Would you believe that you can tweet yourself to a job opportunity 140 characters at a time? It’s been done! Statistics show that job search networking is much more effective when you make “loose” connections – touching base with people beyond your immediate circle whose networks and contacts are much different from your own. With over 3 million users, Twitter offers an unparalleled opportunity to create an extended network.
Not convinced that Twitter is actually a high-powered job search tool? Read on to learn how Twitter can uniquely position you for job-hunting success!
What Can Twitter Do For You?
- Afford access to other professionals in your field. When you follow industry leaders, you’ll know who spends time with them, what conferences they attend (and what they think of the speakers!), what they’re reading and what is on their minds. This is great information to leverage for your search.
- Provide exposure and credibility as well as personal and professional relationships when you connect to others in your industry.
- Offer you a venue to demonstrate your expertise and share information in quick, pithy bursts of wisdom. This is perfect if you don’t have the time or energy to create a blog.
Unique Aspects of Twitter
- It is casual and immediate and a great place to “meet” informally.
- You’ll find an array of people on Twitter, including CEOs, top-level executives, hiring managers, recruiters and everyone in-between! It’s one-stop shopping for your networking needs. You’ll be surprised to find that stars in your field (mentors) may follow you if you reach out to them!
- Unlike Facebook, where it is kind of creepy if you start trying to “friend” people who are connected to your contacts, it is acceptable (and expected) to follow people on Twitter because another friend or colleague does.
- It forces you to be brief. Coming up with your “Twit-Pitch” – what you have to offer in 140 characters or less – will help you clarify your value proposition. Remember: less is more!
Convinced? What To Do First?
- Brand yourself professionally. If you are planning to use Twitter for a job search, set up a designated profile and account. Choose a professional Twitter handle using your name or some combination of your name and profession that sounds good and is easy to remember. For example, JaneSmith or MarketingExpertJane.
- Take time to create a professional profile that will attract your target market. If you don’t have a website, link to your LinkedIn profile.
- Before you follow anyone, start posting some tweets! Don’t succumb to the temptation to share your lunch menu…Tweet about an article, an idea or share a link of professional interest to your targeted followers. Do this for a few days. It may seem strange to be tweeting when no one is following, but you may be surprised to gain an audience before you even try. Once you have a great profile and a set of interesting tweets, start following people in your industry. Aim high! Follow stars – some will follow you back.
- Continue to build your network by using Twitter Search and Twitter’s Find People tool. Manually review profiles and use Twubble to help you find new people to follow. Use directories such as Twellow and TwitDir. Grow your network slowly – you don’t want to follow 1000 people and have only 30 following you. That makes you look spammy, not professional.
- Give, give, give! Think about what you can do for others. Don’t blatantly self-promote. Instead, help promote others. “Retweet” (pass along information someone else shared, giving them credit) – you will earn followers and friends this way. Those who know (and like) you will become part of your network and will be willing to help you. (See picture for an example of when I retweeted @AnitaBruzzese’s post.)
Sustain Your Twitter Network
- Twitter doesn’t have to be very time-consuming, but if it’s going to be part of your job search strategy, make a point to keep up with it by sending out something useful every day.
- Read what other people write and respond. Join conversations and start your own.
- Don’t be afraid to send a message directly to a star in your field. Simply address your tweet to @their Twitter name, and they should receive it. (Be aware that Twitter isn’t 100% reliable, so feel free to try again if you don’t hear back or have reason to believe your message wasn’t delivered.)
- Use the direct message feature if you have a private or personal note. Remember that the recipient may respond publicly, though.
- Feel free to tweet that you are looking for an opportunity. (See below for a success story!)
People Who Found Jobs and How!
- Jessica Smith found her current “dream job” as Chief Mom Officer simply by tweeting to approximately 400 followers, “Anyone looking for a marketing or biz dev person?” Within minutes, she received a DM from the founder of Wishpot.com, asking for a phone interview that resulted in a perfect position!
- Kyle Flaherty used Twitter to find a job that moved him and his family to Austin, TX from Boston. He tweeted to approximately 650 contacts that he had left his job. He included a link to a blog post outlining his interest in connecting. He explains, “Within hours I had several emails, IMs, phone calls and tweets about the topic and it actually ended up that I took a new job.” Follow this link for an interview with Kyle’s new boss, Pam O’Neil, who explains how she and Kyle used Twitter to fill the position.
- Heidi Miller, the “Podcasting Princess,” found a freelance project using Twitter by tweeting updates about her job hunt. Many of her colleagues questioned the wisdom of being so open about her search; they worried she look desperate or foolish. However, the ends justified the means.
As more and more get involved (dare I say addicted?) to Twitter, opportunities to leverage this tool for job search networking will grow exponentially. Don’t be the one left behind! Get on board and start connecting for success!