Whether you're in between jobs or working in a job that you've outgrown, you can leverage Twitter - the popular service that lets you communicate through short, 140-character messages - to help you land your next job.
Here's how to make it happen...
Start with an Engaging Profile
When you start following someone on Twitter (meaning that you sign up to receive their "tweets"), an email alert is sent to that person. The knee-jerk reaction is that he or she will visit your page to check you out. To increase the chances that this person will follow you back, you'll need an engaging profile, which includes:
- A head shot of you - as opposed to a photo of your kids or your favorite sports team
- Your location - many people will always follow "locals"
- Your bio - mention that you're currently searching for a job in microbiology, HR, or whatever applies to you
- A critical mass of tweets - maybe 10 or 20 - focusing on your area of expertise
Follow the Right People
You can use the Twitter search to find people talking about your area of interest. Programmers might search for people talking about "jQuery," where accountants might search for those complaining about "1040." Once uncovered, follow these people to initiate a conversation.
If appropriate, you might consider answering their question and pointing them to a resource on the subject.
You should also follow any potential employer and also the employees of that company, if you can find them.
Create Value with Each Tweet
If you are using Twitter for job hunting, you should keep your tweets on topic.
- Focus on your audience (potential employers) and what they are interested in
- Create Google Alerts on targeted keywords and follow influential blogs to stay abreast on events in your industry
- And then, tweet about them - try to become the go-to resource in your niche on Twitter
Should you tweet about your job search? Yes, but don't make it the main focus of your Twitter activity. If it's mentioned in your bio, and you occasionally tweet about a job interview you're going on, that should be all the reminders you need to put out there.
To increase the likelihood that your tweets will be seen by the right person, tweet during normal business hours.
Add a Blog to Increase Your Influence
There's only so much expertise you can express in 140 characters. When appropriate, write longer pieces and post them to a blog that you create, then tweet out the link. A blog will give you more credibility, search engine visibility, and could even be a place where you sell ad space. After all, what's wrong with a passive stream of income to help underwrite your job searching activities?
Establish Your Social Media Chops
"Social Media Marketer" is now a job title. The more ability you show in this arena, the more attractive you are as a job candidate. Although there's more to a job search than social media presence, an applicant who understands how to leverage Twitter and writes an influential, industry-specific blog has a competitive advantage over one who does not.
Rich Brooks is president of flyte new media, a web design and internet marketing company. Not surprisingly, you can follow Rich Brooks on Twitter.