Being in the job search is tough and as a job seeker you are not alone, especially with the more than 15 million who are out of work and in the job hunt. People don't prepare for the job search although they should at least six months in advance. This provides you an opportunity to grow and build your network using both traditional (face to face networking) and non-traditional methods (social media networking).
One non-traditional networking tool is Twitter. Think of Twitter as a virtual cocktail party with more than 27 million people in attendance. Like any traditional cocktail party or networking event, there are conversations (known as your Twitter stream) that happen all around you. Twitter is no different. Because your purposes for Twitter are primarily business based, it is extremely important to selectively join and be present for key conversations among decision makers or influencers in the industry in which you are looking for work or in your community.
Follow People. Following others and retweeting or reposting their tweets is a great way to begin to build a relationship. Use Twitter directories, which are essentially online yellow pages, to search for influencers in your target industry, location, or by keyword like Twellow, and We Follow. Here are 15 more great Twitter directory sites courtesy of Mashable.
SEO or Search Engine Optimization. Be found by making sure to include key words that are searched by recruiters and hiring managers in your Twitter bio. Consider words including industry specific software programs, certifications, and words that are repeatedly listed in job board advertisements. Recruiters use key words within your tweets and your bio to find you. Make it easy to be found including key words and a link to your blog or profile.
Hash Tags (#). Hash tags are used in Twitter as a way to sort and search by topic. Some common hash tags for job seekers including #jobs, #jobhuntchat, #jobsearch #jobadvice. Using your iGoogle account, set up an RSS feed of common key words and hash tags in Twitter Search. Setting up your RSS feed is a great time saving tip.
Find Recruiters. I almost always suggest job seekers take an aggressive approach to their job search. Just as recruiters source and search for you, job seekers can seek out and connect with recruiters, human resource professionals, or hiring managers using social media search tools. Twitter directories are a great start, however there are more advanced tools like Follower Wonk and Twitter Search. Both these offer advanced search options allowing you to search by keyword and zip code. Follow Wonk provides advanced bio search options.
Building Relationships. Chris Brogan provided a crude, yet effective, example of social media networking and how to build relationships. He likened engaging someone and asking them for a sale, to buy their product, or a job to sticking your tongue down someone's throat just after meeting them. Basically, don't ask for the sale until you have an established relationship. Social media can be very surface and the relationship is the glue that holds your reputation and relationships together.
To learn more about Twitter for the job search and business, you can take a look at my book, Tweet This! Twitter for Business. E-book and softcover versions are available.
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Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is an author, new mother, and human resources professional with a passion for the job search, recruiting, and all things social media. Jessica has over 10 years of experience in human resources and recruiting industry. She specializes in helping job seekers with personal branding specializing and job search strategies helping others learn the unwritten rules of the job search. Her creative technique and strategies have received national recognition from Entrepreneur, Glamour Magazine, HR Executive Magazine, and Employment Digest. Jessica also is the host of the only live job search web show every Sunday 9 PM EST on MomTV.