By Miriam Salpeter, owner of Keppie Careers, a job search and social media strategist, career coach, resume writer, author, and speaker, August 12, 2012
At a quick glance, Twitter doesn’t seem like a go-to destination for job seekers. On the surface, it appears to be a place where celebrities tweet about breakups, athletes comment on yesterday’s game, and friends post their lunch menus.
Examined closely, however, Twitter is the job seeker’s dream. Why? It allows you to engage and interact with anyone on the network – without introductions or intermediaries. As a completely open community, you are free to find, follow, and tweet everyone who interests you. By the same token, Twitter allows you to demonstrate your expertise, share resources, provide information, connect with people you would not otherwise know, and learn new things.
What can Twitter do for you?
Help you position yourself as an expert. Ask yourself: who knows about your expertise? If only you and your immediate supervisor could vouch for it, you may be missing out on countless potential opportunities. It is fast and easy to showcase what you know via Twitter. Tweets are short, and do not require hours to write and edit.
When you post ideas, insights, and information relevant to people in your professional niche, you let everyone know you have your finger on the pulse of your industry.
Identify what people in your industry want to know about. Then, make it your business to review the news, select the most important posts, and pass that information along. Look for others in your field using Twitter and carefully interject yourself in their conversations relevant to your profession.
I’m so glad you shared the post about the new managed care plan @Expert1 & @Expert2. I agree with you both: more study needed.
Consider immediately following up with a link to something you wrote:
I’d love your take on my post about the topic @Expert1 & @Expert2 [include link to your blog post].
When you interject yourself in conversations about topics relevant to your field, you give people an opportunity to learn about you and your expertise, and to consider engaging with you about common interests.
Expand your network. By finding and targeting other experts to talk to on Twitter, you’ll naturally grow the number of people who know, like, and trust you. Extend your network on Twitter as you would your in-person network: do not come barging in and demanding attention. For example, do not send a tweet like this:
@Expert1 I’m a fellow HR pro, and I’d love a follow back.
When you want someone’s attention, the best way is to find quality content they are tweeting, and retweet (RT) it – or pass it along to your followers. For example:
This is an important read! RT @Expert1 Don’t miss this important piece of legislation for doctors [link]
In that tweet, the job seeker is passing along (RTing) and endorsing a post from @Expert1, who will likely notice the mention and possibly click through to learn more about the job seeker.
The best way to expand your network – and your Twitter following – is to provide frequent, quality content. Many people feel overwhelmed by the amount of information available online; there are so many content sources. If you cull and distribute resources in the form of links and commentary, you’ll become a valuable commodity worthy of following. You may find some of your followers willing to refer you for positions once they get to know you online.
Learn new things. Are there conferences you’d love to attend, but it’s not feasible for you to be there in person? You don’t have to miss out on the interesting and important information shared in your absence. In many cases, by following a hashtag – a search term that starts with a # sign – for your conference, you can be privy to almost every important detail shared!
More and more conference organizers for professional events encourage their members and attendees to “live tweet” conference sessions to create buzz for the event. (They hope maybe you’ll plan to attend in person next time.) Read online conference information to find out if there is a designated hashtag for the event. By following those tweets, you can learn what people are talking about and even respond and engage with participants by using the same hashtag, even though you are not at the event.
Learning on Twitter isn’t limited to conferences! Once you find a community of people posting interesting tweets and links, you’ll constantly have opportunities to learn new, relevant information to help you with your job search. A strong Twitter community is like having many smart people you respect cluing you in about what you need to read now. If you keep up with your Twitter community, you’ll probably never miss another important piece of information again, and your job search will get a boost in the process.