After getting fired in October from the high-tech startup where he had worked for more than four years Joshua Filgate, a 27-year-old engineer in Southborough, Mass., took the usual steps to jump start his job search. He updated his resume and his LinkedIn profile; applied for 100 positions listed on Internet job sites, and let family, friends and former co-workers know he was out of work. Within a week one contact — a venture capitalist in the Boston area — sent him a text message with the name of another venture capitalist who he recommended Filgate follow on Twitter. This was someone who Filgate’s friend also followed, but did not know personally.

Filgate, who had never used Twitter before, followed the suggestion. Soon after, the venture capitalist, a partner at the Boston firm General Catalyst, tweeted:

“What are top recruitment firms for mechanical engineers, process engineers, materials scientists, manufacturing engineers?”

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