Dear J.T. & Dale: I can't turn on the TV without hearing about Twitter. It seems like people either love it or hate it...I just don't understand it. Can you explain what all the noise is about? — Kyle Dale: "Noise" is right, Kyle. The TV people are so afraid of appearing "uncool" that they can't see Twitter for what it is: just micro-blogging. Sure, it may stay around, but Twitter is to technology what Paris Hilton is to acting. Cell phones changed the world. The Internet transformed the culture. Meanwhile, all Twitter has done is change, a bit, how those two are used. J.T.: Dale won't be surprised that I'm in the "Twitter is good" camp. A few months ago Dale and I wrote about Twitter, and I agreed to give it a try. At first, I didn't get its value, but then I came to understand its power as a way of allowing professionals (including hiring managers) to connect with you in a personal way. Dale: I was just on Twitter and happened upon this advice to someone who is tall and says he needs to buy pants: "Move to a warm climate and wear shorts." Yeah, it's cute, but ... And, before J.T. starts in on me, yes, I found some useful links, including ones to J.T., and I was pleased that people are passing her advice around. J.T.: Thank you. Yes, get past the casual "chat" and there's the chance to "tweet" about topics related to your career. You can use Twitter to expand your network and build your credibility, doing what in-person networking events might do, but Twitter is faster and easier. Dale: I'd love to hear from people who've tried it as a job-hunting tool — successfully or not. Meanwhile, a warning. I read a commentary by an HR technology provider with the mellifluous name Shafiq Lokhandwala, reaching this conclusion: More people are DISQUALIFIED from jobs using social-networking sites than are helped into them. J.T.: He has a point. What you put out has to be done with an eye to being read by hiring managers. There's an art to Twitter, and I've created a document to help — it's at Careerealism.com under "Free career tools." Try it and let Dinosaur Dale know how much it helped. Jeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and founder of CAREEREALISM.com. Dale Dauten's latest book is "(Great) Employees Only: How Gifted Bosses Hire and De-Hire Their Way to Success" (John Wiley & Sons). Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2009 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
August 30, 2009