, growing and developing for a massive 10 years now – just in time to help you get your dream graduate job.

But it’s not enough just to have Twitter, you need to learn how to use it if you’re serious about using social media to get on the career ladder, whatever industry you’re interested in. In this blog, I’ll outline the 10 ways you can go from a Twitter rookie to a Tweet master supreme, and put yourself in the best possible position to find and secure your perfect graduate job.

1. Follow with purpose

I’m not going to patronise you with this point. Following is an important part of Twitter. But it’s not as simple as follow and hope. First things first, you need to follow graduate job sites. But beyond this, follow the companies you would like to hire you, and (if they have them) their specific recruitment pages. Follow their employees, follow people that share your interests and passions, follow people who have the job you want. Don’t blindly follow, follow cleverly. And whilst we’re on the subjecting of following, it’s not just important to follow, but also to be followed. Whilst it shouldn’t be your primary concern, you want to work towards having at least a few hundred followers (ideally more) to give your account more credibility and authority. If a potential employer checks your Twitter out and sees 8 followers, having the account might be doing more harm than good.

2. Get organised with lists

When you’ve followed the step above, you’re likely to have an intimidating number of accounts that you follow. The best way to handle this? Lists. Create lists as a way to segment your followed accounts. You could have a list on your dream companies to work for, or accounts that post the most relevant jobs for you, as examples. Remember though that the people/companies you add to public lists will get a notification that you have done so, so don’t add anyone to a list called ‘Companies I’ll Consider If Everything Goes Wrong’ or anything similarly inappropriate.

3. Plan and schedule

Whilst you should certainly put more time into your Twitter strategy, that doesn’t mean you have to sit on the social platform all day. You still need time to actually apply for the jobs themselves! So use a tool like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck to schedule some tweets throughout your week. You can also use tools like this to monitor trends and send you updates if you configure your settings to do so. Do your homework and you’ll find some cool and largely free Twitter tools that will help you nail planning, monitoring and scheduling. Though it’s still valuable to spend some time on Twitter in ‘real-time’ so that you can stay up-to-date with current events and hashtags.

4. Raise your hashtag game

Love them or hate them, hashtags are an integral part of the Twittersphere, and act as keyword phrases for the platform. You can raise your game by adding the best possible hashtags to your tweets. They need to first and foremost be indicative of the tweet content, but there’s also room for creativity and even humour (if appropriate). Let’s say you were tweeting about an informative article you had just read about drones, and naturally you want to add the hashtag #drones. You could then head to hashtagify.me, type in ‘#drone’ and see which other related hashtags you could also add that are popular on Twitter at that moment. Don’t go too crazy with hashtags in your tweets though, if you’re using more than five in one tweet you’re probably going overboard. If in doubt, I’d settle for between one and three. You can also use hashtags to search for graduate jobs. Search terms could be as vague as ‘#graduate #job’ or as specific as ‘#graduate #marketing #job’. Test what works for you and write a list of hashtags that you can search each day.

5. Get tactical with your bio

Twitter bios are, as you would expect, the place to tell people about you. But more often than not they are dull or underused as a space to market yourself. Cringe-inducing ‘inspirational’ quotes or mindless character traits are regularly highlighted over more compelling attributes. Use this area to show employers your ambitions (e.g. ‘Interested in all things #Tech’ or ‘Looking for a graduate role in Finance’), but also to show some personality (e.g. ‘Roller skate champion’ or ‘Chinese food junkie’). There’s no set way to get a bio right, but if you can refer to your career ambitions whilst showing you’re a legitimate human then you’re on the right track.

6. Connect your social channels

Let’s say you have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. First of all, kudos on your social media smorgasbord, but secondly, are you connecting them all effectively? We haven’t the time here to go into each individual social platform because all of the five above are different. This means they should be used differently and treated differently. But more often than not, people take a post and spread the exact same thing across all platforms verbatim. This is lazy and looks like spam, and who wants those attributes associated with their ‘personal brand’? Even if you’re sharing the same basic content, be sure to package it uniquely for each platform. For example, you might take a more jovial, colloquial tone on Twitter where on LinkedIn you would want to be more staid. By all means, link between your various channels, but see them as siblings with common attributes, not clones of each other.

7. Join relevant twitter chats

When you’re not tweeting about exciting topics or keeping up with your favourite twitter accounts, you can join in with twitter chats, to learn and to discuss industry issues. For example, I work as a writer, so I regularly get involved with #ContentWritingChat, where fellow writers and I talk about content, marketing and copywriting, amongst a host of other intriguing things. Whatever you’re interested in, hobby or career, find relevant twitter chats and join the conversation. It shows you’re genuinely engaged and you never know, you might even learn something.

8. Have a life

This may be harder for some than others, but having personality in your twitter strategy is a must. Employers want humans, not mindless drones, so why should you act any differently online? Obviously keep your tweets and activity clean and stay safe, but a splash of life might just set you apart from other prospective applicants for a job. Maybe don’t tweet that you’ve been drunk every night this week and not showered once, but tweet about what’s happening in your world and be funny or at least lively. Personally, I enjoy playing hashtag games on Twitter alongside the more serious career-related tweets I post online, as I enjoy words and puns – but each to their own. Also, do not be afraid to be upfront about what you want. It’s ok to be a graduate job hunter and to make that information known. Ask and you may just well receive.

9. Make your tweets look great

Don’t go completely crazy with it, but the odd picture or even gif (gasp) in your tweets can be a compelling way to make your posts more interesting. According to kissmetrics.com, content with relevant images gets 94% more views than content without relevant images. And visual content is more than 40x more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content, according to Buffer. The key to effective tweeting really lies in variety, so experiment with the different formats, styles and tones and see what works for you.

10. Get data and analytics savvy

Panic not, you don’t need to be a technical wizard to learn a bit more about what’s going on with your Twitter efforts behind the scenes. If you go to the Analytics section of your Twitter account, you can get a look at your progress. There’s detail on who your audience is, what their interests are and how your audience base has grown per day. Plus you can see which of your tweets have done well and which have not quite received the love you thought they deserved. For the uninitiated, the number of impressions refers to an estimate of the total possible times someone could have viewed your tweet. Engagements refer to activity with your tweet, like for example, an engagement such as a like, a retweet or a profile click. There’s a lot more you can do with your Twitter analytics if you’re willing to go down the figurative rabbit hole, but in the context of graduate job hunting, it’s just a valuable tool to track your progress and analyse what works and what doesn’t when it comes to your strategy.

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BONUS POINT

You’ve made it this far, so either I’m a compelling writer, you’re procrastinating massively or you’re simply passionate about using Twitter to find your perfect graduate job (potentially a mix of all three?) But if you decide to take anything from this blog, don’t take your Twitter account for granted. It might be known for stupid hashtags, cat pictures and celebrity spats, but it has the potential to land you your dream graduate job. Good luck and get tweeting!

Follow me on Twitter for more insight and procrastination fodder.

If David Attenborough Narrated the Graduate Job Hunt…

*to be read in hushed voice-over*

And here, we observe the recently hired graduatus, or in the common tongue, ‘graduate’, inspecting their new surroundings. Inquisitive, rosy-cheeked and fresh-faced, this young individual practically oozes relief. Observe his surroundings; fresh pastures, lush vegetation and vibrant flora abound. The graduate is settled, filled with purpose and excitement for days to come. But it was not always like this for our intrepid friend. Oh no. To understand this oft-misunderstood species, we must first travel back to where it all began…

via lawmarketing.com
via lawmarketing.com

The graduate as we know it came into being after the completion of the universitas magistrorum et scholarium life stage, or ‘university’. A difficult transition for any species to endure, filled with emotional and physical strife, he completes this cycle after adapting to a strict learning curve and mastering significant life challenges. The graduate revels in this achievement, and engages in riotous (and occasionally pagan) social festivities to celebrate.

via fextralife.com
via fextralife.com

Upon completion of said stage, the graduate is presented with a unique head piece as part of a traditional societal ritual, signifying dominance and mental prowess. However, it must be noted that some believe this honour diluted as the amount of head pieces adorning the graduate population increases.

via www.theguardian.com
via http://www.theguardian.com

Our friend spends a few months in euphoric elation with his fellow graduates, manifested in states varying from hibernation and exploration to inebriation. But, like all that is good on our beautiful earth, everything must come to an end. The graduate must return to the nest, where the promise of sustenance and shelter beckons. Comfort arrives in swathes, swaddling the graduate in warmth and tranquillity.

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via http://www.sodahead.com

Though like the setting sun, elation can sour as quickly as it rises. Our friend’s serenity is pierced by rising tensions in the homeland. Pressures mount, claustrophobia takes wing, and boredom ensues.

via www.nyfa.edu
via http://www.nyfa.edu

Desperate to escape this retrogression, and following substantial familial threat, he puts time and energy into finding purpose. Seconds, minutes, hours, days and months pass. The hot sun beats down on the graduate’s neck as he trawls the endless wilderness. Hunting for occupation becomes occupation. Monotony is the only constant, perforated by fleeting bursts of hope. Hard labour becomes the norm, sanitation levels wane and time becomes one infinite day, without respite.

via werenothavingababy.com
via werenothavingababy.com

Yet all this hard work does not yield a strong harvest. The graduate’s efforts are rebuffed, ignored or overlooked. A creeping melancholy seeps through all. The hunger to live up to the triumphs of the rest of the pack becomes an intense burden.

via www.iran-daily.com
via http://www.iran-daily.com

As resources dwindle, the only option for the graduate is to bring home the proverbial bacon. The hunter must moonlight as gatherer. Our friend feels beneath this toil and is consumed by fatigue. But the procurement of new resources does help to mollify familial discord.

via pixgood.com
via pixgood.com

The hunt for purpose continues with haste. Slowly, more attention is gained. However, a wise elder informs the graduate that purpose can only be found once knowledge is gathered. This perplexes our friend, who does not understand how knowledge can be attained before an occupation is found.

via www.quickmeme.com
via http://www.quickmeme.com

The graduate takes to community circles to vent his growing frustration. Voices demand reasons for our friend’s purposeless existence. And once again, paternal disquiet rears its unsolicited head.

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via blog.bufferapp.com

 A compromise is found in the form of a local sympathiser, who allows our friend to shadow his daily tasks within the pack. The graduate learns much from this, but receives no reward for his labours.

via www.thecrimson.com
via http://www.thecrimson.com

Instilled with a fresh spurt of determination, however, he applies himself as he never has before. His days become more productive, if occasionally peppered with existential crises and rejection. Like the patient housecat stalking its prey, perseverance and grit triumph. After months of virtual silence, everyone is suddenly interested in the young graduate. Old friends and new crawl from their respective woodworks and offer their support and intellect. Before long, he has several meetings set up to discuss his occupation hunt. The meetings go well.

via ydindustries.com
via ydindustries.com

But the competition is brutally fierce, and rejection once again presides. Every graduate must fend for himself in this fight to win. Friends become rivals, rivals become enemies, and long does the war reign supreme. But our graduate is a warrior. He has not fought this hard for this long to be usurped by someone lacking his skill.

via www.patheos.com
via http://www.patheos.com

More trawling, more hunting, more meetings with those from lands far and wide. Toil and sweat envelop our fighter. He is determination itself. But soft… what light through yonder cloud breaks?

via oiloftheovercomer.com
via oiloftheovercomer.com

One meeting leads to another and suddenly he is shaking hands with the leader of the tribe. And in an instant as brief and hauntingly exquisite as the flicker of a butterfly’s wings, our graduate grasps glory in his fated hands. He has found purpose. Victory has never meant this much to another. Tears fall, limbs relax and relief sighs. Our planet is an exquisite land, encompassing life in its most barren of corners. And the graduate, in all his extraordinary, resolute majesty, has found his place in it.

via www.linkedin.com
via http://www.linkedin.com

Our graduate has completed his odyssey.