Like her fellow graduating seniors, Alison Morris needed a job. The 2010 graduate of Boston University had begun the job hunting process months before finishing school, but nothing seemed to be panning out.
So the 22-year-old public relations major turned to Twitter. She was already following many of Boston's public relations professionals.
One of them was Ben Hendricks, with the CHT Group. After tweeting with Hendricks during the remaining months of her senior year, Morris was approached by him when a position opened up in the company in June.
"Because we had been in contact, he sent me an e-mail saying, 'I wanted to let you know we're hiring entry level, so if you don't have a job yet – shoot me your resume,'" Morris told ABCNews.com. "And about a week and a half later, I had a job."
With a national unemployment rate of 9.0 percent in January 2011, individuals are turning to Twitter. Since the popular social media website's inception in 2006, Twitter has become a hub of information, with more than 175 million registered users tweeting a total of 95 million times a day.
Alexis Grant, careers editor at US News & World Report, said that individuals can use Twitter to communicate with some powerful players in their job field who might otherwise be difficult to contact.
"More effective than just looking for jobs on Twitter is building your base of expertise and your network," Grant told ABCNews.com. "Twitter is a good way to reach out to other professionals who are like-minded and who know people you would like to know. So if you can show that you know about your field or industry, then they are going to be interested in talking to you."
"Twitter is the absolute best social media platform there's ever been for networking," said Patrick Ambron, chief marketing officer of Brand-Yourself.com and co-author of an eBook, From Tweet to Hired.
"Job hunting is always about networking," he added. "That's just the reality of the matter. You want people in your industry to know who you are and to think of you in a positive way. You should use it to get your foot in the door and get involved."
Employment Straight Out of College
Dan Klamm, who works with career services at Syracuse University, tells students that utilizing Twitter can ultimately lead to employment straight out of college.
"If you identified someone working at a company where you'd like to work, it's often easier to get in touch with that person very informally and casually through Twitter, versus finding that person's email address and sending them a long vague formal email," Klamm added.
Government agencies and corporations have begun using Twitter. The State Department currently showcases job opportunities to its nearly 4,000 followers.
From Newspapers to Twitter
PepsiCo created its own general accounts as well as job posting accounts.
"We've seen a trend of job seekers beginning a job search going from, originally, newspapers, then job boards, search engines and most recently into social networks," said Chris Hoyt, the talent-engagement and marketing leader at PepsiCo. "We knew that there was value in capitalizing in the considerable growth Twitter has been able to achieve over the last few years."
AT&T currently has 4,800 followers on its job posting Twitter account, @attJOBS.
"You can publish jobs immediately as they happen," said Jen Terry, director of talent attraction at AT&T. "From a company perspective, it's easy to publish, it's immediate to the handheld [device] and it has a pretty good return rate."
Terry added that since the company began using Twitter in March 2008, more than 430 applications have come in with the applicant mentioning learning about the job via Twitter.
"A Much More Direct Path"
"It's giving a much more direct path for conversation than maybe some traditional method like on a website," Terry explained. "AT&T is a fairly big company, and to have a dialogue and to ask questions is sometimes not so easy to do if you go to a corporate website."
Starbucks also credits Twitter in helping fill some of their job openings.
"Twitter is a great way to start a conversation and has led to many hires," said Lacey All, director of strategic talent initiative at Starbucks. The international coffeehouse chain currently reaches more than 11,000 followers on @StarbucksJobs, while its consumer account, @Starbucks, reaches more than 1.2 million followers.
And Alison Morris, happy in her new job with the CHT Group, emphasized that the earlier you become engaged with your industry's professionals, the better off you can be when beginning your search for a new job.
"You have to build up your network of people and your network of allies," Morris explained. "That way, you'll have people to help pull for you and help find you those job openings you can't do on your own."
ABCNews.com contributor Clay LePard is a member of the ABC News on Campus bureau in Syracuse, N.Y.