Tweet Your Way Out Of Unemployment – Using Twitter To Find A Job

Social media. Whether you love it or loathe it, you can’t escape its influence. The good news is it may be more useful and less vapid than you think.

Twitter, in particular, is an excellent tool to use for networking. ‘Following’ someone on Twitter is a less stressful event than ‘Friend’-ing someone on Facebook, where the ‘Friend’-ed party has to choose whether to accept or deny the Friend request. Without the pressure of social reciprocity, Twitter users can build a relationship online instead of having to come to the social media site with a preexisting relationship with the person.

As many have discovered, this type of environment is perfect for someone on the prowl for a job. I’m sure everyone understands how dismal the job market is out there, so I’ll keep the sobering statistics to myself, but let’s just say it takes more than a great resume and cover letter to get ahead these days. Here’s how you can harness the power of Twitter to land you the job of a lifetime.

Twitschervogel01 derived from twitter-t

  1. Tweet to be noticed. Of course this means different things in different fields. What a comedian Tweets to catch the attention of potential employers is – and should! – look completely different from what an accountant looking for work would post. But whether your posts are bold and brassy or letter-perfect and professional make sure they express your expertise and passion for the topic.
  2. Compress your elevator speech to 140 characters and use it as your Twitter bio. This way, the first thing people see when they click onto your Twitter feed is that you mean business. And, for goodness sakes, be sure your picture reflects that fact as well – whatever that means in your field.
  3. Connect, connect, connect. Connect with companies you’d like to work with, connect with individuals whose work you respect, connect with the leaders in your field… and then talk back to them. Make them laugh with a witty assertion about an article they posted, or make them think by contesting a point they make in a blog post. When these powerful people recognize you as an engaged member of the community, they’re more likely to reach out to you with advice or a job.
  4. Take the conversation offline. If you hit it off with someone on Twitter, don’t be afraid to continue the conversation over coffee. A lot of times these face-to-face ‘informational interviews’ lead to job offerings. Once a person understands you’re just as articulate and intelligent as you present yourself online, they’ll be more willing to vouch for you in their companies and to their colleagues. Be sure to prepare for an in-person meeting with a Twitter contact by coming up with some relevant questions to spark the conversation.
  5. Live a Tweet-worthy life. You can engage others all you want, but if you’re not Tweeting about your own interesting projects or blog posts, people won’t get a complete idea of what you’re all about. Sure, you Tweet back and forth about your love of Ajax with programmers from Google, but if you can’t show them how you’ve applied your passion it’s hard for them to justify offering you a job. Actively seek out and create new projects to share with potential employers. Working on a manuscript or an iPod App on your own time without the promise of a paycheck is an easy way for employers to gauge your passion and motivation.

Kicking the Angry Birds Habit: 3 Steps to Freeing Yourself From Gaming Addiction

We love games. We play them on our computers and we play them on our phones. We’ve been told that online games make us smarter, and can be used to incentivize good behavior. But when playing games on your cell phone begins to interfere with your day-to-day life beyond a fun distraction or a way to kill a few minutes in line, it may be time to take some steps to wean yourself off of your preferred technologies.

While few people suffer from a gaming addiction as crippling as that of the protagonist in this satirical video, it’s hard to argue that our personal and work lives couldn’t benefit from those two or three extra hours playing Farmville. Here are three steps you can take to cut back.

  1. Take inventory. Think back to last week – how many hours did you spend playing Angry Birds? Poker? Canabalt? With all the brutal honesty you can muster, add those hours up and take a moment to reflect. What else could you have done with those three, four, five plus hours? Multiply that number by 5 and again by 12 for a rough estimate of how much time you spend per month, and per year playing online games.
  2. Remove the offending programs from your life. Now that you’re inspired – or horrified! – by the amount of time you spend on online gaming, take your top three or four personal time wasting apps or game sites and remove them from your computer or phone. If you’d rather slowly decrease the time you spend online gaming, there are a number of online blocks that you can use to limit your daily usage of certain websites: StayFocused, SelfControl, and Chrome Nanny are all good ones.
  3. Find new ways to spend your free time. Think back to step 1, where you took inventory of the time you spent gaming per year. If you spent all of those hours doing something else, what could you accomplish? Could you learn French? Work a second part time job doing something you love? Figure out what you can do to make your life more meaningful, and you’ll be able to more easily resist temptation when brighter, shinier and more addictive games hit the market.

Let us know your tips to keeping productivity up and online gaming down in a comment.

Going Against the Flow: 3 Seemingly Counterintuitive Lifehacks

  1. Famous winners are some of the biggest losers…Steve Jobs dropped out of college and was fired from Apple before buying Pixar and returning Steve Jobs presentingto Apple to become CEO, cementing his position as a Silicon Valley icon. Michael Jordan was rejected by his high school basketball team. Both Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison were bad students. History has shown that success is more about not giving up in the face of adveristy than it is about being the “best”. Being willing to take chances over and over again despite failure, or the threat of failure is the key to being successful.
  2. Don’t multi-task… The more things you try to focus on at once, the harder it becomes to do any one of them very well. Instead, try to batch like tasks together: schedule all your business phone calls for two hours on one day, or choose one or two mornings a week to answer email. Not only will you become more productive, but you’ll be able to focus on longer projects knowing that smaller tasks are being taken care of regularly and don’t require your immediate attention.
  3. Don’t finish what you start… or at least right away. Most mental blocks occur while setting up a project. Maybe you forget how exactly to start, or where exactly the webpage you’re looking for is – these distractions multiply and hours go by before you remember you had no intention of looking at adorable cat videos all morning. When returning to your after taking a break, try to continue working on a project that you’ve already begun to make headway on rather than attempting to start a second project from scratch. Keep relevant tabs open in your web browser and project files on your desktop for easy access. Roald Dahl and Ernest Hemingway both applied this principle to their writing to prevent the dreaded writers block.

For more counterintuitive lifehacks, follow these conversations on Quora and Hackernews.

Secret Uses For Everyday Household Items

In the Home

  • Vinegar as cleaning agentOne way to rid refrigerator drawers and food containers of unpleasant smells is to line them with newspaper.
  • One of the many uses for vinegar is removing the sticker gunk from things you buy. Let the vinegar sit for a second after applying it before wiping it (and the price tag residue) cleanly off.
  • It’s spring and ants are back: in your bathroom, on your windowsills, in your kitchen. Ants won’t walk through baby powder, so find out where the little guys are marching in from and sprinkle mercilessly.
  • Freshly cut flowers stay beautiful longer if the water they’re placed in is mixed with bleach (20 drops of Clorox to 1 quart of water used).

In the Office

  • Velcro strips can be used in the office to cheaply keep computer cords organized.
  • You’ve been promoted to the corner office, but before you can officially move in, your cubicle needs a makeover. As you’re taking down your motivational posters, fill holes caused by push-pins with white toothpaste. No one will be the wiser.
  • Is there a squeaky door at work that keeps you from concentrating? Applying a few drops of olive oil to the hinges should shut it up so you can work in peace.
  • Oops – you had a bit too much fun at a networking event and laughed so heartily at a co-workers joke that you splashed red wine down the front of your shirt. Stretch the stained portion of the shirt over a bowl or class, apply salt onto the stained area so that it’s fully covered, and then pour boiling water over it. (Just wait until you get home to take your shirt off.)

On the Go

  • Keeping clothes smelling fresh on the go doesn’t have to be a hassle. Simply stick a few drier sheets in your luggage to keep clean clothes smelling clean, even when they’re stored with dirty ones.
  • Airport security confiscated your toothpaste? In a pinch you can use a mixture of baking soda and water. Did they confiscate your deodorant, too? You can use baking soda for that, as well.
  • To package fragile items for a bumpy ride home, line your luggage with inflated Ziploc bags.
  • Ripped toilet paper pieces stuck onto the face isn’t a good look for anyone. When you cut yourself shaving, instead of just bleeding on yourself (gross) or applying toilet tissue to your face (lame), rub cuts with Chapstick.
  • Oh no! While swimming off the coast of Portugal with your super model girlfriend you were stung by a man o’ war! I hope you have your Vodka with you, James Bond, because applying it to the affected area will help neutralize the sting (though drinking it would probably help, too).

Additional lists of new uses for everyday things:

Joey Green’s Wacky Uses

Real Simple’s 101 New Uses for Everyday Things

Anything we missed? Share your secret uses for everyday objects in the comments.

The Best Of UsefulThings: Travel Sites and Tips Round-Up

UsefulThings.com looks back through its archives to bring you the best travel sites and tips available, as well as digging up new and interesting information about traveling. Hang on! By the time you finish reading this article, you may be one of the most well versed travelers around!

Sites and Tips on Airline Travel

Momondo: Cheap Airline Search
Recommended by Frommer’s, Time, and CNN, Momondo.com is a cutting edge search engine that searches multiple websites around the world, through hundreds or airline company websites, online travel agencies, etc., to give you the cheapest flights available. No need for you to spend hours online checking individual sites and comparing them. Momondo does it for you! (They do not sell tickets, however, but they will link you to where you need to go.)

Kayak: One Stop Shopping for Discounted Airfare
Kayak is another aggregator that searches over 140 airlines and travel agencies to find you the best prices on discounted airfare.

Last Minute: Find Deals on Last Minute Airfare, Hotels, and Other Attractions
Traveling at the last minute? Use this site to find the best available deals on prices for all of your last minute travel needs, including airfare, hotels, and other attractions.

Seat Guru: The Airplane Seat Database
Which seats are the best, and the worst, and the airline you’re flying? Now you can find out. Seat Guru shows you a layout of where everything on your plane is located, including the bathrooms and galley.

5 Ways to Combat Jet Lag
1. Drink plenty of water several days before the trip, as well as on the flight itself.

2. Get an adequate amount of sleep the week before your trip.

3. Schedule your arrival during the afternoon or early evening, so you’re not faced with a full day of activities.

4. Exercise! It helps combat fatigue. If you don’t already have an exercise routine, come up with one and follow it for at least a couple weeks before your trip.

5. Relax. Anxiety about jet lag doesn’t help.

How-to Pack Toiletries for Airline Travel
A simple formula will help you immensely when it comes to packing your shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and other toiletries for the plane ride. Remember: 3-1-1. This stands for 3 ounce bottles, 1 quart sized, clear plastic bag, 1 bag per person. Before arriving at the screening gate, remove the zip-lock bag from your carry-on.

If you wish to carry larger bottles, they must be packed in checked baggage.

Exception: Medications, baby formula, and breast milk are allowed in carry-on in more than 3 ounce quantities. You must declare them upon arrival at the security gate.

The Pet Friendliest Airlines
Travel with your furry friend? Find out which airlines have the best track record for taking good care of your fuzzy family member.

Petfinder’s 2010 Most Pet Friendly US Airlines
via Petfinder

The Best Airlines for Redeeming Frequent Flyer Miles
How do the five major airlines rank in terms of ability to cash in on frequent flyer miles? Find out.

“Best and Worst Airlines for Redeeming Frequent Flyer Miles”
via Five Cent Nickel

Sites and Tips on Vehicle Travel and Ground Transportation

Gas Buddy: Cheap Fuel Rates Near You
Head to this website, type in your city, state, and zip code, and you’ll be presented with a list of fuel prices for most stations nearest you. Pick the one that’s most economical for you to fill your tank at, and you’re sure to save money.

Best Parking: Search Parking Rates in Most Major Cities
Bestparking.com is a free search engine that allows users to search for parking rates in major cities, whether it be at an airport, facility, or other private or public parking area. Search by daily or monthly parking rates, and neighborhoods, attractions, or cities.

Hitchsters.com: Cab Sharing
Want to reduce the cost of your cab fare to and from the airport? Hitchster.com connects travelers with similar destinations so they can share taxis, and the fare.

Bing Maps: Calculate Your Cab Tab
A new feature of Bing, the Bing Map will now help you calculate your cab fare by using estimated pick-up, time traveled, and distance. It will also show you the shortest route, so you don’t waste your money by taking the scenic route.

Google Transit: Public Transportation Search
Google Transit can help public transportation users find station schedules, transit stops, and other information. The site covers most major cities all over the world, and includes information on buses, subways, and railways.

10 Must Have Emergency Items For Your Vehicle

1. Flashlight. If you break down in the dark, you’ll need a flashlight to take a peek under the hood or change a flat tire. If you need to walk anywhere for gas or parts, a flashlight is also handy.

2. Spare tire. Of course you can’t fix that flat tire without a spare. Make sure your spare is aired up before long trips, and check it periodically during the year, just as you do your every-day tires. Make sure your jack and tire iron are in good shape, too.

3. Jumper cables. Leave your lights on overnight and now you have a dead battery? You need a jump, which means you’ll need jumper cables.

4. First Aid Kit. Great for minor injuries, whether incurred in a fender bender or while you’re out exploring on the road. Restock it after use, and check it at least once a year for items that may expire.

5. Small Took Kit. A flat and Phillips head screwdriver, pliers, a couple of different sized wrenches, a small hammer. All could come in handy if you have to do any work under the hood, or even something simple like change a headlight.

6. Flares. In case of an accident that blocks the road, flares are an effective way to keep other drives safe and in the know.

7. Bottled water. You never know when you’ll be stranded in your vehicle. Having a bottle or two of water in the car is always a good idea.

8. Insurance information. If you’re in an accident, you’ll need to report it as soon as possible. A simple call to your insurance agent will help you collect the information you’ll need to make a claim.

9. Emergency contact numbers. After a traumatic event, your memory isn’t always functioning properly, and if you’re unconscious, rescue workers will want to know who to contact. Keep a list of emergency contact numbers in your glove box, purse or wallet, or saved in your cell phone.

10. Medications. If you take any medications on a daily basis, make sure to pack them. You never know when a half-day trip will turn into a full day ordeal.

Sites and Tips on General Travel

IgoUgo: Social Networking for Travelers
IgoUgo won the Webby Award for Best Travel Site in the US in 2005, and it’s only gotten better. Not only can you compare rates on all sorts of trips and travels, IgoUgo provides users with a social aspect. Read stories and tips, share your travel experience, ask questions in the forum, view photos from traveler’s top picks, and much more. As a bonus, contributors to IgoUgo are awarded GO points, which can be redeemed at online retailers and used for frequent flyer miles.

The Savvy Way to Use Priceline.com
Use these tips from the pros, and score some unbelievable deals.

“Tips From Priceline Pros”
via Kiplinger

Current Travel Scams: Buyer Beware
Be your own travel agent? Event packages, no tickets required? Hmmm. Can you say scam?

“6 Travel Scams to Avoid”
via Kiplinger

Further Reading:

10 Cool Ways to Cut Travel Costs
via UsefulThings.com

Tips For a Truly Relaxing Vacation
via UsefulThings.com