By Susan Britton Whitcomb (@SusanWhitcomb), Deb Dib (@CEOCoach), and Chandlee Bryan (@chandlee)
Twitter: You’ve heard lots of buzz about it. If you’re new to Twitter, you may have even visited the site, created an account, and dabbled with tweeting. But it wasn’t love at first sight, right?
If you as a career professional, or your clients, are like most people, you’re not alone in wondering, “What’s the point? How can this cacophonous site, crammed with seemingly tangential, disconnected information be anything that can help a job search?”
Keep an open mind. Admittedly, there is a learning curve to Twitter (as there is for all good things); yet you can find value from Day One, whether just dabbling as a NOOB (Twitter shorthand for “newbie”) or committing to becoming a power user.
If your job-search clients (or if you’re reading this as a jobseeker) are in a job search or career-building mode, here are 10 reasons (among dozens) to pay attention to Twitter:
More than 1 million tweets about job openings go out every month from 7,000+ employers and 7,700+ job channels via TweetMyJOBS.com. Your clients can specify that they want to receive targeted tweets for jobs in, say, the healthcare industry in the Chicago area or accounting jobs in Atlanta. And the notices can come instantly to your client’s mobile phone, giving them the opportunity to apply quickly. This is important because (with today’s 8-to-1 jobseekers-to-jobs ratio) employers are inundated with resumes. Some are even limiting the number of resume submissions they will receive.
- Twitter Tip: Explore www.TweetMyJOBS.com and subscribe to relevant job channels. Or, check out www.TwitterJobSearch.com, which is similar to the Web aggregators Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com. The TwitterJobSearch.com site takes the fire-hose feed of all Twitter tweets and identifies which tweets are job announcements, then aggregates them into its database so you can search by job title, career field, and location.
2. Recruiters Are on Twitter
The recruiters who are on Twitter are still in the minority (look for that to change!) but they are forward-thinking “early adopters” and they are looking for standout talent. A quick search at www.tweepsearch.com for the word “recruiter” brings up 11,000+ results.
- Twitter Tip: Search sites like www.tweepsearch.com and www.twellow.com for recruiters in your area using keywords such as “recruiter” and “Dallas” (without the “and” and the quotation marks). Another variation would be “recruiter” and “IT” (substitute your industry for IT) since many recruiters are not limited by geographic location. Follow them, engage in conversation, and brandish your brand so they come to recognize you as both a pro and a person.
3. Employers Are on Twitter.
Any experienced job seeker knows that chasing postings at Monster.com is not enough to find a job. They must use the C.I.O. approach, which means they must target Companies, then Influencers internal and external to those companies, and finally Opportunities that materialize when talking with influencers and networking contacts.
- Twitter Tip: Although you can use the search box on the right panel at your home page or the “Find People” text link at the top of your Twitter home page, you’ll likely have better results using Twitter’s Advanced Search Feature. Unfortunately, it’s not readily findable at the site. Here’s the direct link: http://search.twitter.com/advanced – use it to search for company names and influencers (employees, customers, consultants to the target companies, and so on).
Networking is the heart and soul of job search. Twitter gives job seekers a new, easy to use venue in which to create relationships that are real and authentic, where they’re sharing both professional and personal information (just make sure the personal information isn’t too personal!). And, most important, Twitter is the first platform that doesn’t require “permission” to follow, friend, link to, or engage another person. Actors and politicians aside, you can be connected to CEOs, influential hiring managers, venture capitalists, and more.
- Twitter Tip: Engage in “agenda-less conversations” with people on Twitter. These conversations lead to trust, which leads to openings for face-to-face conversations, which lead to opportunities to learn about other people’s needs, which leads to openings to talk about how you could solve those needs, which leads to employment. Remember, in job search, the employer is usually “bleeding” somewhere with problems to solve and people to serve; the job seeker is the Band-Aid.
5. Research Can Be Done on Twitter.
If networking is the heart and soul of the job search, research is akin to the lungs. There must be air to keep the heart pumping. Yes, there are plenty of sites where job seekers can pump up their search by researching target companies and contacts (such as Hoovers, LinkedIn, etc.), but Twitter can give them an inside look at the company’s culture.
- Twitter Tip: Sites like www.tweetfeel.com can give a feel for the positive (or negative) sentiments being expressed about a company, and www.monitter.com can give the inside scoop on what’s being said about the company, its product(s), its people, and more.
6. Career Brands Are Brandished on Twitter.
Employers don’t hire resumes; they hire people. Beyond the fit of competencies and compensation, they also want good chemistry and cultural fit. Twitter is a great place to convey that. A Twitter handle (username) that is on-brand can create attention, interest, and desire on the part of employers. For example @CIOintheKnow or @VisionMaker or @AdminExpert or @JaneDoeHRpro. On-brand tweets can confirm to hiring managers or recruiters that the job seeker is an “A” candidate. For example, “CIOintheKnow: My insights on latest trends in technology for green construction industry here: http://bit.ly/ex81g” or “AdminExpert: Key tip for time mgmt: ‘Chunk’ time; commit to 10-15 min of uninterrupted time & watch your productivity soar” or “JaneDoeHRpro: RT @SHRM shares top 10 trends for new year: http://bit.ly/7x2hp3 [I see tip #3 as crucial for our healthcare industry]”
- Twitter Tip: On-brand tweets can include personal information. Be mindful to maintain an approximate 75:25 ratio for professional vs. personal tweets. And, make sure those personal tweets aren’t TMI (too much information) or OS (over-shares). Instead, personal tweets might be (again, using our example Twitter accounts above): “CIOintheKnow: Just upgraded to iPhone 4G network; frankly, I notice big difference in speed. What are others finding?” or “VisionMaker: My hi-sch teen is considering college major. Any coaches out there who work w/ this age to identify STRENGTHS and PASSIONS and VALUES.”
There are hundreds of experienced career coaches, job search strategists, personal branding experts, and resume writers tweeting their insider secrets and deepening relationships amongst colleagues. Job seekers can search for hashtags such as #jobsearch, #resume, #interview, or #personalbranding for career wisdom and advice.
- Twitter Tip: Looking for a list of career colleagues to follow on Twitter? Here’s a quick list of 100, based on contributors to our newest book, The Twitter Job Search Guide: http://tweepml.org/Twitter-Job-Search-Guide/. In addition, here’s a list of career experts on Twitter that Susan has compiled: http://twitter.com/SusanWhitcomb/career-jobsearch-wisdom
8. “JobAngels” Are on Twitter.
One hashtag (designated by the # sign) you’ll want to check out is #jobangels. Founded a year ago by Mark Stelzner (@Stelzner), Job Angels is a grass roots volunteer effort where one person helps another person get a job. The result has been that thousands of “one persons” have helped. You can get help, and you can also help someone else.
- Twitter Tip: Enter “#jobangels” (without quotes) in the Twitter search box. You’ll find a wealth of help, job leads, and more. At the same time, think about how you can help someone else. Maybe it’s by making an introduction or passing on a job lead that you think would be appropriate for someone. Or, maybe it’s by retweeting (RT) others or sending a shout-out or #FollowFriday (#ff) recommendation for a jobseeker, networking contact, or target company. You get the picture. Be a blessing!
9. You Can Leverage Other Profiles on Twitter
Do you have an existing online profile somewhere outside of Twitter (big or small)? Use it to springboard into Twitter. If it’s a blog, mention that you’re using Twitter in a post and link to it from your profile and contact pages. If you’re on Facebook use one of the numerous tools available to drag in your Tweets to Facebook. Add it to your email signature, business card, mention it in interviews or guest posts that you might do…. etc. The same applies with any online (or even offline) presence that you have.
- Twitter Tip: Link to your Twitter page and link to it often. For example, “If you’d like to connect with me on Twitter my feed is here: http://www.twitter.com/susanwhitcomb” (substitute your name, of course).
Tweets are permanently indexed by Google. The good news is it will boost your “Google juice” (results on Google), which is good news when recruiters and prospective employers research you online. The bad news is that everything you say is on permanent record. The Library of Congress is even keeping records!
- Twitter Tip: According to Mashable.com, “the ‘lead-in’ of each tweet appears to be important for SEO as it will determine what appears in the tweet’s title tag when it shows up as a search result on Google. Approximately 42 characters are factored into each tweet’s title tag, including the account name, as well as the initial characters of each tweet. Keep in mind that your full tweet and all its characters are still being indexed by major engines, though.”
There are many other reasons for job seekers to take advantage of Twitter in their job search. If they are unsure, encourage them to choose one of the items in this list and explore it further. And, give them permission to possibly not like Twitter at first. For some, it can feel like moving to a foreign country and learning a new language—there will be some frustrations when they don’t immediately understand all the words or customs, but that will pass.
Stay with Twitter! You’ll seriously broaden your horizons, knowledge, network, and career options!
Susan Britton Whitcomb, Chandlee Bryan, and Deb Dib are the coauthors of The Twitter Job Search Guide: Find a Job and Advance Your Career in Just 15 Minutes a Day. Learn more at www.TwitterJobSearchGuide.com or follow the hashtag #TwitterJobSearch on Twitter.
Susan Britton Whitcomb (@SusanWhitcomb), “America’s Career and Life Coach,” has helped thousands of job seekers find the clarity and confidence to claim career success and significance. She has trained hundreds of certified career coaches and authored many best-selling books, including Résumé Magic, Interview Magic, Job Search Magic, 30-Day Job Promotion, and The Christian’s Career Journey.
Chandlee Bryan (@chandlee), president of career management firm Best Fit Forward, is a job search expert and social media evangelist. She has worked as a recruiter, Ivy League career counselor, and consultant to Microsoft.
Deb Dib (@CEOCoach) is a careers industry trend leader, career communications expert, and one of the world’s first Reach Certified Personal Branding Strategists. Known for infusing ROI value into executive branding, she is the trusted, go-to coach for leaders and rising stars who want to land faster, earn more, have fun, and change the world.