If you’re on the search for a new job, using social media sites can be a powerful, effective way to not only build your network and establish your online presence, but also look for new career opportunities. Each social channel offers a range of benefits and functionality — and if you don’t yet consider Twitter part of your online job search toolbox, you just might want to give the site a second look.
At its heart, Twitter is a fast-moving conversation stream. The site’s primary caveat is that tweets have a maximum length of 140 characters, a sometimes challenging limitation given the discussion topic.
Despite its on-the-surface simplicity, Twitter is a powerful source for content, conversation and connections — and these attributes (and more) can be a big help when it comes to your job search. While you look for your next career opportunity, consider these four ways to use Twitter to increase your chances for job search success.
Build your network. Twitter, like any social network, is powered by people, which means you can quickly and easily build your online network. If you’re just getting started on the site, use Twitter search to find people based on keywords — consider searching for your industry or skills, for example. Or, if you’re already following someone that you feel is a valuable source of content and resources, click on that person’s “following” list and follow the same people. Keep in mind that you want to be seen as a valuable connection, too, so make time to participate on the site by chatting with others and sharing information you find interesting and relevant.
Increase your online visibility. The more visible you are, the greater your chances of hearing about new career or other professional development opportunities. And although creating a presence on various social networks is an important part of building your personal brand, it’s equally important to participate on them, too. On Twitter, for example, optimize your profile with keywords that are relevant to your industry and expertise. Once that’s done, participate on the site. We already mentioned the importance of consistently sharing content and resources, as well as talking to other Twitter users. Take that one step further and try participating in a Twitter chat, too. Twitter is full of organized chats every day, and a growing number of conversations are specifically dedicated to the job-seeking process. Not only are these brief but fast-paced chats a great source for ideas and tips, they’re also a great way to continually build your network.
Stay up to date. There’s no denying that technology and tools change at a rapid pace — and Twitter is a great way to stay up to date with a specific industry or topic. If you use a Twitter dashboard like HootSuite or TweetDeck, consider adding a Twitter search column to your home page so that you can continually follow information being shared about a particular keyword. Or if you find a Twitter chat that’s especially valuable, set up a search stream of that chat’s hashtag. Use tools like the ability to favorite or email tweets to help you store and access must-use information.
Knowledge is power. Twitter is, without a doubt, a powerful information network. And just as you learn from others, you can help Twitter users learn from your expertise, too. In fact, Twitter is an ideal channel in which to demonstrate your knowledge and skills, which can help show that you’re a promising job candidate. Share links, tips and resources that you’ve found useful. Answer questions, whether it’s during a one-off conversation or a Twitter chat. Look for opportunities to help others with their particular needs. You’ll soon develop a reputation not only as someone who’s invested in helping others succeed, but who also is knowledgeable in certain fields — and having that sort of reputation attached to your name is an easy way to make yourself a front-runner when it comes to hearing about (and landing) new job opportunities.
As you continue your job search, don’t overlook Twitter as a powerful part of your approach. Sure, it might take time to learn the site and decide how best to use it for your particular needs and goals. But once you do, we think the investment will pay off in spades.
One last tip? No matter what social network you use during your job search, don’t forget to act like a human. It’s easy to get lost behind the computer screen, but it’s critical to keep in mind that social networks are comprised of people. Just as you wouldn’t barge up to someone during an in-person networking event and immediately launch into a spiel about how great you are and all of the wonderful things you can do, you don’t want to make that same mistake online, either. If you maintain a focus on conversation, sharing and helping others, your strategy will pay off.
Have you used Twitter as part of your job search? If so, we’d love to hear about your experience and any tips you might have.
Image by Rosaura Ochoa via Creative Commons