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5 People Who Exploited the Web to Get Hired

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My friend and co-blogger here on the _floss, Rob Lammle, had an awesome post a few weeks back: How to Tweet Your Way Out of a Job. While I wasn't able to find quite as many people who tweeted their way INTO a job, there's at least one in the list below, and a bunch of other cool people who used the Web to their advantage in unusual ways. By all means, if you have a similar story, something personal, share it with us in the comments below.

1. Eugene Hsu

In a world where drab, formulaic, cookie-cutter resumes are de rigueur, Eugene Hsu wanted to stand out in a big way. So the MIT Ph.D candidate put his drawing and coding skills to use creating an online resume using mainly Microsoft Paint. The result? A fun, whimsical, almost silly version of a traditional CV. Hsu worked in animation research and used his technological and artistic skills to basically lobby the future for a job. Despite some critics who felt it was absurd and inappropriate, it worked for Hsu and he's now gainfully employed. The online comic-CV also impressed me, and I approached Eugene to see if he'd be interested in contributing to my own little online venture, Twaggies.com, which he was happy to do. Check out examples of his work on the site here and here.

2. Jon Barker

Jon Barker loved Gmail but was frustrated he could only view his mail online. So, he wrote a little program called Pop goes the Gmail that enabled him to download his email to his desktop. It worked really well and fit Jon's needs perfectly. There was only one problem—Barker had hacked into the then-new Gmail, a highly guarded pet-project that Google had opened to only a select few users, and had gone against Gmail's terms of service. When the first email arrived from Google Vice-President, Barker expected to be slapped with a lawsuit. Instead, it was Google offering him a job.

3. Alec Brownstein

Alec Brownstein had a humdrum job as an average copywriter at a large international average agency—a cog in the giant wheel who dreamed of working at a more creative agency where he could make a real impact. While Googling some of his favorite creative directors, he came up with a brilliant, self-marketing campaign. After noticing there were no sponsored links attached to their names, he purchased ads from Google AdWords. Then he designed a personalized ad for each executive with a link back to Brownstein's own site. Whenever anyone Googled one of the five names, his ad would pop up as the top result. He was counting on them doing what we all do from time to time: Googling ourselves. And guess what? That's exactly what happened. Within a couple of months, Brownstein was interviewed by all but one. Two of the four offered him a job. The total cost of the entire campaign at 15 cents a clink—a mere $6 to make a dream come true. Check out the video he made about it below:

4. Simone Brunozzi

Disenchanted with his position as a system administrator for the University for Foreigners in Perugia, Italy, Simone Brunozzi looked for an escape in the virtual world of Second Life. He had planned to visit the virtual job fair in Luxembourg in order to write a post for his Second Life blog. As good fortuna would have it, Amazon.com was one of the prospective employers. Bruzonni had dreamed of working for a company like Amazon since he had studied abroad in California. Through his avatar, he visited the Amazon representative. An unassuming visit to a virtual world landed him a dream job as a Web Services Evangelist. Bruzonni credits his computer expertise and professional avatar with sealing the deal.

5. Renee Libby

Like many others, Renee Libby found herself without a job when the economy tanked. Her first line of defense? She jumped on her computer and began tweeting. Using Twitter, she began to follow other PR executives in the Baltimore area where she lived. She also committed herself to tweeting every hour or so about news specific to the PR industry in Baltimore. The more execs she followed, the more she was followed back. It wasn't long before the director of public relations for Baltimore-based SPIN contacted Libby and suggested she start freelancing for the company, which not only soon turned into a full-time position, but one that paid even more than the job she lost before she got on Twitter! You can follow Renee on Twitter here.

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This Just In
Want to Become a Billionaire? Study Engineering
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iStock

If you want to get rich—really, really rich—chances are, you should get yourself an engineering degree. As The Telegraph reports, a new analysis from the UK firm Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment finds that more of the top 100 richest people in the world (according to Forbes) studied engineering than any other major.

The survey found that 75 of the 100 richest people in the world got some kind of four-year degree (though others, like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, attended a university but dropped out before graduation). Out of those who graduated, 22 of those billionaires received engineering degrees, 16 received business degrees, and 11 received finance degrees.

However, the survey doesn't seem to distinguish between the wide range of studies that fall under the "engineering" umbrella. Building a bridge, after all, is a little different than electrical engineering or computing. Four of those 100 individuals studied computer science, but the company behind the survey cites Amazon's Jeff Bezos (who got a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and computer science from Princeton) and Google's Larry Page (who studied computer engineering at the University of Michigan and computer science at Stanford) as engineers, not computer scientists, so the list might be a little misleading on that front. (And we're pretty sure Bezos wouldn't be quite so rich if he had stuck just to electrical engineering.)

Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment is, obviously, a sales-focused company, so there's a sales-related angle to the survey. It found that for people who started out working at an organization they didn't found (as opposed to immediately starting their own company, a la Zuckerberg with Facebook), the most common first job was as a salesperson, followed by a stock trader. Investor George Soros was a traveling salesman for a toy and gift company, and Michael Dell sold newspaper subscriptions in high school before going on to found Dell. (Dell also worked as a maitre d’ in a Chinese restaurant.)

All these findings come with some caveats, naturally, so don't go out and change your major—or head back to college—just yet. Right now, Silicon Valley has created a high demand for engineers, and many of the world's richest people, including Bezos and Page, earned their money through the tech boom. It's plausible that in the future, a different kind of boom will make a different kind of background just as lucrative. 

But maybe don't hold your breath waiting for the kind of industry boom that makes creative writing the most valuable major of them all. You can be fairly certain that becoming an engineer will be lucrative for a while.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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Courtesy University of Manchester
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History
148 Lost Alan Turing Papers Discovered in Filing Cabinet
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Courtesy University of Manchester

You never know what you’re going to uncover when you finally get around to combing through that decades-old filing cabinet in the back room. Case in point: The University of Manchester recently unearthed 148 long-lost papers belonging to computer science legend Alan Turing, as ScienceAlert reports.

The forgotten papers mostly cover correspondence between Turing and others between 1949 and his death in 1954. The mathematician worked at the university from 1948 on. The documents include offers to lecture—to one in the U.S., he replied, “I would not like the journey, and I detest America”—a draft of a radio program he was working on about artificial intelligence, a letter from Chess magazine, and handwritten notes. Turing’s vital work during World War II was still classified at the time, and only one document in the file refers to his codebreaking efforts for the British government—a letter from the UK’s security agency GCHQ. The papers had been hidden away for at least three decades.

A typed letter to Alan Turing has a watermark that says 'Chess.'
Courtesy University of Manchester

Computer scientist Jim Miles found the file in May, but it has only now been sorted and catalogued by a university archivist. "I was astonished such a thing had remained hidden out of sight for so long," Miles said in a press statement. "No one who now works in the school or at the university knew they even existed." He says it’s still a mystery why they were filed away in the first place.

The rare discovery represents a literal treasure trove. In 2015, a 56-page handwritten manuscript from Turing’s time as a World War II codebreaker sold for more than $1 million.

[h/t ScienceAlert]

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