You can gain a wealth of advantages when turning to Twitter for help in the job search. You can research companies and organizations, uncover little-known job leads, connect with recruiters and employers and learn up-to-the-minute news about the industries and employers that interest you.
It's important to note, however, that your activities on Twitter won't pay off until you've invested some time learning how to use it best. Those new to the social networking site often complain that Twitter is too overwhelming, time-consuming and intimidating to be a useful tool in their job search campaign.
That's why Chandlee Bryan, co-author of "The Twitter Job Search Guide," has developed a blueprint to help job seekers ease into the Twitter experience.
"It takes some time to gain momentum on Twitter," Bryan explains. "I recommend phasing into your plan. Doing so, you'll find that your network will grow, your relationships will deepen, your job search will become more productive and you'll just have more fun."
Bryan outlines her four-week blueprint for easing into the Twitterverse:
Week one: Twitter boot camp
- Allow yourself time for a learning curve.
- Create your account, claim your username and design your background.
- Set goals for your job search: How do you want to use Twitter? As a source of job leads, for company research, to expand your network ...?
- Write your Twitter bio. This should identify what makes you unique and tell readers what you want. You may also want to mention a special achievement or unusual accomplishment.
- Write 10 to 12 tweets offline. Then, tweet one or two of them each time you log in.
- Follow 15 people you know who won't be judging your account.
Week two: Lurking and cultural immersion
- Search for hashtags and industries of interest to you. (Example of a hashtag: #greenjobs)
- Actively begin following people you don't know in your field.
- Observe posts of others and how they use hashtags.
- Subscribe to job feeds.
"A feed is Web content from a source such as Twitter that can be delivered to your cell phone, e-mail or a designated Web page you set up. You can subscribe to a feed with services like Feedreader.com or Google.com/reader," Bryan explains.
"Feeds enable you to actively review new content on a relevant topic without having to search for it on your own; once you've established a feed, the information will be delivered to you automatically. Feeds can help you optimize your time in conducting employer research, monitoring trends in your field and finding job openings.
- Subscribe to Twitter lists. According to Bryan, "Lists enable you to organize users into groups. Through lists, you can view tweets from users you don't follow. If you don't want updates from hundreds of users in your stream, creating or subscribing to lists by subject area is a great way to optimize your time on Twitter."
Week three: Full throttle
- Ask engaging questions that start conversations.
- Retweet others.
- Tweet blog posts and other items of interest that align with your brand or career goals (save space by shortening URLs in your links).
- Don't forget the 75/25 rule: Approximately 75 percent of content should be professional and 25 percent can be personal.
Week four and beyond: Onward, in 15 Minutes a day
- Expand your reputation, including creating lists.
- Revise retweets to include your own opinion.
- Incorporate both online and offline content for tweeting (from attending association meetings and workshops to sharing Google News alerts or blog comments).
Selena Dehne is a career writer for JIST Publishing who shares the latest occupational, career and job search information available with job seekers and career changers. She is also the author of JIST's Job Search and Career Blog (http://jistjobsearchandcareer.blogspot.com/). Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SelenaDehne.
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